Psychology Is Not a Science

Gavriel

Member
Quite an old topic already.

http://www.arachnoid.com/psychology/
http://westernhero.blogspot.com.br/2013/01/psychology-science-or-not.html

This sums up the arguments against psychology being a science:
[...] psychology often does not meet the five basic requirements for a field to be considered scientifically rigorous: clearly defined terminology, quantifiability, highly controlled experimental conditions, reproducibility and, finally, predictability and testability.

Happiness research is a great example of why psychology [in general] isn't science. How exactly should "happiness" be defined? The meaning of that word differs from person to person and especially between cultures. What makes Americans happy doesn't necessarily make Chinese people happy. How does one measure happiness? [...]

What's your opinion?

// The title of this thread doesn't necessarily reflect the opinion of the OP.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
This was discuss a little at The Amazing Meeting. You really just need to be precise as you your definition of a what "a science" is. People often delineate between the "hard" sciences like physics, and the softer sciences.

You also need to be precise in your definition of what "psychology" is, and then if you want to get into it, what "physics" is, for comparison.

There certainly are things in psychology that qualify as science under the criteria listed. Just because it does not all fit under that criteria does not mean that none of it is science.

One experiment discussed at TAM was a study on what made people cheat. The experiments and terminology were perfectly rigorous
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
I am looking at returning to study psychology after a couple of years break. I had studied some psychology back in the '80's and did not really class it as a science. Since that time I studied Biology and I was sceptical when I entered psychology again however that soon changed once you see the changes in the subject. At my university at least there is a real leaning on neuroimagery and biological/neuropsychology. That is a real game changer. Admittedly it has its limitations but has provided a greater understanding to such issues as addiction.
 

Gavriel

Member
There certainly are things in psychology that qualify as science under the criteria listed. Just because it does not all fit under that criteria does not mean that none of it is science.

One experiment discussed at TAM was a study on what made people cheat. The experiments and terminology were perfectly rigorous

Sorry for the late reply.

I do agree that are things in psychology that qualify as science, but I'm also not very fond of most of these studies. How could you differentiate the one you cited from things such as "Happiness" research? I personally don't think you can completely understand human behavior without studying the brain simultaneously.

I am looking at returning to study psychology after a couple of years break. I had studied some psychology back in the '80's and did not really class it as a science. Since that time I studied Biology and I was sceptical when I entered psychology again however that soon changed once you see the changes in the subject. At my university at least there is a real leaning on neuroimagery and biological/neuropsychology. That is a real game changer. Admittedly it has its limitations but has provided a greater understanding to such issues as addiction.

That's very interesting. The future of psychology relies on those areas you cited in my opinion, considering that they have a much more in-depth approach to the subject.
 
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