The Contributions of Psychology to the Big Issues of the 21st Century

Tree with multi-coloured hands as leavesProfessor Mike Kyrios FAPS, APS President 2014 - 2016, believes the science of psychology can help us to understand the “big issues” facing the world today and find solutions that contribute to individual and community wellbeing. As social complexity escalates, we need to find creative ways to work with diverse communities in confronting the increasing challenges to our collective wellbeing.

To many Australians, we appear to be living in a time of multiple risks, threats, and dangers.  Whilst unease and anxiety are part of the human condition, the current age of generalised angst is worth a closer look. Challenges like climate change, violent extremism, pandemics and soaring rates of depression and self-harm, are some of the threats that dominate the media, and raise people’s anxieties and concerns.  How concerned are we, and are we right to be concerned about these issues? How do they affect us psychologically and socially? Are individuals and/or particular groups differently impacted? And what can we do about them?

These are some of the questions that the 2016 APS Presidential Initiative addresses via the development of evidence-based online booklets and other resources (available shortly) relating to three such ‘Big Issues’:

Each booklet considers the salience, seriousness and personal relevance of one of these challenges, provides a sampling of what we currently know about the topic, and offer basic insights for how to respond to each challenge in ways that build a fairer, safer world, and help us all to flourish. 

Presidential Initiative Resources