Presidential Lecture at the 37th world conference of the Stress and Anxiety Research Society (STAR)
Abstract. Attempts to explain the joys and stresses of the human condition have attracted popular fascination for centuries. This led to the emergence of scientific psychology, a modern empirical enterprise that uses scientific methods to resolve uncertainties in our understanding of people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Psychology often attracts significant attention from people who hold ambivalent, or even deeply negative, views about science. This lecture considers the way science shapes the study of stress and anxiety. It considers the scientific nature of psychology, as well as ways in which scientific shortcomings creep into mainstream research, and asks: to what extent does imperfect science threaten the impact and credibility of our work?