Is Psychology a science?

I’ve heard both sides of the argument, not a science vs. science. What is your perspective and how do you justify it?

Ramon – by far the most intelligent answer thus far. 🙂

jsut one small point though Ramon, you CAN get a BSc in psychology .

11 Answers

  • Psychologists study the human mind. They also try to explain why people act as they do. They do research to test their ideas about people’s actions. Their research methods vary. They may get data from lab tests, interviews, and surveys.

    Basically it’s the study of the mind. Yes it’s technically a science.

  • It really depends how you define “science.” General definition is that science is systematically gathering information and putting it together as TESTABLE laws and theories. In the academic circle, there is also the implied feeling that the results from those tests and theories must be repeatable and concrete.

    This is where the split begins. In science, if you say, in a perfect vacuum, an object will accelerate toward the Earth at 9.8 meters per second, it must do that every time. Otherwise something is wrong with your theory and you need to figure out why at differs. Fortunately for physicists, it does not vary, so now we have the law of gravity.

    Psychology, on the other hand, really doesn’t have testable results. There just aren’t any psychological test results that you can repeat without variation time and time again. For example, you might find out that 60% of people, given the choice between one big plain chocolate bar and one smaller chocolate bar with peanut butter in it, would choose a bigger but plain chocolate bar. But there’s nothing to really gather from that. You can then ask the subjects why the picked it, but even then you’re not sure if that’s really why or if the subjects just “think” that’s why. It goes on and on and eventually you realize nothing in psychology can be reliably repeated. That’s why other sciences don’t accept it.

    That DOES NOT mean it’s not valuable. The medical community uses psychology all the time to help with understanding patients, and even medicine itself comes in colors and sizes that have been determined by psychological experiments to increase a patient’s belief that it will work better (hint – people like bright colors and small pills). It just means it’s not accepted as a “true” science.

    It’s not the only one, either. All the “social” sciences are lumped into this category. Sociology, Geography, Political Science, Archaelogy, Anthropology, History, and Linguistics are all subjects that use scientific methods but are not true sciences.

    That is why if someone graduates with a degree in any of these fields, like psychology or archaelogy, their degree is a Bachelor of Arts, and not a Bachelor of Science.

    Edit Based on Asker’s Response: You’re right! I didn’t know that. I guess that’s part isn’t a valid argument for either case. I just read you can get a BSc for Hotel Management and Tourism, so certainly the BA vs. BS thing doesn’t help it either way. Good catch!

  • Psychology is a science which concerns itself with the study of behavior, both human and animal, and therefore interrelates with other disciplines such as philosophy, biology and sociology. In the minds of most though, psychology is connected with the treatment of mental disorders (clinical psychology) or assisting the resolution of relationship problems (counselling psychology). Few realized that as the study of human and animal interaction involves how these organisms perceive the world around them and how they react to these perceptions, this interaction may be observed in all areas of human activity. The areas of investigation for psychologist are therefore vast and varied as illustrated by the many specialized fields of psychology open for study, such as: Organizational Psychology, Environmental Psychology, Educational Psychology, Forensic Psychology and Sports Psychology.

    Psychologists therefore search for answer to the question why. From this research they develop theories of human functioning, often developing new approaches to current knowledge. From this perspective it can be seen that both normal and abnormal behavior are the psychologists domain.

    Although psychology is a comparatively young science it is not static, it is growing all the time and influencing other disciplines, particularly those discipline which tended to place less importance on human interaction elements, such as: Engineering, Management and the Law.

    However the cornerstone of psychological practice still revolves around the examination and treatment of mental and emotional problems whatever the trigger or area of concern. Be it stress related to the working environment, trauma or shock following a catastrophic life event or the development of a particular form of mental illness such as schizophrenia. Here from research, whether independently or within a multidisciplinary team, the psychologist attempts to offer answers and formulate treatment methods.

  • Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. They use the scientific method to collect data and analyze data using statistics, in the same way they do in the natural sciences. For example, in physics they determined that gravity is 9.8 m/s squared in a vacuum, which removes all variables such as air resistance. The problem with social sciences is that it is difficult to remove all the variables of human beings, which include every experience they have ever had. So in that way it is not possible to predict in every circumstance how one person will react.

    When most people thing about psychology, they think of social psych. But other branches of psych are much more “scientific”, such as cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, and psychopharmacology. These directly explore the relationship of the brain to behaviors, such as memory. In many respects, these branches of psychology overlap with biology.

    Source(s): *BS* in Psych
  • Well it’s my second week of college as a Freshman taking up Psychology and my first lesson that I have read in my notes is that Psychology IS in fact a science since it uses the Scientific method…. the scientific method involves 4 simple procedures..

    1. Ask a problem question

    2. Find a hypothesis

    3. Gather around data

    4. Organize the data to be able to solve the problem question

    and that is what I have learned. Tomorrow is my 4th day in college so..

    i’m not saying that this is true, but this is what I have learned from my new

    textbook..

    CHEERS! =D

    Source(s): just started college majoring in Psychology!
  • It is a science, albeit a soft science. Unlike other fields, it’s harder to test theories and such, and very difficult to establish control groups. Most people at least consider it a science, but because it’s so hard to verify things for certain in psychology, there’s disagreement as to whether it’s a real science.

  • Yes psychology is a science. it is the science of the studying the brain.It is the science of looking into things from other people’s mind.

    Source(s): Im not brain dead
  • Yes…there are many science related aspects in it….psychology literally means scientific study of mental functions.

  • I definatly believe its a science. Its a study of “why people behave the way they do”.

  • It’s only an “argument” to the uninformed.

    Psychology is, without a doubt, a science. There are no even remotely intelligent arguments to the contrary.

    ~Dr. B.~

    Source(s): Ph.D. in Psychology

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