The top 10 issues in Social Science
  1. How can we induce people to look after their health?
  2. How do societies create effective and resilient institutions, such as governments?
  3. How can humanity increase its collective wisdom?
  4. How do we reduce the ‘skill gap’ between black and white people in America?
  5. How can we aggregate information possessed by individuals to make the best decisions?
  6. How can we understand the human capacity to create and articulate knowledge?
  7. Why do so many female workers still earn less than male workers?
  8. How and why does the ‘social’ become ‘biological’?
  9. How can we be robust against ‘black swans’ — rare events that have extreme consequences?
  10. Why do social processes, in particular civil violence, either persist over time or suddenly change?

Our top 10 in Social Science

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  • Evolution
  1. What aspects of our psychological makeup are currently under selection? (MJA)
  2. By which selective mechanism(s) did altruism evolve in humans and our ancestors? (JM) And what kinds of altruism actually exist in humans (i.e. biological altruism, parochial altruism, indirect reciprocity etc.)? (GL)
  • Groups
  1. What factors underpin intergroup relations, and how can we improve such relations? (GL)
  2. Assuming common knowledge, why do individuals disagree on issues that are fundamental to societal and human well-being - such as social and economic policy (e.g. cuts in the UK; Israel vs. Palestine in the Middle East) - and how can psychologists help to generate speedier resolutions to such disagreements? (GL)
  3. How do we reduce racism/homophobia, both in public and at governmental level (eg Uganda)? (RK)
  4. How do we address the differences in academic achievement between children and adolescents from rich versus poorer backgrounds? (RK)
  5. How do current 'scientific' understandings within psychology facilitate the marginalisation of some groups while priveleging others? And what might we do to address this in future research? (KW)
  • Development
  1. How common (and important) is gene-environment interaction in the development of a human being? (GL)
  • Governance
  1. How can we stop organisations (including government) from becoming captured by special interests? (tcb)
  2. What is the efficient and just size/level of organization for sovereign governance? (cities, countries, continents?) (MJA)
  3. How do we reduce antisocial behaviour among adolescents? (RK)
  4. How would we discuss David Cameron's "Big Society" from an evolutionary standpoint (is volunteering a kind of altruismus)? (IH)
  • Communication of and within science
  1. How do we improve the way science and social science is reported in the news to increase the accuracy of public knowledge and improve how science and social science is viewed by the public? (RK)
  2. What is necessary to reconcile differences between social science/study disciplines in order to achieve a 'better' (more coherant, cohesive, intergrated) understanding of humans in society (KW) (see also Consilience tim)
  • Individual differences
  1. What is the true structure of intelligence? (JM)
  2. How are g and specific abilities represented in the brain and what genes influence them? (JM)