Dennise asked in Social SciencePsychology · 1 decade ago

What makes a psychology a science? That applies the characteristics of scientific method?

6 Answers

Relevance
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I am a psychologist and I state categorically that Psychology is not a science as you are stating it.

    There are 'natural' sciences, such as physics, chemistry etc. and then there are 'social sciences,' such as psychology, sociology etc.

    I think the word 'science', used after the word 'social' is a misnomer. It comes from the fact that the early psychologists (particularly those who adhered to the schools of 'positivism and empiricism), tried to emulate the methods of the natural sciences.

    We have subsequently learned that in most cases, these techniques are inapplicable where human beings are concerned because what people will do under experimental conditions is totally different to how they will act in 'real life.'

    We now understand that people 'construct' their worlds through their daily interactions with other human beings and with societal institutions and as a consequence, 'reality' is a different construct for each of us.

    We now largely use ethnographic techniques when studying people, such as participant observation, because we realise that it is no good trying to base what we see on scientific principles, we must tie what we observe to the conditions which our observed subjects have consructed in the world. Only then can we hope to give an adequate explanation of people's behaviour.

    Hope this helps.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Nitrin
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Modern psychology uses the scientific method to conduct their research. So they rely on observations, gather information, develop hypothesis, control conditions, experiment, analyze the data, subject to peer review and falsifiability, etc. But due to the nature of the topic being studied, it becomes a much less precise science than the hard sciences.

    Psychology didn't start out using the "scientific method", indeed Freud's studies would probably have all been quickly rejected in today's world of psychology. It was psychology determination to become accepted as a respectable "science" that lead them down the road of more rigor in their methods.

    But strict reliance on the scientific method is one reason psychology seems so superficial today. Freud, for example, had an entire theory about the nature of our psyches and of human behavior. Today, all we hear about from psychology -- at least at the popular level -- are studies showing things like that overweight children are more likely to grow up to be republican (I don't know whether that is true or not, its just an example of the kind of thing psychologists waste time on today). Superficial? Yes. But much easier to study than theories concerning the unconscious, for example. To study whether fat kids are more likely to grow up to become republican, all you need do is take an accurate random sample of fat and thin kids, and then see what percentage of both groups grow up to become republican . . . just to give a simple example.

    Personally, I think psychology would be far more advanced than it is today if they could just admit to themselves that they aren't a hard science and seek new methods of inquiry that don't treat human beings like subatomic particles.

    But to answer your question, yes, psychology basically uses all of the parts, in one fashion or another, that are staples of the scientific method.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Yes! Man artificially categorizes subjects/topics. Knowledge across a range of subjects helps you understand more of the picture. In fact, I don't know if it is common but certainly at the universities I have attended, it was not possible to study Gender Studies at BA level as a single subject; it has to be combined so students take combinations such as Gender Studies and Sociology, or Gender Studies and Anthropology or Gender Studies and Social Policy. Many universities recognize the need to understand quantitative methods and students are encouraged to take a free elective in this but sadly not compelled. I also did statistics as a separate subject too. I have done a LOT of different courses over the years, so my memory may be failing me, but Gender Studies was the ONLY one that I can not remember actually doing an original research project. From memory (and I may be wrong) Gender Studies was all essays. *Just checked and looked at several different syllabuses and my interpretation is that assessment is by essay only at BA level. Anybody on a Gender Studies Course at the moment in the UK, who disagrees about there being no compulsory original research project, please feel free to correct me. It may have changed. It was a long time ago!

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Whether psychology is a science or not is debatable, but it does use the scientific method to address specific research questions. Of the social sciences, psychology is probably the closest to traditional science.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    I personally don't think psychology is a science, more like liberal arts I think.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    I don't believe that it is. It's too subjective. There are no hard data, just people's feelings. Perhaps 'witchcraft' might be a more appropriate categorzation.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.