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NIAS Talk: Tools for Theory 1
26 Nov. 2020 -
16:00 - 17:30

Beyond the Crisis in Psychology

Distinguished Lorentz Talk

This event has already taken place and in case you missed it, a full write up can be found on our Insights page.

During this year’s Distinguished Lorentz Fellow talk current fellow Iris van Rooij addresses the crisis in psychology and discusses the need for interdisciplinary research to solidify theoretical foundations in her field. She will do so by giving examples from her research project in which she questions contemporary research methods in psychological science. Van Rooij argues that it’s not effects but explanations that need to be discovered in psychology.

In this talk we will explore and discuss the theoretical foundations of psychology. The so-called ‘replication crisis’ has left psychological science at an impasse. Over the past few years, psychological science has been reforming. Yet, much of psychology is still primarily in the business of discovering and confirming ‘effects’, Van Rooij discerns. This leaves contemporary psychology without strong formal and computational foundations, a scarcity of theoretical rigor, and a proliferation of just-so stories. How to regain its credibility and legitimacy? Van Rooij argues a stronger theoretical framework is needed. What is the potential and what are the barriers of theory development within psychological science? What does an interdisciplinary research approach within psychology entail?

This talk will be followed by a 10-minute response by Professor in Psychiatry Sarah Durston and Psychologist Kenneth J. Gergen, known for questioning some of the basic assumptions of psychological science. How do they consider this interdisciplinary approach to theoretical framework questions within psychological science? Does it work outside cognitive psychology?

This talk is moderated by Jan Willem Duyvendak, Director NIAS.

About the speakers:

Iris van Rooij is Distinguished Lorentz Fellow 2020/21 at NIAS. Van Rooij is Associate Professor in Computational Cognitive Science at Radboud University Nijmegen. She is specialised in cognitive sciences and psychology. Van Rooij is one of the pioneers in the development of tools for theory development in psychological science in the Netherlands.

Kenneth J. Gergen is Senior Research Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College, and the President of the Taos Institute. He has served as an editor of the American Psychologist, and is the co-founder of the journals, Theory and Psychology, and Qualitative Psychology. Gergen has written extensively on constructivism. He was a NIAS Fellow in 1988/89.

Sarah Durston is Professor of Developmental Disorders of the Brain at the UMC Utrecht. She is the author of ‘The Universe, Life and Everything…Dialogues on our Changing Understanding of Reality’. Durston was a NIAS fellow in 2016/17.

Jan Willem Duyvendak is Director of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences. He is Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam since 2014.

About the Distinguished Lorentz Talk:

Iris van Rooij is Distinguished Lorentz Fellow 2020/21. The Distinguished Lorentz Fellowship is awarded annually to a leading researcher to work on interdisciplinary and cutting-edge research at the interface between the humanities and social sciences on the one hand and the natural and technological sciences on the other. This year’s Distinguished Lorentz Fellow Talk is organised in collaboration with the Lorentz Center.

Distinguished Lorentz Fellow Talk: Beyond the crisis in psychology