Showing posts with label psychology is not a science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label psychology is not a science. Show all posts

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit? Pt. 3

This is a follow up to THIS post, entitled "Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit? Pt. 2"

Some further discussion has taken place. A new comment from him, in response to the last one I gave (featured in part two of this (originally not intended to be a) series:

Then again I never studied psychology so thank you for elaborating. I just don't know how that general psychology or psychoanalysis as you pointed out helps any in the business world other than bettering someone as a person. I feel the same about art even though I am kind of an artist myself; I think it's totally useless unless you're actually going into art.

And my response to that was as follows:

Well, I'm not sure why you're using the business world as an endpoint (remember though, I still basically agree with your contention), but if that's the one you're going with, I suppose one could argue that, ina ddition to bettering yourself, as you pointed out, you could possibly use an understanding of the human psyche to aid yourself in processes like detecting falsehoods, guaging prospective employees, social networking, closing deals, etc.

Not that I really buy that (well, to some limited degree, sure) but I think that could be an argument. Although, if you remove the business world as the end goal, you have all sorts of ends: the sake of knowledge, interest, interpersonal relationships (famiial, marital, etc), professional endeavours (counselling), etc etc.

I was never a fan of it, but I don't think it's wise to write it off entirely (not that you or I are necessarily doing that).

If you compare real world benefits of something like your field and psychoanalysis, I think that the clear winner is your field. I think the argument could be made that of all areas of study, mathematics is probably the most important, as much as I hate(d) it.
What do you think? If you offered an opinion after part one and/or part two, does this have any bearing on your opinion at all? As always, feedback is mucho appreciado.

EDIT: Go back to part one to see a comment from this very same person. His original opinion is no longer one that he holds to the letter. I think we had a productive dialogue here. I also got his major wrong :(

Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit? Pt. 2

This is a follow up to THIS post, entitled "Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit?"

A bit more discussion has taken place. Him:

At the same time many psychological hypotheses are not testable and repeatable and that is a controversy in psychology. Modern psychology does use the scientific method a lot so that's why I consider it to be somewhat of a science. I totally agree with what you said about neuropsychology and evolutionary psychology but when I was talking about psychology being 'lame' I was talking about the main branch of psychology that most people study in college. I think it's kind of useless in the business world, not totally though.
And my response:

You're talking about psychoanalysis, and you're 100% right. However, I don't think that's the most studied branch of psychology. I think (at least, it was at the university I attended), that psychoanalysis was taught in intro psyc as a starting point, and also in history of psyc courses. I could be wrong though, as this is only based on one school. I can say that there are so many branches of psyc now that I feel confident thinking that it's probably no longer #1, and I DO know that it's an area of contention within pyschology itself.

When I studied psychology, I took courses on psychopharmacology, neuropsychology, psychology of health, psychology of sleep, personality, learning psychology, psychology of media, social psychology, behavioural pychology, cognitive beahvioural therapy, etc etc etc. The only times I ever really studied psycholanalytic theory was in intro pych (aka psyc 101 as it is commonly referred to) and in the 4th year borefest, history of psychology. I believe a bit of it was also covered in a philiosophy class I took, as some of it wasrelevant to some of the philiosophical ideas we studied, but the details of this are hazy.

Thanks for the eaboration though, and I must say (and I say this with no condescension, I swear) that this serves as an example of how we must be careful when we speak, as it is easy to totally screw up and have our message be misconceived. I mean, you stright up denigrated all of psychology, when really, you were taking issue with a paritucular area of study within it. There's a huge difference there, and I went from being a bit....well, off put to completely understanding and even agreeing (although we could both be wrong in our conceptions, and I am sure there are plenty of people out there who would like to alleviate us of our misconceptions!!!!) (and they'd probably have a big problem with me, having studied it and all lol).
What do you think? If you offered an opinion after part one, does this have any bearing on that at all? Mine might not, as it is merely a retread since I had already discussed psychoanalytic theory, but his comment probably will, as it represents further clarification on his end; clarification which changed the way I saw his original comment, and quite likely may for you as well.

As always, feedback is mucho appreciado.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit? Pt. 1

I've heard it many times before, as I am sure many of us have:

 "Psychology is not a science." I have even heard that "psychology is bullshit."

While the second sentiment is not uncommon (over 700,000 hits on google), the first, "psychology is not a science," is VERY common (over 50 MILLION hits on ze goog). In fact, I just ran into one such comment and engaged in a small conversation regarding it.

An online friend of mine, who is a molecular biology (or was it microbiology?....I can't recall, but something to that effect) major recently made a comment to this end on a blog of mine, in which I had interviewed someone who is going to be majoring in pyschology (which was the discipline in which I attained my BA as well). Here is his comment:

I think a psychology major is so lame.
His response to me after I asked him for an elaboration was as follows:

Well from all of my friend's experiences they say they absolutely got nothing out of psychology so similar to what Lenano is planning on doing they all ended up changing their majors. I just don't like it as a science; at least not compared to sciences such as biology, chemistry, and physics.

Sure psychology incorporates some aspects of biology and chemistry, but for the most part unlike those sciences, it doesn't provide conclusive theories. Since psychology uses a lot of deductive reasoning most psychological theories are in actuality hypotheses. I do however commend psychology for elaborating on stuff like social sciences and stuff, but for the most part I think other sciences could figure that stuff out and I consider psychology to be basically philosophy involving biology and chemistry. I may be stupid for saying that but that's just how I feel towards psychology.
I responded to him with the following:

One problem with this is that many psychological theories are testable, repeatable, and falsifiable. They also, just like theories in other disciplines, are based upon evidence. They are the explanations for the facts, and therefore, they ARE theories as opposed to just hypotheses. I see what you are saying about the nature of deductive reasoning, don't get me wrong, but psychology has changed much in the last 50 or so years.

Biology might point out that x follows from Y, but the manifestation of X will have to be pyschology. So if you think that form and function are good, but the interactions between and processes behind those functions are ''lame,'' well, I'd say you're looking at an incomplete picture. Without psychology, you'd have neurology but no neuropsychology. Without psychology, you'd have evolutionary biology but no evolutionary psychology.

Psyc is sort of like the why to the how. And the why toay is functionally much different than the why's of people like Freud and Jung. Of course, there are still those fanciful pychoanalytical theories (or hell, hypotheses) out there, as you drive at, and I agree. Even back when I was a fresh undergrad, I had issues with that stuff.

And psychology is the reason I am in the career I am in today.
What do you think? Is psychology a science?