This has led me to start thinking more about what I do in terms of, does it have any tangible application in the real world? That's the external influences that have been shaping the sorts of questions I'm starting to ask now.
There's been a growing awareness that there have been a lot of problems with the way that psychological research has been going on in the past, very much lab-based type of work. There has been a general issue in the experimental method, what you typically do is you hone in on a question, and you try to refine that question by removing all the extraneous variables to try and make it as clean as possible. But then that does raise the question, to what extent? And does what you eventually find actually have real relevance or validity to the external world? Because in many senses, the complexity of the external world might be part of the problem that the brain is trying to solve.
A number of us have been getting increasingly concerned that the theories that have been derived by purely experimental methods may not necessarily translate into the real world as well. There's a combination of this external pressure to come up with research, which is seen to have application, but also a growing concern that maybe some of the findings would necessarily translate. That's the kind of major forces that have been changing the way that I do things.