“Is Psychology a Science?” Responses

I had the “YES” perspective.  Must respond to the 3 perspectives below with a minimum 250 words each.  

Perspective #1:  Is Psychology a Science? This is a topic of great debate. For this forum question I have the unnerving task of responding from a “no” perspective. I have to admit it was quite difficult for me to take this stance, however, it was interesting nonetheless. In our text, author Peter Rickman argues against psychology being classified as a science, such as physics and those other natural sciences. I agree with Rickman when he notes that the thought or conversation of science often leads one to think of physical science. As the text states, disciplines involving the study of humanities do not compare to or with that of physical sciences. Disciplines which study human nature, such as psychology, are a separate group which requires almost complete substitutions to the scientific method. One argument I read states that psychology is not falsifiable, meaning that psychologists often only publish those positive findings that support versus unsubstantiate their hypotheses. This brings about the belief that psychologists are more interested in supporting their own beliefs about the human experience rather than understanding and/or accepting the truth about the experiment. Hence, the Stanley Milgram Study on Disobedience. Milgram manipulated the study by tricking the participants into believing they were actually performing shock treatments. This deception ultimately swayed the results of his experiment. According to the text, yes, there are commonalities amongst the physical sciences and human studies, however, human studies is not classified as a science in the same manner as is physics. It all boils down to the study of human beings being profoundly different than the study of physical objects and thus cannot be studied in the same manner or with the same methods. I agree with Rickman when he states, “psychology does not need to be recognized as a science to be an influential discipline in the academic and practical world”. Again, this belief is based on the premise that human beings cannot be studied with the same validity as those physical subject matters of “hard” sciences are studied. (Brandi)  

Perspective #2:  Psychology is a science.  As we look through the history of psychology theories and studying of the mind, we know that psychology has not always been a science, or at least not an exact science.  Robert E. Silverman explains in the journal article Is Psychology a science? That throughout the last 140 years that theories have built off of each other or to discredit other theories in psychology (Gantt & Slife, 2016).  Some of the science of psychology of the time back in the 1800s and 1900s was not actually science although many were on the right path with part of their theories.  Freud’s work has been outdated now but he has a point about problems in adults stemming from childhood and he focused on dreams and which interpretation isn’t a science as a whole if we know an individual we can understand how they are feeling by the dreams they are having (Gantt & Slife, 2017).  What I mean by that is that one person may love snakes and another person scared of snakes, so dreams about snakes are not always going to be about anxiety as some interpreters have published.  Silverman goes on to explain when speaking of the history of psychology that scholars agree that the observation process does qualify psychology as a science (Gantt & Slife, 2016).  Let’s also consider that within psychology we have the DSM (rules or laws), observational techniques, and testing which qualifies psychology as a science.   I believe psychology is a science but it is not one size fits all.  Look at how far psychology has come in 140 years.  We have brain imaging today through fMRI that can show the regions of the brain that are activated with different stimulants.  Imaging can also show neuroscientists Depression, ADHD, PTSD, and so on.  I am attaching a video link from youtube to help explain brain imaging and how biomarkers are used before and after 12-week course of CBT or medication (Emory University, 2013).  In the youtube video Depression Biomarker Study: Using Brain Scans to Help Choose Treatment Type they explain that some brains are better with meds and for some meds wont work and how important brain imaging is so that patients that would do better with CBT can get that instead of being put on a drug that isn’t effective for them (2013).  Psychology still has breakthroughs coming though, because we know that genetics are a factor as well as environment.  We know that individual’s perception of reality is different so therefore even with scientific testing, brain imaging, blood draws to understand hormones, we can not say how heaven on earth for one person is hell for another other than their perspective.  How do we get completely inside for a better understanding?  This next video I have attached helps explain EEG, MEG, and other imaging to show activity generated from the brain in structure and function called Modern ways of studying the brain | Organ Systems | MCAT | Khan Academy, and I believe this is strong evidence that psychology is a science and backed by science (2015). (Rachel)  

Perspective #3:  The question presented to the class this week is “Is Psychology a science?”. For this debate, I was given the “Yes” side. I would also have to personally agree with this side as well. It is obvious that Psychology is based on science. When researching, scientists ask “Why” and that is the main question that Psychologists as as well. Both of these fields also require, and include, research. If you look at human life as the bigger picture, psychology is involved in every aspect. Science is also involved in every aspect. Psychology is generally said to be the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those which affect the human behavior. It is also called the scientific study of human behavior to study why they behave the way they do. Often a question arises that is psychology a scientific discipline? Many people believe it is not, but others take the other side and believe that it is a science. Scientific disciplines are generally classified under two categories. The first are the physical sciences and the second the social sciences. Psychology is considered to be a social science since its principles are related with social life. It is considered a science or a scientific study since during research the psychologists use scientific values. Psychological research also uses scientific methods like conceptualizing problems, collecting data, analysis of the data and then deriving conclusions from it. Psychologists conduct their research using the scientific method by making observations, gathering data, forming theories, and testing the predictions and then interpreting the results on their basis. To measure and describe behavior, researchers make observations and after observing specific events repeatedly, they form a theory that explains these observations. A theory coherently organizes separate pieces of information. Mostly researchers develop a theory only after having collected a lot of evidence to verify it and only after making sure that their research results can be reproduced by the others. Psychological research so has to meet some criteria for being considered scientific. It has to be replicable, falsifiable, precise and parsimonious. Many people that are involved in the practice of psychology end up working in the health care field. The health care field and science go hand-in-hand. There is just too much evidence that supports that psychology is a science. Psychology includes an array of sub-fields such as behavioral, cognitive, addiction counseling, just to name a few. It is my ultimate belief that all this evidence does support the theory that psychology is a science. (Mitchell)

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