Is psychology a science?

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  • Created by: Em
  • Created on: 19-03-16 11:21
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  • Is psychology a science?
    • The cognitive approach
    • The psychodynamic approach
      • The approach fails to provide objective evidence so cannot support theories like other approaches- evidence is heavily biased by interpretation such as analysis of dreams so it is subjective.
        • Unfalsifiable- it's theories cannot be empirically investigated.
          • Does not follow the hypothetical-deductive model although Freud believed he did but his methods were not scientific e.g use of case studies.
            • The use of care studies makes scientific rigour harder as there is little opportunity to compare results and produce a common standard. Case studies means results are not replicable; another criterion for scientific status.
          • Reductionist- the approach suggests that the complex mental disorders are caused solely by our experience as a child so it ignores other factors such as environmental factors such as stress due to a life event e.g death of a loved one.
        • Not based on scientific matter- mainly based on case studies rather than experiments e.g Little Hans so no standardised procedure or control
    • The biological approach
      • Falsifiable- theories can be tested and investigated
        • Reductionist- Doesn't provide enough information to fully explain human behaviour e.g individuals may be predisposed to certain behaviours but these behaviours may not be displayed unless they are triggered by factors in the environment.
          • Can produce studies that have sufficient objective and reliable evidence to support them and can be generalised to the wider population e.g Raine et al.
      • Uses objective means of collecting quantifiable data. However, the case study Money conducted was not objective.
        • The approach provides clear predictions e.g about the effects of neurotransmitters. This means the explanations can be scientifically tested and 'proven' as they are based on scientific matter.
          • Standardised procedure and control was used in Raine et al study making it reliable and replicable but Money did not use a standardised procedure (case study).
        • Uses scientific method to create and test hypotheses
          • Many empirical studies to support theories.
    • The social approach
      • Falsifiable- Milgram's and Holfling's experiments were falsifiable.
      • Reductionist- Over simplifies human behaviour. For example Milgram only studied obedience
        • Follows a standardised procedure e.g Milgram and Hofling. However, Sherif did not follow a standardised procedure so his experiment cannot be replicated.
          • Shows cause and effect
        • Follows hypothetical-deductive model- Develop questions, form hypothesis, test hypothesis, formulate theory e.g Agency theory.
        • Not based on scientific matter as studying people and their behaviour is not seen as scientific.
      • Quantitative- Use of questionnaires - data can be statistically analysed. For example, Holfling's questionnaire for the nurses.


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