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The Psych deals with person as person: psychology entails understanding the underlying mechanisms in which produce human behavior, consciousness, perception, and sensation. The goal of psychology is to understand why humans respond to external or internal stimuli in a particular way. Many psychologists would agree that "research takes place within the context of Philosophy (Nemeroff & Craighead, 2004, p.750). There are various disciplines within the field of psychology including biological psychology, neuropsychology,social psychology, and physiological psychology that attempts to answer why humans behavior the way they do? It has less to do with the spiritual aspect of human behavior & nature. How can Psychology be considered a science when it deals also with that which is not scientific: i.e. behavior ? My understanding is that their are subdivisions of psychology that attempt to explain human phenomena and conscious aware that humans are innately are born inherited. It takes vigorous testing and experimentation in attempt to explain human behavior and our ability to consciously aware of ourselves(conscious X^2)(Carlson,2003). In addition to understanding the complexity of human behavior; psychology also attempts to understand abnormal behavior through observation,experimental, and bio-psychological psychology. Also, psychology seeks to find therapeutic interventions in which help ameliorate those that suffer from mental illness. Vigorous research and experimentation is conducted in order to find clinical interventions that enable individuals to successfully cope with their psychology/psychiatric disorder(s). It is worthy are psychology and psychiatry are intertwined; meaning that you most psychological illness are related to same physiological or neurochemical abnormalities (Craighead & Nemeroff,2004). Therefore, mental health treatments should include both psychiatric treatments in adjunct with psychological interventions. (. (I.e. I understand it to be scientific only in its relation to studying mental functions (the neurological, aspect, the brain etc.) while I would leave the study of behavior to a different paradigm) Thanks. Alan347 (talk) 19:19, 3 June 2010 (UTC) Please i'm not so sure of this.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:31, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

The scientific method can be used as long as you are able to measure/quantify what you're studying. Behaviour can be measured, meaning that the scientific method can be applied to it. Zorander22 (talk) 15:43, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

The scientific method is a tool often used while performing science. Use of the scientific method does not make something a science though. Let me give an example:

Ask a Question: Do the number of babies born with a particular astrological sign control gay rights during that year?


Babies born during 2003

      Aries    334,893   8.19%
     Taurus    347,647   8.50%
     Gemini    348,053   8.51%
     Cancer    342,726   8.38%
        Leo    381,064   9.32%
      Virgo    363,278   8.88%
      Libra    349,643   8.55%
    Scorpio    345,045   8.44%
Sagittarius    312,977   7.65%
  Capricorn    314,750   7.70%
   Aquarius    327,456   8.01%
     Pisces    322,418   7.88%

      Total  4,089,950 100.00%

Same sex ruling says that anti-same-sex marriage laws are unconstitutional in Massachusetts.

Hypothesis: From the data it appears that a higher birth rate of Leos causes better same-sex civil rights.

Report: I am reporting this to you.

Retest: You are free to retest my results with your own data.

^ This doesn't mean that astrology is a science, even though it uses the scientific method. I haven't seen anything that convinces me that psychology meets the definition of science. (talk) 18:06, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Although I attempted to explain why your example is horribly flawed and would never be considered scientific by either psychologists or any other scientist, the talk page of wikipedia articles is not for philosophical debates. Please keep comments related to the content of the article. -Nicktalk 21:21, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand; so every books are wrong when they says that is a science? ps: as soon as possible i will write the title of these manuals (if if it is not against the rules, but I don't think so) Psico pp (talk) 11:12, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Psychology is not an absolutely a science. Wikipedia's definition of a science is a systematic way of building and organizing knowledge in testable ways. If you have ever done psychological research you would know this is a valid definition. However, the third variable is a common confound in psychology and that is why most research is correlational not causation. However, the same can be said of many physical science paradigms such as the theory of electron orbitals or evolution. Those things can't be "proven" but are the fields that study them any less scientific? I say no and I say psychology is a science. * This is my first post ever so I hope I didn't step on any toes (noob :) ) Zzaffuto118 (talk) 20:29, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

There is a ton of experimental research in psychology. It's not the case that most of it is correlational. The difficulty of clean measurement in behavioral science has made it one of the most rigorous fields there are. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:25, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

