psychology and science

HideShow resource information

Major features of science

Empiricism - information gained through direct observation or experiment rather than beliefs.

Objectivity - scientists strive to be objective in observations and measurements e.g expectations shouldn't affect what record.

Replicability - Scientist record methods carefully so its easy to replicate

Control - vary one factor (IV) and observe effect on DV. to be fair test other conditions must be the same i.e controlled.

Theory construction - may occur at start or end of process. Construct theories to make predictions.

Induction - producing laws and theories based on what's observed and making sense of it.  

Deduction - start with theory and look for evidence.

Falsification - only way to be certain e.g. black swan

1 of 3

psychology and science

In science most established theory can be falsified. Another problem is disciplines cant follow exactly. Freud - claimed to know all answers but resonates against modern psychology.

Psychology is science insofar as shares goals of all sciences and uses scientific method.  Most psychologists generate models, which can be falsified and conduct well-controlled experiments. Question to whether using scientific method makes psychology science.

Kuhn - can't be a science as no single paradigm. Psychology is pre-science. Miller - pseudoscience.

Heisenberg - not possible to measure subatomic particle without altering behaviour. Uncertainty principle experimenter effect; presence of experimenter changes behaviour of what's observed.

2 of 3

Psychology and science

Scientific approach both reductionist and determinist - complex phenomena reduced to simple variables in order to study casual relationship:

  • Determinist - search for casual relationships - don't take view rules out scientific research as means of understanding behaviour.
  • Reductionism and determinism mixed blessings. Reduce complex behaviour to simple variables may tell us 'real behaviour'. Without reductionism diffiicult to pick patterns or reach conclusions.
  • Determinism - oversimplify relationship between causes and effects. Provides insight to important factors, influences of nature and nurture.

Big impact on different areas of life - education, health, economy and crime

3 of 3


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Research methods and techniques resources »