Avoiding the Pitfalls of Politicized Psychology


*Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Elizabeth Mullen, University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Psychology (M/C 285), 1007 W. Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60607-7137 [e-mail: emullen@uic.edu].


This article provides two arguments for using caution when interpreting the results of a Global Change Game simulation indicating that people high in right-wing authoritarianism are particularly likely to bring the world to ruin. First, we review research that demonstrates that extremists on both the political left and right share characteristics likely to be associated with poor performance in the Global Change Game (e.g., lower levels of integrative complexity) and that there are reasons to be cautious about letting political extremists on either the left or right inherit the earth. Second, we caution that political psychologists need to be aware of how their own values shape the types of research they conduct and the inferences they draw from that research and that the same results can be construed very differently depending on the lens through which they are viewed.