Psychology as a sceince

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  • Psychology as a science
    • Helps to shape and change psychological research
    • Arguments For
      • Psychologists often use scientific methods to test a hypothesis by manipulation of the IV and rigorous control of procedures
    • Arguments Against
      • Psychologists study human behaviour and humans cannot be investigated in the same way as physical materials or forces that are investigated in sciences such as Chemistry or Physics
      • Psychologists are to a large degree with internal mental processes that are not directly observable and therefore not open to scientific scrutiny
    • Freud
      • Difficult to falsify - e.g. Oedipus complex in Little Hans could not be observed
    • Loftus and Palmer
      • Scientific guidelines and controls - enabled cause and effect to be established
    • Cognitive approach
      • favours scientific method, using lab experiments to investigate mental processes
        • enables cause and effect to be established
        • quantitative data - easy to replicate bringing academic credibility to psychology as a discipline
    • Strengths
      • High control, standardised procedures - easily replicable
      • Gain an understanding of hormone imbalances, change in brain shape and structure, etc through use of scientific methods
        • e.g. Maguire - different volume of hippocampus in taxi drivers compared to non
        • can treat depression by seeing how the drug treatments effect the nervous system etc
      • Can see the role of inheritance
        • e.g. genetic predisposition for a mental illness (Gottesman and Shields) - monozygotic and dizygotic twins and schizophrenia


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