Personal space: All for one and one for all?

John Radford searches for unity in psychology.
When I first studied psychology nearly fifty years ago there were perhaps 200 graduates a year. Now there are 8000. Content, issues and employment have changed radically, but some issues persist. Among the first puzzles I faced were how psychology should be defined, and whether it was one thing or many. Fraser Watts (1992) asked in his Presidential Address: ‘Is psychology falling apart?’, and Ingrid Lunt (1999) in hers argued for ‘unity through diversity’. Graham Davey (2002) in his BPS annual report ‘Message from the President’ claimed that the supply of psychology students will ‘never’ cease, partly because they view the subject as a unity. Sternberg and Grigorenko (2001) argued for a ‘unified psychology’, eliciting five responses a year later. Indeed, defining psychology has been contentious throughout its history.

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

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