E1S11: Unlocking the Potential of Psychology for Social Impact: The Career of Dr. Fathali Moghaddam

Summary & Key Takeways

Psychology for Social Impact? PCDN.global had the distinct honor to open Season 11 with one the world's leading innovators in the social psychology field. In this episode, Dr. Fathali Moghaddam, a renowned professor of psychology at Georgetown University, shares his insights and experiences on how to build a career where research can drive real social change. Drawing from his extensive background in social psychology, cognitive science, conflict resolution, and policy psychology, Dr. Moghaddam emphasizes importance of linking theory and practice.

This episode is a terrific opportunity to explore cutting edge work in applied social sciences, to look at the challenges of applied research and deep wisdom for anyone considering pursuing a graduate degree.

In this episode, Dr. Moghaddam discusses:

  1. Building a Career at the Intersection of Academia and Policy: How to effectively combine scholarly pursuits with real-world policy impact.
  2. Advice for Aspiring Doctoral Students: What to consider when contemplating a Ph.D. in social sciences.
  3. The Importance of Theory in Advancing Change: How theoretical frameworks can be applied to drive social change.
  4. Research as a Tool for Change and Policy: Utilizing academic research to influence policy and enact social change.
  5. Psychological Aspects of Social Movements: A look into the psychological factors that drive collective action.
  6. Dictatorship vs. Democracy: Psychological perspectives on different governance models and their impact on social change.
  7. Need for glocal perspectives - Dr. Mogaddham stresses the that for too long too much of psychological research has been largely focused on global north contexts and there is a growing community of practitioners and researchers building relevant practice and research for diverse communities.
  8. Some key gaps and failures of psychology - He also discusses many of the gaps of psychology and how there is been too much emphasis on individualistic approaches without adequately linking to how social structures, inequality and policies are also at the root cause of many societal challenges.

Bio: Fathali M. Moghaddam is Professor of Psychology at Georgetown University, Washington D.C., U.S.A. He served as Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science (2014-2020), The Georgetown University Conflict Resolution Program (2008-2014), and Editor-in-Chief, Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology (2014-2021; published by the American Psychological Association). He currently serves as the Editor, Cambridge University Press, Progressive Psychology Books Series. Dr. Moghaddam was born in Iran, educated from an early age in England, and returned to Iran with the revolution in 1979. He was researching and teaching in Iran during the hostage taking crisis and the first three years of the Iran-Iraq War. He has conducted experimental and field research, as well as been involved in applied projects, in numerous cultural contexts and published extensively on the psychology of conflict, radicalization and terrorism, democracy, and dictatorship. In the area of political behavior, his most recent books are ‘The Psychology of Dictatorship’ (2013), ‘The Psychology of Democracy’ (2016), ‘The Encyclopedia of Political Behavior’ (2 vols. 2017); ‘Mutual Radicalization: The Psychology of How Groups and Nations Drive Each Other to Extremes’ (2018), ‘The Psychology of Radical Social Change’ (with B. Wagoner and J. Valsiner, 2018), ‘Threat to Democracy: The Appeal of Authoritarianism in an Age of Uncertainty’ (2019), ‘How Psychologists Failed: We Neglected the Poor, Favored the Rich and Privileged, and Got Science Wrong’ (2022) and ‘Political Plasticity: The Future of Democracy and Dictatorship’ (2023). His next book is entitled ‘The Psychology of Revolution’ (March, 2024) Dr. Moghaddam has been recognized for his academic work by a number of prestigious awards, including from the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP). More about his research and publications can be found on his website: fathalimoghaddam.com 

As we launch season eleven, episode one, we want to express our gratitude for your continued support. We truly appreciate all the subscribers, ratings, and shares that have helped our podcast grow. Together, we're building a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to making a difference in the world.

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