During his six-year term as editor of Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books (CP), Danny Wedding, PhD, plans to expand the scope of the journal to include reviews of popular media, including film.
"It's in the mission of CP to review books, film, tapes and other media," says Wedding. "But in practice almost all of the reviews are currently of books."
For example, he would like to include a psychologist's-eye review of the film "The Hours," a meditation on the depression of writer Virginia Woolf. "I'd love to see an expert on mood disorders review this film," Wedding says.
Wedding will also expand the scope of the journal to include reviews of popular books of interest to psychologists, such as "Love at Goon Park" (Perseus, 2002), a biography of Harry Harlow, whose study of infants' need for affection revolutionized developmental psychology. A review of this book, perhaps by one of Harlow's colleagues or former students, would be of interest to psychologists in many different fields, says Wedding.
To ensure the articles are relevant as well as interesting, Wedding will publish book reviews soon after the release of the book in question. Film reviews, says Wedding, will probably not be contemporaneous with theater release; however, he hopes to have reviews written by the movie's release to video.
Commentary on scholarly books will still constitute the bulk of CP, says Wedding, who notes that he greatly respects the work of former CP editor and APA Past-president Robert J. Sternberg, PhD, of Yale University.
"Some of the best thinking in our profession is published in books," notes Wedding. "It's important to have an archival record of these ideas."
A longtime literature lover, Wedding nearly pursued a degree in English. However, says Wedding, referring to time he's spent in Chicago, "I noticed a lot of cab drivers had English PhDs, so I chose psychology instead."
Nevertheless, Wedding recently completed a master's degree in English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he studied Chaucer and Milton.
Wedding has authored books on subjects ranging from neuropsychology to the portrayal of mental illness in film. Additionally, he served as editor for "The Neuropsychology Handbook" (Springer, 1986) and "Current Psychotherapies" (Peacock, 2000). Wedding wrote his first book, "Great Cases in Psychotherapy" (Peacock, 1979), with his mentor, Raymond J. Corsini, PhD, while still in graduate school at the University of Hawaii.
When not writing or reading, Wedding devotes the bulk of his time to directing the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, a St. Louis-based think tank and the research arm of the Missouri Department of Mental Health.
Expanding the scope of CP to popular as well as pedagogical books will also expand its audience, says Wedding, who hopes the journal will inspire readers to think critically about popular art as well as academic theory.