The aliens are coming! Look busy…

If we had credible warning of an imminent alien invasion, how would humanity - and psychologists - react?

Later this year, The Psychologist is hoping to publish an 'Out of this world' special issue [update: now published!]. As part of that, we would like to include a truly participatory piece which uses our website to seek views from all corners of our wonderfully diverse discipline.

So the question is this: 

If we had credible warning of an imminent alien invasion, how would humanity - and psychologists - react?

I am fully aware this is an 'out there' question, but I'm also convinced some pretty serious psychology could be brought to bear on it. Would this be the ultimate opportunity for psychology and psychologists to really step up to the plate, to demonstrate diverse and practical contributions from right across the field?

Members of the British Psychological Society can log on to leave their comments below - these can be anything from 1 to 800 words. We may then lift or edit these for publication in print. If you are not a member, a) you really should be - you can join as an affiliate or e-subscriber from just £12, and b) you can e-mail your thoughts to me

Please note that for the purposes of this thought exercise we are assuming hostile intent - it's simply more fun that way. But if you're one of these optimists we have heard so much about, feel free to answer as if they're all going to arrive bearing cakes and better phone batteries.

I look forward to your thoughts!

Dr Jon Sutton
Managing Editor

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Perhaps we should just get a few ideas from the book published by BPS Blackwell in 1986.

Psifi: Psychological Theories and Science Fictions Paperback – 31 Dec 1986
by Jim Ridgway (Author), Michele Benjamin (Author)

Now available on Amazon for a mere 52p in case the Society has lost its copy.

This is an excellent collection of seven short stories by well known SF authors that each illustrate a psychological theme. There is an afterword to each story outlining the psychological relevance, background and research that applies. Of course, produced in 1986, some of the research seems old hat now but still meaningful. A foreword by one of my favourite, alas now deceased, British authors, Bob Shaw (if I say the REAL Bob Shaw, some British fans will know what I mean!). I shared many a pint with him at SF conventions in the 70s, 80s and early 90s, including Worldcon in Glasgow in 1995 before his untimely death in 1996. His Serious Scientific Talks may make him the ideal writer to have contributed this foreword and it remains, until now, the only SF publication by the British Psychological Society.