On the brink of a social psychology revolution

The Times has a brief article noting the growing influence of social psychology in government thinking and economic policy, mirroring the popular interest in a slew of new books on behavioural economics.

It’s interesting that the article lists various ways in those close to the British political establishment are increasingly bringing ideas drawn from empirical social sciences in their thinking, mirroring the murmurings about the Obama team’s interest in behavioural economics.

And, as we’ve noted here, there’s now an increasing interest, causing an ongoing controversy, about the use of social scientists in the occupying military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We hear a great deal about interest and initiatives in these areas, but very little about outcome studies (although its possible that the military keep theirs secret) so I wonder whether the success of these approaches will depend on the maturity of the science in terms of how well it actually predicts changes in the real world.

Link to Times article on the ‘social psychology revolution’.

One thought on “On the brink of a social psychology revolution”

  1. Before reading the article I wonder if using psychological knowledge to influence a vote take away from freedom. I consider the act of using psychology to influence votes as parallel to using a hypnotist to have a subject poke themselves in their eye. Now using psychology to restructure and create a new format for government, now theres a sexy proposition.

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