Date of this Version
This is a book whose time has come. It collects papers presented at a symposium on applied psychology held at Claremont Graduate University, and that is fitting, as Claremont has one of the leading programs in applied psychology. Most of the chapter authors (8 of 15) are themselves Claremont faculty, and the editors have also gathered a number of impressive outside contributors, such as Philip Zimbardo, Albert Bandura, Robert Rosenthal, Diane Halpern, Stanley Sue, and Elizabeth Loft us. What all these individuals have in common is an interest in using psychology to better the human condition and, in the words of Tan and Halpern, to “make a difference.” In that sense, then, the tenor of the book echoes the positive psychology movement, a connection addressed explicitly in Donaldon and Bligh’s chapter on applying positive psychological science in industrial-organizational settings. In the book’s “Preface,” the editors acknowledge that psychology has at times been misused by those with a certain political agenda (e.g., in providing empirical support for eugenic and discriminatory policies), but those darker episodes in our discipline’s past receive scant mention here. Rather, the individual chapters are decidedly upbeat; and in this day and age, what is wrong with a little optimism? The book’s positive outlook on what psychology, as a field, and psychologists, as individuals, can accomplish is rather refreshing. Many of the research examples presented here made me proud to be a psychologist.