For the common good

"What makes you pick up your smartphone every few minutes?" I ask my young nieces and nephews when I want them to grasp psychological research.

12/21/20221 min read

I remind them about varied intermittent reinforcement schedules and how software developers who invented texting, applications, and social media depended on psychological understanding to keep us strongly attached to our devices as they look up from their displays. That explanation helps my nieces and nephews grasp psychological science in their daily lives, and it also helps me teach "the general public."

The APA exists to benefit everyone, and that benefit is based on research. I believe that we need to make psychological research significantly more accessible to the general public so that people can comprehend the links between the brain, ideas, feelings, and behaviors. The public can better appreciate the importance of psychologists in health care, education, the workplace, and other sectors by making psychological knowledge more evident in everyday life.

Another story regarding the relevance of psychologists' knowledge that I like to share: Back discomfort has been a problem for me. Despite the fact that my MRI revealed a very healthy spine, my doctor wanted to give me a steroid injection. I denied the shots because, as a psychologist, I recognized that my pain could be linked to anxiety and anger, so I focused on addressing biopsychosocial components of the pain through cognitive therapy and behavioral therapies. My back improved without the use of medicine.

Perhaps the medical profession will begin to rely more on psychological treatment for pain management, including to prevent and treat opioid addiction, if psychologists make information regarding the interaction between the brain and the rest of the body available.

Someone who appears to be more like them might sometimes help an audience grasp science better. The good news is that psychology scientists reflect society's diversity, which helps them to have a broader picture of behavior and produce hypotheses and theories that are more generalizable. Furthermore, it has the potential to improve the communication of scientific findings so that they are more intelligible and consumable by the many groups represented by the scientists.