In their day jobs, research psychologists don’t typically need safety goggles, much less pith helmets or Indiana Jones bullwhips. There’s no rappelling into caves to uncover buried scrolls, no prowling the ocean floor in spherical subs, no tuning of immense, underground magnets in the hunt for ghostly subatomic particles.
Still, psychologists do occasionally excavate the habits of lost civilizations. In a paper published in the latest issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, a team of researchers reviewed studies of a once-widespread personal trait, one “characterized by an ability to accurately acknowledge one’s limitations and abilities, and an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented rather than self-focused.” Humility.
“Research on humility has been growing, and fast,” said Daryl Van Tongeren, a psychologist at Hope College in Michigan and lead author of the new paper. “It was time to bring people up-to-date and lay out the open questions to guide further research.”