Before the end of the twentieth century, the American Psychological Association (APA) created a group that would, for the first decade of the twenty-first century, work to ensure that government officials were made aware of behavioral issues, behavioral research was funded, and students were encouraged to enter behavioral fields. The advocacy group and the time frame for this activity were named the “Decade of Behavior.” As the APA wrote in 1998:
” Why launch a Decade of Behavior? Hard choices are being made in these days of fiscal constraint. Federal agencies need to be informed about the critical value of behavioral science research in addressing national problems. Even in agencies where funds appear to be flush, allocation to the behavioral and social sciences is an uncertainty.
“Moreover, our nation is poised to enter the next century with many significant problems that will be carried over from the previous century, such as challenges in our educational system, violence, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, drug and alcohol dependence, racism, sexism, and so on. In many instances, significant behavioral elements are contributing to these problems and their associated solutions. Individual and group behaviors are at the root of many troubles in our society, and we must convince policy makers- – including members of Congress and high-ranking administration officials- – and the public that the behavioral and social sciences offer valuable insights into and solutions for many of the difficulties facing our nation. Despite the fact that the behavioral and social sciences are among the most popular majors in our colleges, the public’s understanding of what our scientists and practitioners actually do is quite limited. Hence, a public education campaign will also be an important focus of the Decade of Behavior.
“We must also be concerned about the next generation of researchers and academics. Graduate programs in the behavioral and social sciences are not competing effectively for the best minds among our college students. Only with a steady flow of talented people into our disciplines will the long term health and vitality of the behavioral and social sciences be assured.”
The Association of American Geographers (AAG) submitted a nomination for Reginald Golledge to be on the Decade of Behavior’s National Advisory Committee. Golledge was selected. Fifty-five national organizations are endorsers of the Decade of Behavior and twenty international organizations are affiliates. Twenty-three people are members of the National Advisory Committee, most of them being professors. Golledge has joined Committee for the 2004-2006 term.