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Opinion

Towards an Ideology-Free, Truly Mechanistic Health Psychology

by 1,2,3,* and 1,2,3
1
Cognitive Neurophysiology, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden), 01307 Dresden, Germany
2
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden), 01069 Dresden, Germany
3
Cognitive Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Franziska Plessow, Thomas Kleinsorge and Poppy Watson
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11126; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111126
Received: 30 September 2021 / Revised: 12 October 2021 / Accepted: 20 October 2021 / Published: 22 October 2021
Efficient transfer of concepts and mechanistic insights from the cognitive to the health sciences and back requires a clear, objective description of the problem that this transfer ought to solve. Unfortunately, however, the actual descriptions are commonly penetrated with, and sometimes even motivated by, cultural norms and preferences, a problem that has colored scientific theorizing about behavioral control—the key concept for many psychological health interventions. We argue that ideologies have clouded our scientific thinking about mental health in two ways: by considering the societal utility of individuals and their behavior a key criterion for distinguishing between healthy and unhealthy people, and by dividing what actually seem to be continuous functions relating psychological and neurocognitive underpinnings to human behavior into binary, discrete categories that are then taken to define clinical phenomena. We suggest letting both traditions go and establish a health psychology that restrains from imposing societal values onto individuals, and then taking the fit between behavior and values to conceptualize unhealthiness. Instead, we promote a health psychology that reconstructs behavior that is considered to be problematic from well-understood mechanistic underpinnings of human behavior. View Full-Text
Keywords: mental health; psychiatry; ADHD; GTS mental health; psychiatry; ADHD; GTS
MDPI and ACS Style

Hommel, B.; Beste, C. Towards an Ideology-Free, Truly Mechanistic Health Psychology. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 11126. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111126

AMA Style

Hommel B, Beste C. Towards an Ideology-Free, Truly Mechanistic Health Psychology. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(21):11126. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111126

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hommel, Bernhard, and Christian Beste. 2021. "Towards an Ideology-Free, Truly Mechanistic Health Psychology" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 21: 11126. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111126

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