Is Psychology a Science?

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What is a science?
A branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving systematised observations of and experiment with phenomena
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What is a hard and soft science?
Hard- chemistry, biology and physics & soft- ecology, psychology and sociology
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What is a paradigm?
A shared set of assumptions about the subject matter of a discipline and the methods appropriate to its study
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Kuhn (1962)
Two phases. Phase one- 'normal science' there is one set paradigm and the theory remains dominant even if there is opposing evidence building up & phase two- a science where the paradigm is proved wrong and therefore the paradigm shifts
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What is reductionism?
When the explanation is too simplistic and therefore ignores important factors that contribute to the explanation
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What is determinism?
The idea that behaviour can be predicted (opposite to free will)
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Science is both reductionistic and deterministic, does this work for psychology?
Yes because reductionism is helpful for chemotherapy (for mental illness) but no because the humanistic approach believes in free will
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Outline the history of psychology.
400bc Hippocrates first considered personality to be related to bodily fluids, 1879 William Wundt opened lab in Germany for introspection (inspecting yourself internally- not literally) and 1913 Watson studied behaviourist approach- is it measurable?
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Name 3 points for why psychology is a science.
Scientific research is desirable, shares the same goal as other sciences and some levels of psychology are scientific
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Why is scientific research in psychology desirable?
It's empirical- people demand proof for things like how effective certain treatments are for mental illness e.g. ECT
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How does psychology share the same goals as other sciences?
It falsifies theories using controlled research- but is this enough to make it a science?
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Miller (1983)
Psychology is a 'pseudoscience' claiming that its discoveries are facts
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Why are some parts of psychology scientific?
More reductionist the approach the more scientific- e.g. the biological approach is scientific as it only looks at how the brain effects behaviour (ignores social factors) however other approaches are not
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Name 3 arguments against psychology as a science.
Psychology doesn't have one paradigm, it lacks objectivity and control and the goals of a science aren't necessarily appropriate for psychology
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Why does psychology have no paradigm?
(Kuhn 1962) psychology may be a pre-science- you need a paradigm to claim that your findings are fact and psychology doesn't have one
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How does psychology lack objectivity and control?
Behaviour can't be measured objectively, bias and demand characteristics lead to issues of validity BUT this can also happen in other sciences (uncertainty principle)
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Why might the goals of science be inappropriate for psychology?
Laing- scientific explanations for schizophrenia may be too reductionist (need an idiographic approach), treating mental illness with drugs not always effective- qualitative research might give more humanly results
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Card 2

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What is a hard and soft science?

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Hard- chemistry, biology and physics & soft- ecology, psychology and sociology

Card 3

Front

What is a paradigm?

Back

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Card 4

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Kuhn (1962)

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Card 5

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What is reductionism?

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