By Alex Lickerman
Originally published May 14, 2013
Of all the different criteria people use when deciding for whom to vote in presidential elections, I’ve never heard anyone talk about the importance of a background in clinical psychology—but it’s always struck me as important for a president to have as for a clinical psychologist. Certainly, foreign policy experience, a firm grasp of the principles of economics, a bold and confident leadership style, and the ability to get people to work together are all critically important—but a moment of reflection is all it takes to realize that all of these abilities spring from an understanding of and ability to leverage the principles of human psychology.
Our scientific understanding of these principles has finally advanced far enough—and in many cases has been found to be counterintuitive enough—that, as wise as any one of us may be in our personal lives, compared to trained clinical and research psychologists, we’re all a bunch of amateurs. As a result of our politicians’ distinct lack of psychological expertise, we’ve experienced—and will continue to experience—a number of significant policy failures. Why? Because at its core, public policy achieves societal improvements by changing the behavior of its citizens. How can a policy be expected to achieve its purpose if it’s not then grounded in a correct understanding of human psychology?
The entire article is here.
Thanks for Ed Zuckerman for this blog.