Why Concepts Creep to the Left

Jonathan Haidt

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

October 30, 2015

Psychological Inquiry, Forthcoming

Nick Haslam's forthcoming paper, titled "Concept Creep" (available on SSRN) shows that many concepts in psychology have changed over time (e.g., bullying, trauma, addiction). Meanings shift so that these concepts apply to more phenomena and smaller phenomena. In this paper I extend Haslam’s analysis to explain why they change in one direction only: they "creep to the left." As psychology has become politically purified, its concepts have morphed to make them more useful to social justice advocates trying to prosecute and convict their opponents. This political shift poses a grave danger to the credibility of psychology.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: psychology, concepts, political correctness

JEL Classification: Z00

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Date posted: December 13, 2015  

Suggested Citation

Haidt, Jonathan, Why Concepts Creep to the Left (October 30, 2015). Psychological Inquiry, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702523

Contact Information

Jonathan Haidt (Contact Author)
New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )
NYU-Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

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