Issues of pseudoscience 

  • Created by: Katherine
  • Created on: 28-03-11 17:01


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A field of study that acts as a science however lacks certain important characteristics of a science.

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Hines (2003) 

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List of features that suggest that anomalous research is pseudoscience

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Irrefutable hypothesis 

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The aim of a scientific process is to test hypotheses. Some research into anomalous experience has a non-falsifiable hypothesis. 

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Example of an irrefutable hypothesis  

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A study may find no evidence of ESP, although this would seem to suggest that the hypothesis is wrong, due to the arguments from psychologists saying that there was bias and skeptics in the experiment some psychologists would suggest this is the reason why there was no evidence found. 

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Lacks carefully controlled, replicable research 

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Many of the studies of psi are highly controlled however some of the experiments are not controlled at all therefore have not been replicable.

If the study is then replicated but produces different results to the original study, there are then doubts as to the originals authenticity.

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Lacks a theory to explain the effects 

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Scientific research aims to construct explanations for observations on the Earth. Many paranormal psychologists however have not given an explanation that is likely.

·         Science – disproof in a study results in alternative explanation being proposed.

·         Pseudoscience – disproof in a study results in criticisms of the methodology used in study. 

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Burden of proof 

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Supporters of parapsychology say that they

require no proof and it is up to skeptics to

disprove their theory. Such disproof is very

difficult due to the hypothesis being


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Lack ability to change

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Characteristic of science - explanations are adapted as a result of hypothesis testing.

Parapsychology - they have kept the

same views and explanations even though

they have no evidence.

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