Social Science and the Politics of the Arms Race

Baruch Fischhoff, Nick Pidgeon, Susan T. Fiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Folks don't often try to mix psychology and politics. When they do, there are a number of reasons, including the hunt for interesting data, the wish to be useful to society, and the desire to influence political events. Political involvement itself can assume a number of forms, including helping to shape a political program, helping to sell the program, uncovering the subtle ways in which the opposition has structured public discussion of the issues, and doing battle with opposition experts. Often, political involvement is viewed as the irreconcilable enemy of good science. Yet, the two seem to be very intertwined, with political considerations shaping science in many ways and science helping to shape society in return. By confronting the interdependence, it is possible to create a more deliberate science and one more effectively applied to social problems. In the context of studying people's images of nuclear war, several of the key issues are the degree of respect that psychology implicitly affords to the judgments of experts and of laypeople, as well as the role that it envisions each filling in the determination of defense policy. 1983 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-180
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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