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The Politics of Psychology:

Dr. Helen is upset that her profession -- psychology -- is in thrall to liberal orthodoxy.

I read recently that 93% of all psychologists are left leaning; that explains alot about my profession. I wish that in the 1980's when I started studying psychology that I had been given the list of rules and regulations outlining the political views I was being signed up for, without my consent. But at that time, I wasn't aware of the "rules"--maybe they were different then, or maybe I just didn't get the memo. If I had, I would have just walked away.

As another blogger might say, read the whole thing. There's some interesting stuff in the comments section too.

Antonin:
I often see these liberal views touted in the books and magazines I receive from my professional association magazine (American Psychological Association) or from other book presses. Here are some gems I received yesterday in the mail -- ads for the following books: Therapeutic Exercises for Victimized &Neglected Girls and Spouse Abuse: Assessing &Treating Battered Women, Batterers, &Their Children.
Is it left-wing to believe that victimized and neglected girls need therapy? Or that battered women do? What are you supposed to believe about these things if you're on the right? That there are no battered woman or victimized and neglected girls, and therefore they can't be in need of therapy?
11.6.2005 8:56pm
Guest;ljsfkjasf:
There's liberal bias everywhere, i tells ya! Them liberals are all around us!! Everywhere except for the White House, Senate, House of Representatives, Supreme Court, State legislatures, ...
11.6.2005 9:02pm
Juan Non-Volokh (mail) (www):
Antonin --

Good question. Why don't you post your question in Dr. Helen's comments?

JNoV
11.6.2005 9:03pm
therut (mail):
I've got a niece thinking about being a psychologist. I am trying to talk her out of it. She will be either disgusted or disappointed. Plus the pay is poor.
11.6.2005 9:32pm
Chukuang:
Maybe some interesting things in the comments, but the piece itself is pretty simplistic and empty. What should one make of statements such as "but now I had to contend with political beliefs that I neither believed nor wanted to hear about"? God forbid she has to hear about things she doesn't agree with! I've spent most of my life in academia and there's no doubt it strongly leans to the left in most areas, but I have never encountered the equivalent of "A male student in the program made a politically incorrect remark; he was gone a week later." What does this mean? A "politically incorrect remark" could cover a very broad range. Did he question affirmative action or did he call someone a racial slur? And what does the drarkly stated "he was gone a week later" indicate? Did they take him out and shoot him? Kick him out of the program? Did he decide the place wasn't for him? I see nothing in this piece that adds meaningfully to the important debate on the role of political ideologies in academia.
11.6.2005 9:37pm
Nicole:
Dr. Helen writes: "Our "impartial" speaker became red-faced and bet the audience that these criminals are rarely released back into society -- to which most of us in the audience, all practicing psychologists in the real world, just laughed."


My experience as a practicing psychologist is that it is very difficult for the "mentally ill and dangerous" to leave the hospital. One of my clients changed a plea to guilty so that he could get out after 10 years. I'm not saying that people are necessarily released from the legal commitment too soon, but but can be, in fact, a longer process than serving a criminal sentence.

At the same time, as a liberal-type, I have seen an unfortunate low tolerance in psychology (especially academia) for conservative ideas.
11.6.2005 11:36pm
Sebastianguy99 (mail):
Ah, a new pundit is born! "Expert analysis" on Fox News and Nancy Grace, then books, perhaps her own tv show.

She's very smart. This is what sells these days.
11.7.2005 12:27am
Luis (mail) (www):
Well, it does seem very true that psychology, as a profession, suffers from Liberal Orthodoxy. Since I myself am fairly liberal, this is not as bothersome to me as it may be to others.

That said, I don't think much of Dr. Helen's post. It is, as others have said here, rather whiny and full of hand-waving. Which is fine—Lord knows I do the same thing on my own blog—but no one should be surprised if it fails to convince many people.
11.7.2005 12:41pm
Justin (mail):
93%, wow. One would almost wonder if being an expert in psychology made most intelligent (not all intelligent, but most) reject conservative assumptions about the psyche.

Nah, its nefarious bias.
11.7.2005 4:08pm
Scott Scheule (mail) (www):
While I'm all for liberal bashing, the doctor's post is disappointingly trite.
11.9.2005 10:26am
Aidan Maconachy (mail):
It's not surprising that psychology is slanted in a liberal direction.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni conducted a survey that assessed the degree to which students in major American universities found faculty to be partisan. 49% of students claimed that professors introduce politics, even when it has nothing to do with the course. 48% said that presentation of political issues seemed to be totally one-sided.

A New York times survey shows that Democratic professors outnumber Republicans by a margin of 7 to 1 in the universities. Considering that the political split in the greater society is about 50/50 this clearly presents a problem, especially if close to 50% of left leaning profs are allowing ideology to color their interpretation of course material. Judging from the ACTA survey this would certainly appear to be the case.
11.11.2005 1:48am