Anomolistic psycology - theories and methodological issues

Issues of pseudoscience (fake) science and science fraud.

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Anomalistic psycology

Anomoulous - Something irregular and has no scientific explination

Anomalistic psychology - Using science to investigate paranormal phenomenal

Parapsychologist -These psycologist believe in the paranormal and try to find evidence to prove it exists.

Anomalistic psychologist - These psychologist usually have a open mind, but are scepitical of the existance of  the paranormal. They try to use scientific experiments to prove that these 'phenomenons' have scientific explinations.

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Issues of psuedoscience (AO1)

Psuedoscience - Science that doesn't follow the proper scientific rigor. They may lack one or more of the 6 main features of science (control, objectivity, paradigm, theory construction, empiricism and replicability).

Some parapsychologist claim there is already evidence for the existence of the paranormal. Critics, sceptics and anomalistic psychologists argue that there has been little or no advancement in the area of parapsychology, mainly because there little reliable empirical data. Therefore it is argued parapsychology is a pseudoscience.

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Psuedoscience characterisitcs (AO1)

There is a lack of peer review by others in the same field, vague, exaggerations or untestable claims in the research make it hard to be certain and repeat studies to verify the results and claims.

Researcher bias is another problems as data that conflicts with the hypothesis and/or beliefs of the researcher maybe ignored.

There is low statistical significance supporting experimental results, this is evidence that a Type 1 error may be present. The claim that there is a difference or relationship when there isn't one. The results can't be verified, as the aims and methodology of the experiment may be too vague.

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Psuedoscience and parapsychology (AO2)

Other theories have been questioned as being a pseudoscience, e.g. freud's theories, the claim all males have homosexuality tendencies, which are suppressed cannot be disapproved. If a man does have no homosexuality tendencies then it is claimed these tendencies are repressed so well they're not apparent.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the largest general scientific society in the world allowed parapsychologists to become members in 1969, showing that parapsychology IS a science.

Thorough research may show the paranormal to be true in time, acupuncture has been proven to offer pain relief after many experiments/test have been done.

However, Mousseau (2003) looked at journals from parapsychology and science. She found that Parapsychology used empirical data 43% of the time, scientific journals used empirical data 64% of the time. Parapsychologists used the experimental method 24% of the time, while scientists used the experimental method 57% of the time. This shows that parapsychology is more of a pseudoscience.

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Fraud - Soal

Fraud - deliberatly cheating, changing and decieving while doing scientific research.

Soal had a sender and reciever in sperate rooms, with a observer to ensure there was no cheating. The cards were placed face down in front of the reciever and the experimentor would hold up 1 - 5 fingers and the sender would turn over that card and try to 'send' the image to the reciever. The reciever had 20 seconds to concentrate and write down what animal it was. After each image had been sent and recieved the cards were shuffled and the new order was recorded.

Soal never showed anyone how he created the lists and his assistant reported after soals death, seeing Soal change the results of the result. He held up 1 finger very often, which he would later change to 4s or 5s to increase the hit rate of reciever.

Scott & Haskell (1974) found that there were too many 4s and 5s in the results for the results to have been random. This supports the theory that Soal changed the results.

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Fraud - Soal cont.

Marwick (1978) found that many of Soals number sequences were identical, showing that the numbers were not random, but in some sequence. This is further evidence to support the theory that Soal was fraudulent.

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Fraud - Walter Levy (AO1)

Levy tried to show the existence of psychokinetic (PK) in rodents. Electrodes were planted in the brain area of the rats to increase intense pleasure in the rats. Stimuli were applied to the brain randomly 50% of the time, by a computer. If the rats influenced the computer to stimulate their brain more it would show evidence for PK.  He found that stimulation increased to 54%, showing the rats had PK.

However, Davis and Rhine (colleagues of levy's at the time) noticed Levy acting strangely around the computer. It was later discovered Levy had tampered with the recording equipment.

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Fraud - Walter Levy (AO2)

The experiment was scientific on face value. It also avoided experimental bias by using a computer.

However, the experiment tried to show PK in animals, not in humans. To generalise the results to humans would be a giant leap.

There are also ethical issues of putting electron on a rats brains, which would cause pain.

Hines (2003) suggested the history of fraud in parapsychology shows that it is a pseudoscience. The lack of evidence makes researched create fake data to try to show evidence that the paranormal exists.

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aisha bibi


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