david_g_myers's picture
Professor of Psychology, Hope College; Co-author, Psychology, 11th Edition
Social psychologist, Hope College; author, Psychology, 8th edition

Reading and reporting on psychological science has changed my mind many times, leading me now to believe that 

• newborns are not the blank slates I once presumed,
• electroconvulsive therapy often alleviates intractable depression,
• economic growth has not improved our morale,
• the automatic unconscious mind dwarfs the controlled conscious mind,
• traumatic experiences rarely get repressed,
• personality is unrelated to birth order, 
• most folks have high self-esteem (which sometimes causes problems), 
• opposites do not attract,
• sexual orientation is a natural, enduring disposition (most clearly so for men), not a choice.

In this era of science-religion conflict, such revelations underscore our need for what science and religion jointly mandate: humility. Humility, I remind my student audience, is fundamental to the empirical spirit advocated long ago by Moses: "If a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord and what he says does not come true, then it is not the Lord's message." Ergo, if our or anyone's ideas survive being put to the test, so much the better for them. If they crash against a wall of evidence, it is time to rethink.