Psychology as a science

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  • Created by: Nadine
  • Created on: 30-05-13 16:05


- In order for psychology to be accepted as a science it must meet guidelines/ definitions of a science.

-However analysing a definition is complex and many have shared their interpretations, Khun for example stated “it must share three components: having assumptions, scientific method and have key terminology”.

-By this definition psychology should be considered a science

-However others have made definitions that contradict psychology as a science, such as “ an irrefutable proof of an existence of one theory that can be reliably measured”

-psychology cannot do this as the most of the psychodynamic approach is unfalsifiable. 

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Similar goals to a science

- Psychology has similar goals to a science, as it shares a description of “ a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles”.Psychology uses scientific methods such as lab experiments. This is important as models can be reliably measured to generalise theories just like a science.

-Although the goals for science may not be appropriate, science aims to be nomothetic in its discoveries but psychology is unable to do this as it studied human behaviour which is mostly unpredictable.Nevertheless if psychologist only “dress up” the subject by using quantitative measurements and statistic analysis they may falsely claim discoveries to be fact when they are not.Also just because it used scientific method to gain quantitative data does not meant that this makes research method itself factual,

-Psychology struggles to make factual statements like science does such as Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis, no one can prove it right or wrong.On the other hand for a long time great scientific minds thought the world was flat , so perhaps  the ideas that science considers as fact now may be proven wrong later,

-In my opinion psychology is being more cautious that the traditional sciences perhaps being developed and knowing the danger of factual statements.

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Lack of a paradigm

-There is a lack of paradigm in psychology which creates in downfall in its potential to be a science.

-A paradigm is a shared set of assumptions about a subject matter of a discipline and the methods appropriate to its study.

-Without a paradigm  psychological theories may not be explained fully as it doesn’t come  with shared assumptions fo the different areas of psychology.

-Despite that psychology is a  reasonably new science, so it can be said that it has not found its paradigm yet, although uncertain whether it will happen.

- Which makes people suggest that psychology is a prescience, Kuhn supported this and stated that it is not a science because of no paradigm but may be considered a prescience in the sense that it hasn’t become a full science yet but does have scientific features and the potential to be a science.  

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Scientific research is desirable

Scientific research is desirable by psychologists, early psychologists such as Watson who used Pavlov’s objective studies of classical conditioning as the basis of a truly scientific approach to psychology aimed for a science of psychology to verify their claims. 

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The debate of whether psychology is a science continues, we can see it in present every day life like in universities departments and where they class psychology it ranges from social sciences, science and psychology as a separate subject. Perhaps this debate will continue for a long time so until then it will have to rely on personal opinion based psychological evidence and research. 

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