The hashtag #ThisPsychMajor is trending on Twitter after would-be president Jeb Bush remarked that a Psych major might very well wind up working a Chick-fil-A (fast-food job). Naturally, a large number of the millions of accomplished psychology majors are tweeting their disapproval.

Many of the commentators proudly voice their accomplishments in providing the wide range of essential, beneficial services to society that depend on a solid knowledge of motivation, learning and cognition, social relations, healthy behavior patterns, prejudice, mental health, and yes, leadership. Many others are pointing out that psych majors vote.

One lesson of this fascinating social media reaction is the extent to which the dedicated millions of social media users can employ the platform to promote decent societal values and well-being, not negativity and scorn. Politicians and other leaders will think twice before issuing narrow-minded musings and slogans. The public can raise the quality of discourse.

Other commentators are pointing out the value of a broad liberal arts education, that helps us to think clearly, appreciate beauty, understand our world, and communicate eloquently. Over the years, there have been so many wonderful defenses of education for its own sake and of how it "pays off" in so many ways. Although many aspects of our colleges need renewal, it is hard to believe that any literate person will want to challenge the value of seeking wisdom.

But it is also important, in the context of health, to emphasize the health value of a college education. It is certainly one of the secrets of longevity. There is by now quite a lot of evidence that a college education, not simply vocational training, is the core of a pathway to all sorts of thriving and success, and to well-being and long life. The skills and personal qualities developed in formal education go a long way toward providing the basis for pathways to good health. In almost every study that has looked, more education is associated with greater health and longevity. There are a variety of sometimes-complicated reasons for this. But it is certainly way past time to stop questioning the pursuit of wisdom through the full range of academic endeavors, even including psychology.

 #ThisPsychMajor never regretted it, never stopped working, promotes self-healing, combats bias, and understands charisma.

About the Author

Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D.

Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D., is a distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside.

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