"Like pesky wasps buzzing circles around us, people who act as if they were the sole expert on a subject put us on edge. In halls of learning where we least expect to find it, in governments, in religious temples, in businesses, in marriages and families, dogmatism is the arrogant voice of certainty that closes the mind, damages relationships, and threatens peaceful coexistence on this planet." —From chapter 1
In this incisive analysis of an increasingly pervasive problem, clinical psychologist Dr. Judy J. Johnson presents a landmark theory that probes the psychological channels of dogmatism. While other books describe the effects of specific types of ideological extremism, a wide-angle theory of dogmatism—in all its manifestations—has been lacking until now.
Drawing from traditional and contemporary personality theories, biopsychology, social learning theory, Buddhism, and evolutionary psychology, Johnson explores major influences that shape the personality trait of dogmatism. She uses lively case studies to illustrate twelve characteristics of dogmatism, and suggests strategies for minimizing its harmful effects in our personal lives as well as our educational, political, and other social institutions.
Written in a clear, engaging style that is professional in tone yet accessible to a wide audience, Johnson’s insightful work will enlighten readers on one of the most important issues of our time.
"A powerful and fascinating work that reads like a book for a general audience, but maintains all the rigor of a serious scientific publication… I urge any reader wishing to understand why so many people (many of whom you’ve met, or are perhaps related to) insist on replacing clear thinking with dogmatism. Ms. Johnson’s book is a major achievement."
--Steven Goldberg, Professor Emeritus of City College, City University of New York
and author of Fads and Fallacies in The Social Sciences
"Dr. Johnson ably confronts one of the most pressing dangers of our time, dogmatic thinking in all its forms. This important and timely examination of its roots, the processes involved, and possible societal remedies will be interest to all who value reason, and should be required reading for anyone dealing with the many enemies of reason on society's behalf."
--Professor James Alcock, PhD, Department of Psychology, Glendon College,
York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada