December 27, 2013
Last week I was invited to be profiled in The Psychologist, the monthly publication of the British Psychological Society. Their “One on One” section features informal, off-the-cuff interviews with psychologists, designed to show the range and diversity of work and opinions. The editor sent me a list of about twenty questions to choose from. I liked quite a few of them and, sitting around with a few friends yesterday, I made a first pass. It was kind of fun.
I thought I’d share this beginning step in the process, before I do some work to embellish and color these responses. The full and final interview with me will appear in The Psychologist in January 2014 and I’ll be sure to post the link.
1. One journal article or book that you think all psychologists should read:
Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein.
2. One thing that you would change about psychology/psychologists:
The too common tendency to overstate, predict and hype the public.
3. One challenge you think psychology [or your specific area of psychology] faces:
Giving up trying to be a hard science.
4. One cultural recommendation (i.e. book, film, music):
I have two—
The “United States of Tara” (TV series in which Tara’s family struggles—and plays—with her multiple personalities)
Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll (in which I first discovered the magical creativity and playfulness of language)
5. One alternative career path you may have chosen:
6. One hero / heroine from psychology past or present:
Lev Vygotsky, the brilliant and loving revolutionary scientist who discovered the zone of proximal development and much, much more.
7. One great thing that psychology has achieved:
8. One problem [research, professional or otherwise] that psychology should deal with:
Its insistence that “the social” is always secondary to, and derivative from, the individual.
9. One hope for the future of psychology:
That psychology would recognize the significance of play and performance and turn its focus to the becoming-ness of human beings.
10. One proud moment:
One month after September 11, 2001, convening the first Performing the World conference, where people from dozens of countries came together to share the power of performance, play and creativity and begin to create community.
11. One psychological superpower I’d like to have:
The ability to de-alienate the world’s population in a single moment.
12. One final thought:
If you’re troubled by the institutional and conceptual constraints of psychology, don’t be discouraged—transform it!