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Journal Article


Silver RC, Fischhoff B. Am. Psychol. 2011; 66(6): 567-572.


(Copyright © 2011, American Psychological Association)






A test of any science is its ability to predict events under specified conditions. A test for the psychology represented in this special issue of the American Psychologist is its ability to predict individual and social behavior in the aftermath of a next terror attack. This article draws on that science to make such predictions. These predictions are conditioned on both the nature of the attack and our institutional preparations for it. Some attacks will test our resilience more than others. Whatever the attack, we will reduce its impacts if our institutions take advantage of psychological science. That science can reduce the scope of attacks by limiting terrorists' ability to organize their operations and by enhancing our ability to restrain them. It can reduce the impacts of any attacks that do occur by strengthening the institutions and civil society that must respond to them. Realizing these possibilities will require our social institutions to rely on science, rather than intuition, in dealing with these threats. It will require our profession to provide psychologists with rewards for public service, applied research, and interdisciplinary collaboration, as demanded by complex problems. Responding to these challenges could strengthen society and psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved).

Language: en


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