Debates - is psychology a science

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  • Created by: Raachel
  • Created on: 30-03-14 10:36
what five things should be considered when discussing whether psychology is a science or not?
scientific subject matter, hypothetico-deductive model, reductionism, falsifiability, paradigm
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what is the hypothetico-deductive model
a science involves a theory being formulated to explain a phenomenon. a hypothesis is drawn from it to predict what will happen in the real world and this is tested. the hypothesis is then amended, and if not proven, it is rejected.
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explain the idea of falsification
hypothesis = scientific, could be falsified. This means, scientists try to prove a theory wrong rather than verifying it. psychology tends not to take this approach > the subject matter involves humans so there are going to be elements of chance
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in terms of a paradigm, is psychology a science?
hard to say what paradigm is, so is pre-paradigmatic. hard to suggest there is just one paradigm - never only one way of looking at an issue
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how is the idea of reductionism related to psychology?
simplifying complex subject matter to measurable and isolated concepts. e.g. operationalising IV & DV. generally achieved, with the exception of case studies which take a holistic approach
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is psychology a science in terms of scientific subject matter?
depends on the approach because those that involve a concept of science are + depends on methodology used. if concepts are measurable then scientific so psychodynamic not scientific .
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what makes something scientific?
scientific subject matter, hypothetico-deductive model, reductionism, falsification, paradigm, objectivity, cause and effect, quantitative data, controls
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give two ways in which the social approach can be considered scientific
- field experiments (e.g. Hoffling) & lab experiments (e.g. Milgram) use controlled methods which offer reductionism + operationalisation of variable -control over variables = cause & effect relationship
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give two ways in which the social approach can be considered unscientific
- ethnographic studies (Meeus and Raaijmakers) = qualitative data - some concepts = hard to operationalise e.g. obedience + prejudice, so cannot be directly tested
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give two ways in which the cognitive approach can be considered scientific
-field experiments (e.g. Godden & Baddeley) & lab experiments (e.g. Craik and Tulving) use controlled methods which offer reductionism + operationalisation of variables. - concepts such as memory/forgetting = reduced for testing (lists of words)
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give two ways in which the cognitive approach can be considered unscientific
-concepts e.g. levels of processing/cue dependency hard to operationalise = hard to test. - case studies (Clive Wearing) hard to generalise from to form scientific body of knowledge
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give a way in which the psychodynamic approach can be considered scientific
there was no original scientific experimentation by Freud, but later studies have used such methodologies. e.g. Adam et al who looked into homophobia
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give two ways in which the psychodynamic approach can be considered unscientific
- case studies were used to base psychodynamic concepts on > not generalisable or scientific > require subject interpretation. - concepts (unconscious) unmeasurable or testable in a direct way
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give two ways in which the biological approach can be considered scientific
- scientific content (genes, hormones, neurotransmitters) > easily operationalised. - lab experiments (PET, MRI), carefully controlled as a hypothesis is being tested
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give two ways in which the biological approach can be considered unscientific
- case studies (e.g. Dr Money) not scientific - case studies involving MZ/DZ twins usually produce qualitative data > subjective interpretation
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give two ways in which the learning approach can be considered scientific
- reduction of concepts e.g. learning = stimulus + response. - approach aims to develop general laws of behaviour and development = scientific
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give two ways in which the learning approach can be considered unscientific
- generalising results from animals to humans = anthropomorphic > may not apply. - ignoring human emotion & cognition ignored human functioning
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what is the hypothetico-deductive model

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a science involves a theory being formulated to explain a phenomenon. a hypothesis is drawn from it to predict what will happen in the real world and this is tested. the hypothesis is then amended, and if not proven, it is rejected.

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explain the idea of falsification

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in terms of a paradigm, is psychology a science?

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how is the idea of reductionism related to psychology?

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