Psychology oblivious to psychology: Some limits on our capacity for processing psychology in society

George A. Miller’s presidential address to the American Psychological Association in 1969 urged psychologists “to give psychology away” in order to solve social problems related to human health and welfare, and has since become a standard reference for calls for social responsibility.


But Miller also envisioned a psychological revolution that would ultimately change humankind’s concept of itself. In the decades that followed, according to numerous historical studies, psychology’s influence was vital to the conduct of self-governing that resulted in a globalised therapeutic culture. Yet, professional psychology’s self-perception, in Norway and around the world, continues to rest on the modernist assumption of psychology being something underrepresented and external to society. I argue that the psychological revolution that Miller foresaw should lead responsible professionals to revise the ethical framework; in fact, the moral justice of “taking psychology away” should now be seriously considered.

Theory & Psychology, 2014, doi: 10.1177/0959354314543969

Published Aug. 18, 2014 8:30 AM