Why I Study: Talk-in-interaction

I USED to be a worried social psychologist, fretting that I wasn’t where the action was. I’d collect people’s views on unemployment or their opinions about their friends. I’d get them to fill in response sheets under different experimental conditions. But it never felt right. I felt I was looking under the lamppost where the light was brightest, while smarter people were at the party happening away down the street. However well designed the questionnaire, and however ingenious the experimental manipulations, I never really believed that what I got amounted to much. The words weren’t consequential, they didn’t do anything. I couldn’t look at a response sheet without thinking: ‘Yes, but what does that mean?’

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber