ERIC Number: ED242624
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983
Reference Count: 0
Psychology and the Golden Fleece.
Atkinson, Richard C.
A discussion of the public image and academic reputation of psychology covers three topics: general public skepticism of the field, the introductory psychology course, and undergraduate education in psychology. Public skepticism about psychology stems from: the nature of the field as one encompassing a diversity of viewpoints and theories; the input of untrained, "popular" psychologists; and the propensity of some otherwise reputable psychologists to sensationalize the field. While the first two problems are inherent to the discipline, the third is not, and therefore can and should be remedied. Federal funding for psychology research is adversely affected by such sensationalizing. While funding for science has been on the upswing in the 1980's, it was at a low ebb in the mid-1970's, a condition blamed largely on the projects of behavioral scientists. At that time, the National Science Foundation was distinguished as the agency receiving the largest number of Senator William Proxmire's "golden fleece" awards for waste in government. Most of these awards were based not on the quality of the research but on the way the projects were portrayed to the public. The introductory psychology course, like the field at large, must also resist the trend toward the overpopularized "fun and games" approach. Attention to undergraduate education in psychology is extremely important. Efforts should be made not only to relate psychology courses to the needs of today's students but to teach the courses in such a way that students leave with a high regard for the field. (LP)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Transcription of an address presented at the National Institute on Teaching Psychology to Undergraduates (6th, Clearwater Beach, FL, January 4-7, 1984).