A special edition of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science has come out around this theme: The Next Big Questions in Psychology. In this issue a list of leading psychologists share their views on what they see as the most important questions to be asked in the coming decade. A few examples of the content. Timothy Wilson, author of Strangers to ourselves, has a contribution on self-knowledge which he sees as a very important topic. Lisa Feldman Barret writes an interesting article on how to connect mind to brain. Martin Seligman and Michael Kahana write about the topic of intuition. I think the the question of how psychology will or should further develop is interesting and important. I am extremely curious about how psychology will develop the coming years. In their terrific article Achieving and sustaining a good life, authors Nansook Park and Christopher Peterson provide the following description of the dynamic and diverse development of psychology so far:
"Since its beginning, psychology has been variously defined as the objective description of the elements of consciousness (structuralism); the study of the inherent patterning of these elements (gestalt psychology); the investigation of the consequences of consciousness-mind in use (functionalism); the prediction and control of overt behavior (behaviorism); the uncovering of unconscious motives and conflicts (psychoanalysis); and the science of cognitive contents, styles and processes (the cognitive revolution). Psychology has been pursued as a natural science and as a social science. It has employed numerous qualitative and quantitative research methods. It has been regarded as a basic science, as an applied science, and sometimes as both. At present, psychology is expanding in two different but equally exiting directions - inward (where it joins forces with neuroscience) and outward (where it joins forces with anthropology and sociology)."
This description shows how diverse psychology is and always has been and how it has constantly evolved over time and continues to do so. The question is: how will it further evolve? Or maybe: how should it further evolve? Should it focus on different topics than before? (self-knowledge, the good life, etc). Or should it change its research approaches (more multivariate, multimethod, longitudinal, etc...). Or should it make a change that is perhaps more fundamental and develop into a psychology of possibility? Should it seek more cooperation, or integration with other disciplines (maybe even to the point of dissipation)? (biology, economics, network science, information technology, etc).
I would love to hear some comments on this topic from you (psychologist or not). My question is: How do you think psychology should further develop in the coming years?