Is Psychology Scientific
Debate Rounds (4)
I will start off by asking what about psychology makes you think it isn't scientific? I took a psychology and I feel as though it was scientific. I have gone through experiments and had to structure papers the same way I had to structure science papers.
Psychology is defined as "the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context." It is defined as scientific because to accurately study a persons "mind and functions" it requires a psychologist to take scientific paths to perform experiments.
The 5 standards that all sciences can be held up to and are as follows "clearly defined terminology, quantifiable, highly controlled conditions, reproducibility, and finally, predictability and test ability."
The reason I believe psychology is not scientific is because it can hardly be held up to these standards. For example; your studying happiness in a remote culture, you present the people with images and ask them how happy it made them feel. What are they going to respond with? A 5 maybe a 10? It's an inherit problem when studying psychology that emotions are not able to be quantified, and therefore can't produce empirical results.
Of course, not all psychological studies are about emotion. Which brings me to my next gripe with psychology, it's seemingly inability to be reproduced. This is shown to be evident with the study known as the "Reproduceability project" in which researchers took 100 studies from three different top psychological journals and attempted to reproduce them. They completely failed to do so, only 36% of the studies produced a graph that went in the same direction and only 50% of that was shown in the original study. This shows a clear trend of psychology not producing empirical results, or real scientific data.
Even more so key ideas in psychology such as the sub consciousness has different definitions across sub fields in psychology. From the view of a cognitive psychologist the sub consciousness has little power of higher thinking processes, while from the view of Freudian psychology and personality psychology it has a massive effect on higher thinking processes.
Overall, psychology lacks the qualities that define a science, and therefore shouldn't get a pass to be considered scientific.
As for the example of the happiness test with a remote culture, what does the 5 and 10 represent? Are they scores of how happy they feel?
I do feel as though the experiments done to see how people think are always different depending on the people in them, meaning people have different backgrounds and the result of the experiment could be different because the person thinks differently, however this does not mean the experiment isn't valid because they didn't do what the psychologists predicted. It just means it is a new note for how people react and think. Everyone thinks differently, however they are similar to others in which ways of thinking can be grouped together such as political ideology. People associated with the Democratic party may agree on some political topics and disagree about other topics with other people associated in the same party. I don't think anyone can accurately predict the thoughts and actions of someone. I do think people can accurately place people in groups based on their thoughts and actions.
The way the psychologists get their results is how psychology becomes scientific. Sometimes it doesn't get reproducing conclusions, but it shouldn't be thrown out that it isn't scientific because the details of the reproduced experiment isn't 100% accurate.
The example I gave for the happiness test, the 5 and 10 where just meant to highlight the difficulties that arise when you aren't using quantifiable ideas. You see, a 10 - point scale or any scale doesn't make any sense when measuring happiness or emotions, because at their core they are not things that are labeled to be quantified. However, you"re right the study does not become invalid because happiness is not quantifiable. What does happen is the study stops being able to be considered scientific, and therefore doesn't produce empirical results.
The simple fact that psychological experiments can't be reproduced is the exact reason why it shouldn't be considered scientific! Look at Biology, Chemistry, Physics, all of these have reproducible results and therefore are universal. These are sciences, these are what we base our medicine, planes, cars, and buildings on because of the simple fact that their results are reproducible and provable. I don't know about you, but if I were being treated for depression I wouldn't want to be treated with something that only works SOME of the time. Not to say that treatment is inherently bad, it can certainly help, but it shouldn"t be considered scientific if it"s not.
Awful things in society happen when unscientific things are shared as scientific. This can be seen by the widespread superstition that the MMR vaccine can cause autism. You can't just give something scientific status if by definition it doesn't produce scientific results.
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Trader_Luke forfeited this round.
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