This is because the research ideal in science is to assume that all observations are neutral and not effected by any knowledge, bias, culture, or opinions of the researcher (Hjørland, 2005). Science is grounded in the empiricism paradigm which postulates that observations and experiences, or data derived from the senses, … They posit that mainstream psychology’s emphasis on laboratory experiments and objectivity has come at the cost of truly understanding individual experience and free will. To qualify for the discount, you must have paid at least 50% of your order cost by 23:59 on Sunday 29th November 2020 (UTC/GMT). In this essay I will be discussing what is actually meant by this and whether psychology fits into both the traditional views of a science, as well as more contemporary perspectives. Personality and Individual Differences, vol. Psychology on the other hand, is arguably a relatively new domain that has been studied as a distinct discipline in its own right for only a couple of hundred years (Danziger, 2013). To achieve this aim, evidence in support of psychology as a science will be considered and evidence against this supposition will be examined. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior. The late-eighteenth-century declaration that a true scientific study of the mind was not possible posed a challenge that was answered in the nineteenth century when the possibility, being that science helps many parts of our lives? Introspection forms no essential part of its methods, nor is the scientific value of its data dependent upon the readiness with which they lend themselves to interpretation in terms of consciousness" -John B. Watson However, that definition is incorrect. “Psychology vs. Psychiatry: Which is better?” Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The British Psychological Society states that ‘Psychology is the scientific study of people, the mind and behaviour’ (BPS). Henriques, G. R., (2004) Psychology defined.Journal of Clinical Psychology, vol. It is clear that behaviourism is a highly scientific approach. It is also likely that a researcher can never be completely certain that their hypothesis is true because psychological processes occur in the mind and are not readily accessible. Do you have a 2:1 degree or higher? It can be difficult to reconcile psychology with science when human behaviour varies across situations and over time. For instance, in a study examining the relationship between depression and eating habits a psychologist would not be able to truly control for a person’s childhood experiences. Moore, J., (2011) Philosophy of science, with special consideration given to behaviorism as the philosophy of the science of behavior. In addition, much of the research in psychology does not employ double-blind procedures, even in studies of a clinical nature where it would be advantageous to do so (Lilienfeld, 2010). PSYCHOLOGY AS A SCIENCE Psychology is the scientific study of the behavior of individuals and their mental processes. It should be noted that behaviourism in its original form is now considered outdated and too simplistic to account for the complexity of human behaviour. I will outline the behaviourist approach, the psychoanalytical approach, the cognitive approach, the humanistic approach and the biological approach. Cognitive psychology returned focus to the importance of mental processes rather than concentrating solely on environmental factors as behaviourism had done (Gardner, 2008). 24, no. It is widely suggested that Psychology is a “coalition of specialities” meaning it is multi-disciplinary (Hewstone, Fincham and Foster 2005, page 4). Therefore, in line with the hypothetico-deductive method cognitive psychologists develop precise theoretical hypotheses and then conduct well-controlled experiments in order to confirm or reject them (Gardner, 2008; Haig, 2005). In fact, most of the population doesn’t know what it means to study psychology. Broadly speaking, science is concerned with the objective, logical study of the material world based on fact, and not opinion or intuition. You can view samples of our professional work here. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Broadly speaking the discussion focuses on the different branches of psychology, and if they are indeed scientific. It has been argued that mainstream, scientific psychology continues to undermine humanistic psychology and does not acknowledge its contributions to theory and academic literature (Elkins, 2008). For example, in the behaviourism and cognitive disciplines empirical research and the control of variables are highly important. Nonetheless, its focus on the processes of the mind and behaviour means that it should not ignore potentially valuable, yet subjective, areas of investigation. Comparatively, behaviourism’s major strengths were that it was highly objective, was applicable to both humans and animals, and was highly replicable (Hjørland, 2005; Moore, 2011). These many parts come together to help explain why humans behave the way they do. Is Psychology a Science? But what makes it a scientific study? No plagiarism, guaranteed! Therefore, it can be argued that psychology is a science because many researchers use the scientific method of hypothetico-deductivism. Consciousness and Cognition, vol. In this essay I will be discussing what is actually meant by this and whether psychology fits into both the traditional views of a science, as well as more contemporary perspectives. Skinner, B. F., (1971) Beyond Freedom and Dignity. (Fuchs & Milar, 2002). We're here to answer any questions you have about our services. Psychology is commonly defined as ‘scientific’ study of human behaviour and cognitive processes. Psychology often aims to be a science, however the link between psychological research and scientific research is often far from obvious. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, vol. Hitherto evidence in support of psychology as a science has been examined; now arguments which contradict this notion will be considered. Their motivation, emotions, development, and personality are all products of the different functions and, "Psychology as the behaviorist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Nevertheless, it has been contended that it facilitated the focus on scientific principles and was the precursor to experimental research in areas such as cognitive, clinical, and developmental psychology (Costall, 2006; Moore, 2011). Furthermore, the nature of empirical studies means that generalisations are made by studying one population which may not be representative of all groups (Hjørland, 2005). Many different perspectives have contributed to the study of psychology including behaviourism, developmental and cognitive approaches. Haig, B. D., (2005) An abductive theory of scientific method. The role of psychology as a science has been debated for over one hundred years and continues to generate controversy (Lilienfeld, 2010; Zittoun, Gillespie, and Cornish, 2009). Free resources to assist you with your university studies! Psychology slowly shifted from unproven mind psychology to the study of behaviour with revolutionary experiments in behaviour like Pavlovs dogs. For example, the humanistic psychology movement, which developed in the 1950s and 1960s partly as a reaction to psychoanalysis and behaviourism, emphasises the importance of an individual’s subjective way of thinking and personal perception (Elkins, 2008). Another pertinent point is that not all areas of psychology adhere to strict methodological stipulations and are actually opposed to the idea of psychology being a science. Consequently, a theory or treatment should only gain acceptance if other investigators are able to provide empirical support for it (Haig, 2005; Hjørland, 2005; Lilienfeld, 2010). Evidence that provides support for the idea that psychology is a science will now be examined. Before I had ever begun to ponder cognitive abilities, or understand the connections between Dopamine and schizophrenia, my concepts of psychology were shaped by the perverse world of popular culture. As per the scientific tradition, research in psychology predominantly relies on collecting objective empirical data from participants, for example through questionnaires, performance tasks, experimentation, or observation. Copyright © 2003 - 2020 - UKEssays is a trading name of All Answers Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales.