Is Psychology A Science? Essay

2371 words - 9 pages

1. The Status of Psychology as a ScienceIn module 3, we looked at some arguments for and against the use of the scientific method in research. Here, our emphasis is on science in general, not just the methodology (although some of the content you learned for that exam could likewise be used here).This controversy focuses on the issue of psychology's status as a science. There are two strands to this debateIs psychology as a science?Should psychology be a science?While the first question looks at whether psychology, in its present form meets the criteria of a science subject, the second examines whether being classed as a science is something that psychology should strive for. As with any controversy, there are proponents for and against both of these arguments.However, before we can assess the status of psychology as a science, we must first define what science is.a) Define scienceScience is: the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. According to modern definitions, science has the following features (Eysenck and Keane 1990)Controlled observations: in most sciences it is typical for experiments to involve observing the effects of some specific manipulation.Objectivity: even if total objectivity is impossible, it is still important for data to be collected in a way as close as objective as possibleTesting theoretical predictions: scientific experiments are generally carried out to test the prediction of some theory.Falsifiability: the notion that scientific theories can potentially be disproved by evidence.Paradigm: there is a generally accepted theoretic orientation within a scienceReplicability: the findings obtained by researchers need to be replicable or repeatable; it would be hard (or impossible) to base a science in inconsistent findings.However, they also point out that the division between science and non-science is not as clear cut as used to be believed.Can you think of an example of a particular aspect/s of psychology that you have studied which you could use to demonstrate these concepts?b) Discuss the status of psychology as a scienceIs psychology a science?Before looking at the arguments for whether it is desirable for psychology to be a science, we shall first assess whether it actually is a science.1a: Argument - At least some 'levels' of psychology are scientificOther more established sciences are reductionist to a certain degree (physics, biology etc) and it is considered desirable because complex phenomena are best understood in terms of a simpler 'level' of explanation. Many aspects of psychology are reductionist, in that they aim to explain complex behaviour by breaking it own into more simple components.Give two theories from psychologies that are reductionist in their explanation of complex human behaviour.Reductionism is desirable because it allows us to create testable predictions which can then be carried out in controlled experiments for...

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