In This Issue

Frederick Howell Lewis Distinguished Lecture

A lecture concerning the future of psychology within the age of technology

Apes of Faith: The Psychology of Self-Symbiosis

Peter Hancock, Department of Psychology and the Institute for Simulation and Training, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.

When we talk of psychology we talk of individuals; their minds and their brains and how they operate alone and amongst groups of other human beings. In recent decades, we have realized the crucial importance of context and the fact that behavior is conditioned by nature and nuances of the world that surrounds us. But in reality, what surrounds us is technology. And now that technology is so pervasive that it not only surrounds us, it penetrates us. It so conditions who we are that I am going to argue that the psychology of the unaided individual is dying. You, who represent the future of the discipline, the science, and the profession, have to ask yourselves whether homo sapiens is now obsolete and homo technicans has ascended to supremacy?

I will argue in this presentation that we are now seeing the full realization of a new type of species; one that is self-symbiotic. That is, we have evolved into a hybrid organism, which has acted to create the tools that now create us. Soon, we will not simply be cognitively welded to our devices, they will live in us and we will live through them. What of the singular mind and traditional psychology in such a world? I am no optimist and not sanguine about this development. I see the brain as a tumor, consciousness as pathology, and our species as a virus. If you come to hear my lecture, prepare to defend the antithesis – if you dare.