Confirmation and Other Biases Explain Primal Theory Development
Social psychology’s biases explain a lot about the primal therapy movement. In particular confirmation bias explains things on a couple of levels. On the one level, it explains why the primal therapy researchers were able to seek out the sparse evidence supporting there case – and even then they made some dubious connections. On the other level, confirmation bias explains why patients, even when things got wacky or they plunged into apathy, still managed to find some thing the could point to as evidence of a miraculous how primal therapy is.
Looking at it from a different perspective, the psychology of biases also illustrates well the difference between primal theory development and that of the theory behind cognitive biases. In contrast to primal theory, bias theories such as those discussing heuristic vs systematic thinking come directly from scientific experiments. Independent of what the scientists want to be true, the results of these studies form our understanding of the human mind. In real science it involves assuming one does not know, and then designing a clever experiment to find out. Then you follow the path the confirmations and disconfirmations lead you on, you actively want to find falsifying data because it is often more instructive than confirmations. This seems to be done in social and cognitive psychology research, but it was not what was done in the development of primal theory in my opinion.
On the Fundamental Attribution Bias: