Living in Pasteur’s Quadrant

How can psychological researchers balance the need to do basic science with their desire to be relevant to the questions and issues of their time? In his classic book‚ Pasteur’s Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation‚ Daniel Stokes proposes an answer. Cross-cutting two dimensions — a quest for understanding and considerations of use — Stokes offers four quadrants that capture the areas of scientific progress. Pasteur’s quadrant contains “use-inspired” research that enhances our basic understanding of scientific phenomena at the same time that it offers answers to practical‚ real-world problems. In this talk‚ signaling a migration toward Pasteur’s quadrant‚ we offer examples of how our own work in language‚ literacy‚ and playful learning fits there. We also caution that in a world filled with social media and distorted messages about our science and its use‚ we need to jump beyond Pasteur’s quadrant and take dissemination of our work seriously. We challenge the field and our institutions to share our science in a way that preserves its integrity and increases its utility for the wider community. We offer several examples of our attempts to do that through traditional and nontraditional means.