Social/public engagement and humanistic concerns
I am personally very engaged in the socio-political aspects of psychology and neuroscience (i.e., social psychology and neuropolitics) and I regard social/public engagement as an important aspect of academic/intellectual life. I am convinced that the following three domains are currently of utmost importance and that “irrational decisions” and other deeply rooted (unconscious) aspects of human psychology lie at the very heart of these crucial problems which concern all of us.
- The destruction of the ‘Earth System’ and the chemical pollution of our environment and food (e.g., the exponential loss of biodiversity, the extremely worrisome cumulative pollution of the ecosystem)
During my PhD I submitted numerous formal complaints to the British government in order to raise awareness at the regulatory level. For instance, one complaint concerned the spraying of the neurotoxic chemical glyphosate in public areas in Plymouth (in close proximity to playgrounds while children were playing). The case was published as a news article by “The Herald Plymouth”.
I created the following website which summarises the pertinent literature and provides additional information on the neurotoxic effects of glyphosate, inter alia:
- The constant threat of nuclear annihilation (cf. Bulletin of Atomic Scientists) and the ubiquitous and mainly unregulated immoral activities by the military-industrial complex and its significant impact on society and hence human psychology on multiple levels.
Since 2017, I submitted another elongated series of complaints to the government which address the systematic propaganda (euphemistically renamed into PR) by the military in the city centre of Plymouth. The military intentionally exposes children to large weapons in public spaces and encourages these innocent and naïve creatures to “play” with tools which are designed for a single purpose (i.e., to harm other human beings). I addressed the issue in the context of the pertinent scientific literature on priming and desensitisation towards aggression and violence, specifically in the context of the well-documented “weapon expose effect”. Developmental neuroplasticity and psychological behavioural conditioning (e.g., Hebbian synaptic long-term potentiation; dopaminergic processes in the nucleus accumbens and the ventral tegmental area associated with reward and learning) are additional important scientific concepts in this context which concerns the psychological and neuronal development of the next generation. I therefore emphasis “cross-generational responsibility” and my message is simply: If we want to create a psychologically healthy and peaceful future we need to ‘stop to teach our children how to kill’.
I created the following website to address the literature on conceptual priming and weapon exposure:
- Neoliberalism and social justice (i.e., the dramatically widening gap between the rich and the poor). The predominant neoliberal agenda blames the poor for their disadvantaged social status (cf. Mausfeld, 2017). In social psychology/victimology this logically fallacious (but often-times emotionally effective) strategy is known as ‘victim-blaming’. The ongoing feudal exploitation of the social systems by the financial power elite (a well-defined term in sociology) is a huge issue which concerns all of us (that is, those who do not belong to this superrich segment which constitutes much less than 1% of the total population but dictates many social decision-making processes; cf. Mausfeld, 2017). Mass-media and psychological indoctrination play a crucial role in this scenario in order to consolidate this illegitimate power asymmetry. In simple word, the masses (often referred to as ‘the herd’ by PR scholars; cf. Lippmann) are systematically manipulated into ignorant submission so that they do not perceive the unethical and immoral injustice and therefore passively tolerate the systematic exploitation by those in power (cf. Noam Chomsky, 1988). The massed are led to believe that the current modus operandi is a result of natural systemic economic forces (viz., emergent properties of the system we inhabit). Cognitive psychology (specifically behavioural economics), primary education, and academic institutions play a pivotal role in this manipulative context. My empirical/experimental research on various cognitive biases, belief formation, dual-process theory, syllogistic reasoning, and prefrontal cortical executive functions helped me significantly to develop a deeper understanding of this subject.
I created the following website to provide extensive background information from a plurality of interdisciplinary resources to elucidate this crucial topic which concerns the cognitive freedom of all of us: