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Society for Open Inquiry in Behavioral Science

 
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About

Our Story

We are scholars and practitioners in the behavioral sciences united by our commitment to free inquiry and truth seeking, which is aided by the discussion of ideas and hindered by their suppression.  In healthy scientific fields, incorrect ideas are debunked rather than censored, and their proponents are debated rather than punished. Although some theories in the natural and life sciences are so well-established that it would be perverse to contest them without extraordinary evidence, this is rarely true in the behavioral sciences.  Therefore, we reject orthodoxies, dogmas, norms, and truisms that are supposedly beyond challenge, debate, or critical evaluation.  We are united in our concern that important areas of the behavioral sciences - in research, practice, and policy work - have been increasingly captured by censorious ideological orthodoxies. Ideological worldviews and sociopolitical orthodoxies often are what limit free inquiry, scientific knowledge production, and real-world applications in the behavioral sciences, given that these disciplines often address or touch on contentious issues.

 
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Open Inquiry in Behavioral Science

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New book in Spring, 2022:   Political Bias in Psychology: Nature, Scope, and Solutions

Edited by Craig Frisby, Richard Redding, William O’Donohue, & Scott Lilienfeld

The corrosive effects of political bias in psychology have been observed and examined by numerous scholars across a wide variety of mental health and psychology subdisciplines. Unfortunately, there are many in professional and academic psychology who do not believe that such political bias exists, who acknowledge that bias exists - but seek to justify it or dismiss its deleterious effects, or who  recognize that it is a problem but do not know what to do about it.

     In their review of the literature on political bias within professional and academic psychology, the editors and contributors have identified numerous problems with politicized psychology, which include, for example:

  • An undermining of the perception of psychology as an honest science

  • A restriction in the ability of psychology to study and research the full range of topics, and to do so in diverse ways

  • Promoting an atmosphere of self-censorship among psychology academics and researchers

  • Promoting a distorted picture of psychology to graduate students, that restricts their ability to develop both the clinical and research skills to understand the full range of human diversity

  • A political agenda that can influence training, research, and hiring – the effects of which may not be honestly recognized

  • A clinical and applied psychology that is unable to effectively serve populations having diverse sociopolitical views

  • A lack of political diversity among psychologists and professional organizations in psychology

  • A possible lack of fair treatment of those with political views outside of the mainstream of the psychology

  • A chilling effect on rational debates regarding social, policy, and justice issues about which psychology can contribute meaningful solutions

     This comprehensive text which is designed not only for use as a treatise, but also as a reader for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses. It is the first of its kind to explore the problem of politicized psychology in research, teaching, journal publications, clinical and professional practice, and professional organizations - and to suggest concrete proposals for minimizing its covert and overt influence in research and practice.

     The editors are pleased to showcase the work of over 40 eminent scholars representing a range of psychology subdisciplines (e.g., clinical, school, social, developmental, cognitive), who have contributed chapters on a variety of topics, which include: multiculturalism; professional psychology organizations; the history of psychology in other countries; undergraduate and graduate education in psychology; free speech; publication censorship; intelligence research; evolutionary psychology; racial bias and prejudice; moral psychology; sexual behavior and sexual orientation; gender issues; and psychological measurement issues.

 

JOIN SOIBS /

Membership is open to anyone who shares our commitment to open inquiry in behavioral science.

Membership is free.  

If you would like to apply for membership, click here.

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Featured SOIBS Members

SOIBS members include many eminent academics, scientists, practitioners, and public intellectuals.  We feature some of these members here on a periodic rotating basis.

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Steven Pinker

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Roy F. Baumeister

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Leda Cosmides

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Lee Jussim

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Richard E. Redding

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George Yancey

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Michael Shermer

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Sally Satel

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Vernon Smith

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Elizabeth Loftus

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Richard McNally

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John McWhorter