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Stephen Greenspan, PhD
Exploring and facilitating human competence
Current Projects

ELEMENTS OF DISCIPLINE is currently under review by a publisher. It is aimed at both parents and teachers and presents what I term the "ABC theory of discipline". This theory grew out of my doctoral dissertation (it has been percolating for a very long time) and shows how the three major discipline frameworks (Affective, Behavioral and Cognitive) each have three core principles that teach caregivers to be competent in three domains (Warmth, Tolerance and Influence) and that help children and youth to be socially competent in three domains (Happiness, Boldness and Niceness). The book helps caregivers to develop their own discipline style, borrowing elements from competing (but in my view congruent) approaches, but also helps them to recognize advice (such as from "get tough" authors such as John Rosemond) that is too narrow and that lacks scientific support.

ANATOMY OF FOOLISHNESS is a sequel to my current book ANNALS OF GULLIBILITY, in that it identifies gullibility (social-induced foolishness) as one the three main forms of "foolish action". I define foolish action as behavior that demonstrates an unawareness of fairly obvious risk or danger. Its obverse, wisdom, can be defined as behavior that demonstrates an awareness of fairly hidden and subtle risk. Although foolishness is a term that has widespread currency in daily life (kids calling each other "stupid") and literature (Shakespeare, the Bible), there is a relatively tiny scholarly literature on the topic (a symptom, to some extent, of the wrong-minded tendency to assume that IQ is a sufficiently broad measure of "intelligence" and its obverse). A four-factor model is used to explain any given foolish act; these factors are "situations", "cognition" "personality" and "state". A broad range of examples of foolish action are drawn from many sources and analyzed, with emphasis not only on understanding why people behave foolishly but on how they can be helped to behave more wisely in the future. My hope is to complete a draft of this book in 2009 and have it published in 2010.

TEST OF PRACTICAL AND SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE (TOPSI). Existing measures of intelligence ask an individual to generate or recognize the correct answer to a problem. Survival in the world, whether physical (not getting killed) or social (not getting exploited) depends however, more on generating or recognizing an incorrect answer, especially one which could have disastrous consequences. Yet, there are few if any assessment procedures which tap into an individual’s "early warning system" for recognizing social or physical danger stemming from the use of incorrect solutions to everyday problems. A procedure, the TOPSI, is being developed, which asks a subject to select the "worst" of three portrayed solutions to a given problem. Such a procedure could have utility as a "direct" (i.e., not rating) measure of adaptive functioning, and in determining needs for supports and protections for individuals (many with brain-based disorders) who, regardless of disability label or IQ score, might be at risk because of poor social and practical judgment.