Psychology, Idea Technology, And Ideology

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Psychological Science


Scientific development leans to a technology of ideas-idea technology-no less than it leads to a technology of objects. But idea technology can have insidious effects that the technology of objects does nor. First, ideas can suffuse through a culture before people notice they are there. And second, ideas can have profound effects even when they are false-when they are nothing more than ideology. These effects can arise because sometimes when people act on the basis of ideology, they inadvertently arrange the very, conditions that bring reality into correspondence with the ideology. This potential effect of ideology is discussed in connection with the behavior-al psychology of Skinner and the claim by Herrnstein and Murray that intelligence is, Sor all practical purposes, unmodifiable. I suggest that, in general, psychologists must be on the lookout for positive feedback loops between theory and practice that contribute to theory confirmation and thus mislead psychologists into interpreting historically and culturally contingent truths as universal ones.

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