I think it`s im important to note somewhere, best the beginning, that the question if psychology really is science is debated, could f.e. be used as a source. I disagree with the poster above saying things that cant be proven are still scientific, first of all, the examples are very questionable, e.g. i do no understand the problem with electron orbitals, since they are simply the solution to the Schrödingerequation and that they are is mathematically proveable. Also orbitals can be shown experimentally via effects concerning them. The evolution example also doesn`t work either, since it`s a scientific theory, that is based on fossil evidence but still is not considered the "whole truth", just think of the relativley new field of epigenetics, proving how classical evolution theory was wrong in some regards (there is an influence of the enviroment on genes of a human an this influence can be inherited. Well I´m not saying the article should say that it is not a science, though one can very well argue that, since beeing able to prove something is highly important and even some physic fields-like string theory- have to make a hard point arguing they are still science,smth may be proveable in a specific mathematical set up but it may very well never be proveable that this set up really discribes realtiy. Therefore I would say that the article shouldn`t call it science or not, but should mention the debate about it. I find this especially important since psychologist are described as "social, behavioral, or cognitive scientist" in the beginning. Can a homeopath also call himself a scientist? OK, there is a differnce in plausibility since homeopathy has none, though again debatable for some psychological ideas, but both share the common ground that physical evidence can not be given, though in psychologys case with advanced techniques and biological and physical knowhow it may very well be prooveable some day. One can argue that is the day it truely science. But this is not soemthing that should be included in an wikipedia, the existing debate about science or not is in my opinion. TP (talk) 15:47, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

This is a pretty poor argument. Lets start with the definition of Science from a dictionary (oxford dictionary).

"The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment:"

As you can see, branches of Psychology that do not study the physical world are not science at all. That leaves us with the parts of psychology that are quantitative, such as mice going through mazes (quantitative psychology) and neuro-psychology. In order to follow the scientific method, all observations must be objective. A confidence interval for statistical analysis must reasonably exceed chance (to the minimum requirement of 3 standard deviations) to be scientific (objective). Psychology fails here, with no observations over 95% CI (two standard deviations). So, psychology sits between gay conversion therapy (not science) and psycho-biological dysfunction (pseudoscience). As long as Psychology contains not-science at all, it's probably wrong to call the whole "science" anyway. A better choice is to call it simply a "social science where appropriate". Flyingducks (talk) 10:49, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Misuse of sources[edit]

the second half of the section labeled "Criticism" is not supported by citations

A request for comments has been filed concerning the conduct of Jagged 85 (talk · contribs). Jagged 85 is one of the main contributors to Wikipedia (over 67,000 edits, he's ranked 198 in the number of edits), and practically all of his edits have to do with Islamic science, technology and philosophy. This editor has persistently misused sources here over several years. This editor's contributions are always well provided with citations, but examination of these sources often reveals either a blatant misrepresentation of those sources or a selective interpretation, going beyond any reasonable interpretation of the authors' intent. I searched the page history, and found 2 edits by Jagged 85 in July 2007 and 4 more edits in January 2008. Tobby72 (talk) 22:08, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

That's an old and archived RfC. The point is still valid though, and his contribs need to be doublechecked. Tobby72 (talk) 21:08, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the alert. There is only one reference to Ibn Al-Haytham in psychinfo, it says: "Persian scholar Ibn al-Haytham ('Alhazen') has rightly been credited with many advances in optics and vision science, but recent spurious claims that he is the 'founder of psychophysics' rest upon unsupported assertions, a conflation of psychophysics with the wider discipline of psychology, and semantic arguments over what it is to 'found' a school of thought." Aaen-Stockdale, Craig "Last but not least: Ibn Al-Haytham and psychophysics." Perception, Vol 37(4), 2008, 636-638. doi:10.1068/p5940 -- (talk) 09:22, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
How should be cover Ibn Al-Haytham's contribution to optics. Do we need to cover the recent controversy over whether or not he "founded" psychophysics and contributed to psychology more generally? I should have checked this earlier. How should we cover ethe contribution of Islamic physicians to psychology? This is the text that was removed pending a check: [1] ----Action potential discuss contribs 09:47, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
I also personally found claims about the contributions of Islamic scholars by certain Wikipedia editors to be overblown, and, upon checking facts and sources, to be an extreme stretch to say the least. It really looked like an agenda taking precedence over accuracy and quality in the article. There are literally hundreds of figures in the history of science and philosophy for whom a good argument could be made as to their important influence in psychology. We need to exclude the vast majority and include only those who are indeed most centrally important for such a general article as this. -DoctorW 22:32, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Just to mention that there is a comment at Talk:Visual perception#Misusing of refs by Famousdog (talk · contribs) that he once provided a reference to show that Ibn al-Haytham did not found psychophysics.
All the best. –Syncategoremata (talk) 23:37, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Line two reads "and its ultimate aim is to benefit society" and is referenced as "Coon D; Mitterer JO (2008). Introduction to psychology: Gateways to mind and behavior (12th ed., pp. 15–16). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning." That book is a text book. The actual quote came from Harold F. O'Neil[2] and is currently part of the mission statement of the American Psychological Association which can be retrieved from [3].

You're absolutely right. See this link to view my attempt to fix the problem. Thanks for pointing that out! Cosmic Latte (talk) 16:57, 20 October 2010 (UTC)


I wonder if Psychiatry should be linked or discussed in the article somewhere. It may be covered in the subarticle Clinical_psychology#Psychiatry. -- (talk) 11:24, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Absolutely. Some of the most important contributors to psychology (from Carl Jung to Aaron Beck) have been psychiatrists. