Psychology As A Science

Psychology Is A Science

  • It is a research-based subject with investigation as its core, very similar to other sciences such as biology and physics. 
  • Psychology uses the scientific method in its investigations. Research is carried out through experimentation and uses many controls, which means cause and effect can be established. 
  • Like other sciences, psychology has theories. Theories generate hypotheses and these are tested empirically, so that the theories are tested and refined.
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Psychology Is Not A Science

  • Psychologists study humans. They cannot be investigated in the same way as subject matter of e.g. chemistry or physics. People are aware of being investigated and this can alter behaviour. This makes psychology less of a science as it means humans will always have extraneous variables which will effect behaviour, lessening cause and effect. 
  • Much of psychology is about the mind. This is highly subjective and not open to scientific research because it is not actually observable. Psychologists only infer what is happening rather than what is actually happening. 
  • Psychological findings are always based on probabilities. Therefore, psychology is not a science as it finds probabilities not facts. 
  • Lots of material which is called psychology is clearly not a science e.g. Freudian theories. 
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Core Study 1 - Bandura

This study is experimental and carried out under laboratory conditions. 

It is therefore highly reliable.

Fits into the behavioural perspective - behavioural ideas are easily testable because they concern easily observed behaviour.

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Core Study 2 - Freud

A sound scientific theory should have clear concepts and it should be able to be scientifically tested.

Ideas such as the unconscious and the Oedipus Complex are very hard to pin down precisely or to measure.

This study fits into the psychodynamic perspective.

The psychodynamic perspective is weak on precision and testability.

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