Psychology - A Science?

Some definitions, background info and explanations.

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  • Created by: Elizabeth
  • Created on: 16-06-10 00:14

Introduction to Scientific Method

Is Psychology a Science?

It is a 'Pseudo-Science' (pretending to be a science) according to Thomas Khun.

In order to strengthen the scientific recognition of the UK, the government consider Psychology a Science.

What is a Science?

Thomas Khun (American 1922-1996) said something is scientific if it follows a paradigm. This is a shared set of: Assumptions, scientific methods and terminology.

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The Scientific Method

PARADIGM - Shared set of beliefs.

EMPIRICISM - The info is gathered through observation or experiment, rather than being reasoned argument or hear-say.

OBJECTIVITY - You need to be able to detach your thoughts and feelings from what you are seeing.

REPLICABILITY - Use the same procedures and get the same outcome (e.g. Strange Situation).

CONTROL - To show cause and affect (e.g. Milgram) manipulate Independent Variable (IV) and measure dependent, for example, 'because of will result in this...'.

THEORY CONSTRUCTION - We want to predict, understand and explain our world.

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Hypothetical Deductive Model (Karl Pepper)

Inductive reasoning

  • Observation which is used as a stepping stone towards generalisations which lastly creates the paradigm of terminology and results in a belief according to the results of research.

Deductive reasoning

  • This is the opposite of the Inductive Reasoning in that it begins with a theory which then generates the predictions and the research based on these theories takes place, lastly.

A basic model that shows this.

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INDUCTION - Involves reasoning from the particular to the general - observing a natural phenomena and coming up with a law or theory.

DEDUCTION - Involves reasoning from the general to the particular.

OPERATIONALISE - stating what it is you want to measure/define and state how you are going to measure it e.g. observing aggression in 2 y/o and using a tick box method in which you tick according to the behaviours they show that are listed.

FALSIFICATION - this is the logical possibility that an assertion can be shown false by an observation or physical experiment.

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  • The theories should provide general laws or principles which should allow predictions to be made for future events.
  • The theories should be internally consistent (parts of the same theory should not contradict each other) clear and discrete.
  • They should be nomothetic, they should apply to the whole population.Idiographic is focused on one person.
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For and against Psychology as a Science

CONCLUDE: FOR and AGAINST Psychology as a Science

- ECT - we require proof that it works.

- Following Science is beneficial so we can generate models and follow them (e.g.multi-store model).

- No single paradigm.

- Often lack internal validity b/c of demand characteristics, etc.

- Limited amount of improvement in the mental health area suggesting the subject is not strong enough to be considered a Science.

- Science is scientific and reductionist which Psychology is not. It also takes into account social aspects and there will always be emotional links due to working with other human beings as apposed to objects of little meaning.

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