Specialization and despecialization in psychology: divergent processes in the three worlds.


This paper raises some fundamental questions about the consequences of specialization in the discipline of psychology, as well as the psychological consequences of specialization. Increasing specialization is taking place as a result of wide-ranging psychological and societal factors, rather than strictly scientific criteria. Among the consequences of increasing specialization are fragmentation in psychology, and microcosmic, rather than wholistic, models of behavior. Some third world psychologists trained in the first and second worlds are moving toward despecialization, in order to tackle major social problems that invariably require a wholistic approach. It is proposed that despecialization has potential benefits for all of psychology.


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