Candidates for APA President
How would you justify "basic behavioral research" to a policy-maker who is not convinced that it is good use of public funds?
Psychology commonly justifies funding of basic behavioral research referencing important whiz-bang discoveries in other sciences, arguing by analogy for psychology. We need to--and can--stand on our own, pointing to psychology's successes and their economic importance to society cast directly in terms of economic returns to society versus the total funding to psychology. Psychology's contributions are ubiquitous (and valuable) yet often not associated with psychology (e.g., aptitude and ability testing; consumer confidence survey research; incentives management; attention, choice and decision-making; person-machine interfacing; etc.). Policy-makers respond to what saves money or lives; we have to argue on their terms.
What concrete steps would you take to promote unity between psychologists who think of themselves as scientists and those who think of themselves as practitioners?
We are one discipline interdependent upon one another for our past, current and future success. Publicizing the ubiquity with which important basic science questions arise from clinical practice (e.g., patient H.M. and forms of memory) as well as those clinical practices that arise from basic researches (e.g., Wolpe's cat research leading to systematic desensitization) would foster awareness of our interdependence and unity. APA journal research papers--like NIH grants--ought to require a paragraph on potential applied importance, while case studies ought to specifically pose the basic research challenge. The American Psychologist (and SPA newsletters) needs a science/practice dialog section.
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