Will Meek: "When asked to share my thoughts on the most important psychology experiment that has never been done, my mind went wild. Could it be a more intensive follow-up to the famous Milgram or Zimbardo studies that would be completely unethical? Could it be something more practical but visionary like a gigantic international clinical trial testing the efficacy of non-directive insight-oriented psychotherapy for depression? Could it be something completely impossible, which hypothetically-speaking would be the most important experiment of all time? Like determining the effect of culture on personality?
Instead, when I really think about “psychology”, the study of the mind and behaviour, I think about individuals and the personal science we all utilize to understand our unique lives. We experiment constantly to explain, grow, create meaning, and move toward fulfilment, wholeness, aliveness, self-actualization, or whatever other word you can use to describe this process.
Based on this, the greatest psychology experiment never (not yet) done is the next experience, challenge, or adventure that You have yet to attempt that will take you to the next level of your life. It may be something that will test your strength, identity, and spirit; it may take place individually or interpersonally; and it may be pleasant or painful, but ultimately it will be something to advance You.
We all may have personal “important experiments” that we decided not to conduct (e.g. moving against the Zeitgeist of our industry, or expressing a complicated feeling to a partner for the first time) and an infinite amount more that are on our radar screens or just beyond. Most of these experiments are never discussed or shared, they aren’t written about or published in journals, and some are even conducted outside of our awareness, but this experimental process is an essential part of our existence."
Dr Will Meek is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Delaware Centre for Counselling & Student Development (USA), and writes weekly at staffpsychologist.com.