Is Psychology a Science?

The Scientific Status of Psychology wtUY The Controversial Questions If psychology meets the criteria, then it is a science. BUT maybe not all of psychology can be seen

as scientific AND maybe the scientific approach is not the best way of understanding the complex behaviour psychology is interested in May the FORCE be with you ! To consider if Psychology is/should be a science we need to know the criteria of a science. Complete activity on page 171 What does each term mean?

Think of an example from Psychology Why is each criteria desirable for research? Another consideration Science should have a PARADIGM - a generally agreement about WHAT should be studied and HOW e.g Biology is about the nature of animals and plants Objectives for Lesson 2 To look at the arguments about whether

psychology meets the criteria needed to be considered a science. To understand the importance of determinism and reductionism in science To be able to evaluate the use of determinism and reductionism in psychology Some levels of Psychology are scientific (so maybe its a science?) Biology explains a complex physical illness like Flu by talking about the effect of a virus

getting into our blood. All the Flu symptoms we experience are explained by the activity of the virus. This allows doctors to develop drugs to counteract the effects of the virus. This is reductionism in action and it works. It is also deterministic since it states that the virus causes the symptoms Some aspects of Psychology are Scientific

In pairs, think of two psychological approaches that are deterministic and reductionist in the way they explain complex human behaviours. Perhaps you went for the COGNITIVE approach humans behave like computers? Perhaps you went for the BIOLOGICAL approach behaviour is determined by neurotransmitters and hormones? Scientific Method why should psychologists use it?

Reductionist theories are FALSIFIABLE. Popper says the real goal of science is to try and disprove a theory. Non-falsifiable theories are unscientific. In pairs, come up with some falsifiable theories from psychology, and explain HOW they can be falsified Scientific Method why should psychologists use it? However some areas of psychology have been

described as non-falsifiable. In pairs, come up with a non-falsifiable theory from psychology, and explain WHY it cant be falsified Evaluation of the use of the Scientific Method in Psychology What issues arise from using determinism in Psychology? Think Positive approach What is the problem with reductionism? Can all

behaviour be explained by breaking it down into component parts? What is missing? Counterargument Psychology cant be objective Psychological research is based on opinion, and so cant be objective like a real science Popper argued that scientists dont just observe, they base their observations on theories. So it is impossible to be completely objective.

Counterargument Psychology cant be objective BUT if humans study other humans, lots of biases are likely How could psychology be affected by Gender Bias, Cultural Bias and Social Class Bias? Also, psychological investigations often rely on the INTERPRETATION of the observer (Gibson&Walk, Langer&Rodin)

Counterargument Psychology cant be objective Skinners Box automatically records lever presses by the rat why could we still question the boxs objectivity? Why was Heather so dismissive of experiments? What is the issue with EXTERNAL Validity? What is Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle does it apply only to Psychology? Objectives for Lesson 3

To Consider whether Psychology should be considered a science To define the goals of science - Prediction, understanding and control To understand the importance of idiographic approaches to psychology Goals of Science

Definitions needed Prediction Understanding Control In pairs identify examples in psychology Science focuses on the General rather than the Individual

Scientific approaches are Nomothetic meaning they seek to make generalisations and apply findings to everyone e.g a drug to treat schizophrenia will work on everyone as we share similar brain physiology. Other approaches such as Positive and Humanistic approaches focus on the uniqueness of individuals and also take free will into account. E.g A person has the power to recover from mental illness if they choose.

Example paragraph For a discipline to be seen as scientific it should have a unified paradigm or shared set of assumptions about the area of study, like biology studies all things natural. It is generally agreed that Psychology is about the human mind and behaviour even though there are different ways of studying them. However Kuhn argues that Psychology has no unifying paradigm as psychologists disagree about whether to study biology, the unconscious or conscious thoughts. This suggests that it is questionable

whether psychology is a true science. Essay Plan (AO2 10 AO3 15) Evaluate the view that for Psychology to have an impact it should be scientific. (25) Into Why is this a controversy? Credibility vs Usefulness P1 What is science? How does Psychology meet the critieria? Refer to approaches and changes in science, determinism and reductionism P2 Evaluation What are the issues with objectivity, determinism and reductionism? what about external validity?

P3 Should Psychology be a science? Should it share the same goals as science if not why? Use Positive and Humanistic approaches as examples of idiographic approach P4 Evaluation and conclusion Give reasons why science is desirable and preferable against reasons why science is not so desirable in the case of psychology.

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