After reading this article you will learn about the role of psychologist in a developing society.
It has become an accepted way to classify societies into developed societies and developing societies. In fact, very few societies today are regarded as developed societies. Most of the African and Asian nations belong to the category of developing societies. It is obvious that in such societies behavioural scientists, particularly the psychologists, can play very useful roles.
Firstly, since developing societies are, to a considerable extent, lacking in material resources it is imperative that their psychological resources should be maximised and judiciously utilized. This implies that available psychological resources in terms of abilities, skills and motivation should be mobilized and also utilized in the most productive manner.
One can clearly see that motivation cannot be maximized without learning or awareness and vice versa. This, therefore, involves developing techniques to ensure speedy and effective learning and also methods by which maximum motivation can be achieved.
Even within a particular developing society, there are groups which have been exposed to greater degree of deprivation, culturally, economically, socially and psychologically. It is basically up to the psychologists to innovate or discover ways and means of motivating these sections to grow and develop. This, in turn, implies that the psychologist should play an active role in designing proper curricula, teaching methods and communication systems to be used both in formal educational situations such as schools and also in informal social situations.
Some specific problems in this context are those of reducing dependency behaviour and increasing independent behaviour, raising achievement motivation and reducing mere survival motivation, reducing rigidity and resistance to change, and increasing flexibility and readiness to change. The principles of perception and motivation assume great relevance in this context.
It has been found psychologically speaking, that developing societies are to a large extent, past-oriented, whereas developed societies are future-oriented. Similarly, the former are said to be guided by immediate pain-pleasure economics and the latter by long-term pain pleasure economics.
In other words, the two types of societies have been found to work with different value systems. Values are certainly major psychological influences or factors influencing and regulating behaviour. This suggests a very active role for the psychologist in bringing about desirable value changes in collaboration with other social scientists.
Most psychologists, no matter what their particular theoretical biases, would agree that the home or the family is the most important influence on the psychological development of the individual. It has been found that the institution of the family has come under great stress in modern society. In many societies it has almost ceased to be a psychological reality.
In view of this, in recent years it has been realised that the family, as a social and psychological influence has to be strengthened. A few years ago President Carter of the United States of America announced a programme for the restoration of the American family unit.
This programme underscores the importance of family welfare programmes which would not only ensure a happy and harmonious family life for the present, but also ensures healthy psychological development of the future citizens. Services like marital counseling, family counseling, etc. are bound to assume importance in this context.
The shift from the traditional joint-family system to the nuclear family system and the gradual replacement of the farm family by the urban middle-class family and in many instances by broken families, have generated a lot of strain and also necessitated the acceptance of new roles and role relationships.
Perhaps, this is one single area where every society of the future is going to require psychological help. It is absolutely necessary for psychologists to devote their attention to this issue. It is often said that even a bad home is better than no home.
One may grudgingly agree with Alvin Toffler about the possibilities of ‘future shocks’ but the chances are that most of these shocks are going to be psychological not only in content but in effect. Therefore, it appears to be imperative for psychologists to anticipate their future roles and also prepare for their effective execution. The future challenges, in all probability, are going to be more demanding than the past achievements.