What makes psychology a science essay

The Metaphysics of Psychology as Science of Mind and Behavior
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  1. Psychology as a Science of Subject and Comportment, beyond the Mind and Behavior
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Wundt intended to make the study of mental processes more of a scientific field, through the process of introspection. Wundt trained his students to make objective observations which he used to develop his theory of conscious thought. The results from qualitative studies could be compared against one another as a means of verifying them- a method known as triangulation. Psychology shares the same goals as Science Allport the three aims of Science: Prediction, Understanding, and Control. Most psychologists will produce models which can be falsified, and aim to conduct well-controlled experiments to test these models.

They may take on the tools of sciences such as quantified measurements and statistical analysis but the essence of science has eluded them. Perhaps at best psychology may be a pseudoscience but it is a dangerous one because psychologists can claim that their discoveries are fact. Other established sciences are reductionist to a certain degree which is considered desirable because it means complex phenomena can be understood in simpler terms.

Psychology as a whole is broadly reductionist as it explains complex behaviour in simpler terms, e. Popper argued theories that are non-falsifiable are non-scientific as science aims to seek data to disprove a theory rather than prove a theory. Similarly, if lower levels such as physiological or behavioural explanations are taken in isolation and the complex phenomenon of behaviour is reduced to its fundamental constituents, the meaning of behaviour may be overlooked. Arguments against psychology as a science. Paradigms are a set of assumptions which can govern a subject and what it aims to scrutinize.

This is an issue because, like Miller argued, psychologists may claim their discoveries as fact, which could be dangerous if they are not. Taking, for example, if Cognitive Behavioural Therapies are believed to work, they will be used on clients, when the therapy may be no more beneficial than merely talking to someone. HOWEVER: Psychology may yet discover a single paradigm, especially if it is a pre-science- is it not wise to assume that it may one day become a revolutionary science, whereby there is a paradigm shift and new evidence replaces the old.

Psychology lacks objectivity and control Objectivity is a key in science. Some psychologists claim that behaviour can be measured as objectively as the measurement of psychical objects is in hard sciences. But is this true? In psychology, the object of study reacts to the researcher and this leads to problems such as experimenter bias and demand characteristics, which compromise validity. Popper argued that it is impossible to observe something and remain completely objective.

This is known as the uncertainty principle. This principle is a kind of experimenter effect, whereby the presence of an experimenter changes the behaviour of what is observed, even in physics. Are the goals of science appropriate for Psychology? Some psychologists do not see the value of science for gaining psychological insights.

Psychology as a Science of Subject and Comportment, beyond the Mind and Behavior

For example, R. In addition, Laing claimed that the scientific approach is to make generalisations about behaviour a nomothetic approach whereas, he felt, that treatment could only be succeeded if each patient was treated as an individual case an idiographic approach. This suggests that the scientific approach may not be suitable for at least some of the concerns of psychologists, such as social constructionists who argue that psychology cannot be a science or humanistic psychologists, who argue that psychology should not be a science.

Rodgers justified the humanist favoured use of phenomenology where individuals report their conscious experiences through methods such as interviews, discussions and participant observations as, he argued, it gave the deepest insight into experiences. Perhaps the way to decide whether science is appropriate for psychology is to look at the results of research.

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For example, scientific methods to treating mental illness such as the use of psychoactive drugs have had, at best, modest success, which suggests that the goals of science are not always appropriate. HOWEVER: It could be argued that psychology when using scientific methods provides data which is much more valid and generalizable than what can be produced from qualitative, unscientific psychological research.

Is Psychology a Science Essay

There is much debate, both within psychology and in the wider academic community as to the scientific status of psychology. Firstly, whether we can class psychology as a science, and secondly, whether psychology should in fact aim to be a science- a controversy that appears when considering the design of psychological research. There has undoubtedly been a move towards a scientific ideal in psychological research. Modern psychology uses predominantly scientific methods in research, and so could probably be classed as a science.

However, while it may be beneficial for psychologists to aim to be scientific in their research, there are also downsides to this. While being reductionist and objective may lead to more testable theories, we may lose validity. Human behaviour and experience is highly complicated; much more so than atoms or gravity. Therefore striving to replicate the methods used by other sciences may not be appropriate for psychology. This indicates that if social construction is true, there is no objective reality waiting to be discovered and therefore psychology cannot be a science.

Additionally, observations made by psychologists and the way in which they are interpreted are determined in large measure by the cultural and historical forces influencing them- again suggesting that scientific research cannot be objective. As such, psychologists use empirical methods to provide support for theories. The aim of this is to give psychology credibility. For example, Loftus and Palmer used scientific methods to test the theory that leading questions could alter memory.

As the evidence they presented was based on empirical methods, their research was seen as more credible. They take on the tools of science such as quantifiable measures and statistical analysis, but the essence of science has eluded them. There are others who argue psychology should not be a science. Humanist psychologists such as Maslow argue that, science is an inadequate tool for completely understanding the human experience.

Humanistic psychologists shun scientific methods for more ideographic methods, such as phenomenology. This is where individuals report their conscious experiences in as pure and undistorted way as possible. This is seen as being more valuable than traditional scientific measures, as it gives the deepest insight into experiences. It could be argued that the data would be much more valid than by using traditional scientific methods, and be more representative of real life.

However, this would also raise issues of reliability, and humanistic ideas are very hard to test.

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So this method of investigation is unscientific, which the humanists would argue is the point, and something to be desired. Information has been taken from a variety of resources and my own background knowledge. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email.

The history of Psychology as a Science Psychology as a science has a relatively short history The first laboratory for psychological testing was set up by William Wundt in Leipzig in Wundt particularly stressed the importance of scientific methods in psychology, particularly in the field of introspection assessing oneself. Many psychologists felt that psychology would never be accepted as a science unless it employed methods more objective than introspection. They may carry out studies to advise health authorities and other bodies on social and other strategies, assess children who find it difficult to learn in school, give workshops on how to prevent bullying, work with recruitment teams in companies, and much more.

The Scientific Process

There are different types of psychology that serve different purposes. There is no fixed way of classifying them, but here are some common types. Clinical psychology integrates science, theory, and practice in order to understand, predict and relieve problems with adjustment, disability, and discomfort. It promotes adaption, adjustment, and personal development. A clinical psychologist concentrates on the intellectual, emotional, biological, psychological, social, and behavioral aspects of human performance throughout a person's life, across varying cultures and socioeconomic levels.

Clinical psychology can help us to understand, prevent, and alleviate psychologically-caused distress or dysfunction, and promote an individual's well-being and personal development. Psychological assessment and psychotherapy are central to the practice of clinical psychology, but clinical psychologists are often also involved in research, training, forensic testimony, and other areas. Cognitive psychology investigates internal mental processes, such as problem solving, memory, learning, and language.

It looks at how people think, perceive, communicate, remember, and learn. It is closely related to neuroscience , philosophy, and linguistics. Practical applications include how to improve memory, increase the accuracy of decision-making, or how to set up educational programs to boost learning. This is the scientific study of systematic psychological changes that a person experiences over the life span, often referred to as human development.

Factors include motor skills, problem solving, moral understanding, acquiring language, emotions, personality, self-concept, and identity formation. It also looks at innate mental structures against learning through experience, or how a person's characteristics interact with environmental factors and how this impacts development. Evolutionary psychology looks at how human behavior, for example language, has been affected by psychological adjustments during evolution. An evolutionary psychologist believes that many human psychological traits are adaptive in that they have enabled us to survive over thousands of years.

A forensic psychologist practices psychology as a science within the criminal justice system and civil courts. It involves assessing the psychological factors that might influence a case or behavior and presenting the findings in court.

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A physician often looks first at the biological causes of a disease, but a health psychologist will focus on the whole person and what influences their health status. This may include their socioeconomic status, education, and background, and behaviors that may have an impact on the disease, such as compliance with instructions and medication.

Neuropsychology looks at the structure and function of the brain in relation to behaviors and psychological processes. A neuropsychology may be involved if a condition involves lesions in the brain, and assessments that involve recording electrical activity in the brain. A neuropsychological evaluation is used to determine whether a person is likely to experience behavioral problems following suspected or diagnosed brain injury, such as a stroke. The results can enable a doctor to provide treatment that may help the individual achieve possible improvements in cognitive damage that has occurred.

Occupational or organizational psychologists are involved in assessing and making recommendations about the performance of people at work and in training. They help companies to find more effective ways to function, and to understand how people and groups behave at work. This information can help improve effectiveness, efficiency, job satisfaction, and employee retention. Social psychology uses scientific methods to understand how social influences impact human behavior. It seeks to explain how feelings, behavior, and thoughts are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other people.