Advantages of using scientific method in psychology

  • Created by: Anna
  • Created on: 01-06-15 10:11

Advantage 1: Control

Using the scientific method in psychology is a benefit because it allows increased control in studies. Having control means to experiments is able to manipluate variables in a laboratory setting and see cause and effect due to the direct controlled manipulation to the dependent variable. Furthermore having control in an experiment means that all other unwanted variabled which could effect the outcome results of the study (extranous variables) can be held at bay, therefore increasing the internal validity of the study.

An example of a study which benefitted from control is Loftus and Palmer, they were able to put particpants in the same conditions but manipluate only the IV. As they has strict procedures and carefully recorded all their results, their study benefitted from having control and it increased the internal validity and furthermore mean they were able to make a clear conclusion about cause and effect. As well as this, the high levels of control meant their study was highly repeated, another advantage.

However a study which shows lack of control leads to uncertaintey with results is Langer and Rodin's experiment, although their study was about control, they showed little of it during the experiment. Their study was done in a natural setting therefore increasing the ecological validity but they weren't able to keep extraneous variables at bay which effected their results leading to uncertainty with cause and effect.

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Advantage 2: Replicablity

Another advantages of using the scientific method in psychology is replicablity, being able to repeat a study increased the validity of the results gained and also makes the findings of the results more crediable if they have been done numerous times gaining similar results and comparing and finding averages.

A study which showed high levels of replicablity is an advantage was Asch's conformity study. Asch had strict procedures and high levels of control within his study which lead to his study being repeated by other researcher's- Smith and Bond, they were able to copy Asch's study due to his strict recording of procedures.

A study which shows having no strict procedure and therefore decreased ability to repeat makes that study unreliable is Rosenhan's study, 'Sane in Insane Places' using a natural setting experiment and having no direct procedure, just brief directions to psuedopaitents, Rosenhan's study lacks scientific crediablity as it has been done once, it would be impossible to totally recreate the setting his psuedopaitents where in the recreate the experiment and gain results to compare.

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Advantage 3: Objectivity

Objectivity is important in psycholoy as it suggests leading to the truth. If an experimenter remains impartical and looks at only the firm results of the experiment done then that study has increased objectivity, meaning the hypothesis of that experiment can be argeed with or not.

An example of a study which benefitted from high levels of objectivity is Skinner's behavioural experiments with rats and piegons. Skinner's DV was hoiw many times the lever was pressed by either the rat or piegon to recieve food. It's difficult for the results to be disputed as Skinner was counting how many times the lever was pressed in order for the animal to learn that pressing the lever equalled recieving food.

An another study which shows lack of objectivity leads to questioning the finding of results is Freud's psychodynamic work, with focus on childhood and dreaming, Freud's work cannot be proved nor disproved leading to uncertaintey around whether or not it is crediable. All of Freud's work is subjective and it's often psychoanalysts will have different intererations showing lack of objectivity means lack of consistency, which is important in comparing scientific research.

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Advantage 4: Predictablity

A final advantage of using the scientific approach in psychology is having the ablity to predict results. Being able to predict results, stating it in a directional hypothesis and then conducting an experiment to either prove or disprove the hypothesis is what most scientific experiments are based on. Predictablity shows the aim of a study, showing why the study is being done and what the purpose of it is.

A study which shows having predictablity is an advantage is the behaviourism's operant conditioning, predicting behaviour- learning what is seen as right behaviour and what is seen as wrong behaviour, and then testing those preditions and then if they turn out to be true leading to further development in areas of behaviour such as child development is a strong advantage of using the scientific method.

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