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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Self-Censorship in Academia

Many posts have discussed the spiral of silence on campus.

Eric W. Dolan at PsyPost:
A recent study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science has found that U.S. psychology professors frequently self-censor when it comes to discussing controversial research topics. The study highlights significant disagreements and fears within the academic community regarding the discussion and research of certain sensitive subjects. Despite a broad consensus that academic freedom should be protected, many professors are hesitant to openly share their beliefs due to concerns about social and professional repercussions.

The authors of the study sought to better understand the extent and impact of self-censorship among psychology professors, particularly in light of growing concerns about academic freedom and the potential social sanctions for controversial research conclusions. Historically, conflict and competition have driven scientific progress, but excessive hostility and fear of repercussions can stifle open debate and innovation.

“Many professors (including many I had never met before) began reaching out to me to express their concern about the stifling academic climate, and I wanted to know how widespread that feeling was. Turns out, most professors support pursuit of even the most controversial conclusions and are very afraid of and resentful toward peers who aim to interfere with academic freedom and pursuit of truth,” said study author Cory J. Clark, a visiting scholar at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.