Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Can psychological scientists make the world a better place?

I want to point to the January 2019 issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science that addresses the question asked in the title of this post. It includes open source articles from more than 20 renowned psychological scientists. The issue is devoted to highlighting the ways that psychological scientists are currently applying their knowledge and skills to make the world a better place. From the introduction to the issue by Gruber et al.:
Psychological science is a multifaceted “hub science”, relevant and connected to many other disciplines. Rapid technological advances have enabled scientists to measure psychological phenomena from bodily responses invisible to the human eye through broad group behavior in large societies and then apply these findings to real-world issues to enhance human well-being and enact real-world behavioral and policy changes. Yet despite this remarkable progress, critical global issues face our society that call for immediate attention and action from psychological scientists. For example, within the past decade, we have seen escalating rates of serious and costly mental-health challenges in young adults and concurrent failure to provide mental-health treatment to those who need it the most; increases in self-reported loneliness and isolation that may compromise physical and mental health; high rates of sexual harassment and incivility toward women in the workplace and in science itself; political policy decisions that actively harm vulnerable children and their parents seeking refuge and a better life; seeming lack of concern for the welfare of many sentient nonhuman species; and rapid environmental degradation and climate change.
In the face of these and other ominous challenges, we argue that the time is ripe for our field to engage more deeply with societal issues. As a discipline that intersects with many other disciplines and with the public directly, psychological science is well positioned to contribute to cultivating a healthier, happier, and more sustainable world.

No comments:

Post a Comment