Commentary #3 on Scientific American Blog on "The Military-Psychology Complex"

As with science in general, science in the military is not limited to large research programs created by significant sources of Federal funding or to the hegemonic group-think they imply. There are and will continue to be a variety of investigations, and initiative by small groups of investigators, to examine the behavioral and experiential effects of the profession of arms on individuals and the nested social groups with which they are meaningfully engaged. It is true that significant involvement of scientists with military populations and issues will have an impact on their disciplines, even on "basic" research. An evidence-based consideration of this potential is possible by looking back, for example, at the effects of World War II on behavioral and social science. Many influential scholars served in the military, as scientists, during World War II. Given that historical context, the current engagement of behavioral and social scientists outside the office and the laboratory is not so new as one might think. If we are to gain a better scientific understanding of what it means to be human, it is critically important that behavioral and social scientists study the most existentially consequential undertakings of individuals and societies, whatever one thinks about them outside the context of science.


Gary Riccio

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