Paul Slovic, Decision Research, Eugene, USA
Paul Slovic, Decision Research, Eugene, USA

Seminariet äger rum tisdag den 18 september 2018, kl 13-15 i rum 357, Frescati Hagväg 14, plan 3.


Paul Slovic has been active in many different research fields since the 1960's and he is an important person in the development of modern psychological research and its societal applications.

Therefore, the second half of the seminar 14.00-15.00 will be an informal meeting in which the seminar participants can ask questions, e.g., about the development of psychological research and its applications in the US. Professor Slovic may also tell us about e.g., the creation of the big five in Michigan, how he succeeded to run an experiment in a real casino in Las Vegas, how he founded a research institute in distant Oregon that has now survived on soft money during almost half a century...

Paul Slovic is a founder of Decision Research (a small independent research institute) and his present and past research can be found here.


“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”

–Albert Einstein


Shortly after the dawn of the nuclear era, psychologists and other behavioral scientists began the empirical study of the factors influencing decision making in the face of risk. The findings are worrisome, identifying cognitive quirks and limitations that challenge the ability of our leaders to make rational decisions about using nuclear weapons.

In my talk I shall review psychological processes, conscious and non-conscious, active and passive,that help explain how governments and their citizens can allow nuclear war to occur. Perpetrating mass killing with nuclear weapons may arise from cognitive and social mechanisms such as psychic numbing, compassion collapse, tribalism, dehumanization of others, blaming of victims, attentional failures, and faulty decision making processes, all of which work to destroy feelings and understanding that would normally stop us from planning, executing, and tolerating inhumane acts. What reason is there to believe that we are now in a new age of enlightenment where we will no longer behave in this way?

How can we prevent the vast lethal potential of nuclear weapons from being unleashed because these psychological processes, some of which have guided humans since we left our caves, have inhibited rational decision making? After the talk, the seminar participants are invited to discuss this urgent problem.

Avdelningen för kognitiv psykologi ansvarar för dagens seminarium.

Om Allmänna seminarieserien

Institutionens forskningsavdelningar samarbetar i Allmänna seminarieserien, där nationella och internationella forskare inbjuds att tala om aktuella forskningsämnen. Seminarierna äger rum onsdagar kl 14-15 i rum 357 om annat ej anges. Extraseminarier kan förekomma på andra dagar och tider, bl a halvtidsseminarier i forskarutbildningen.

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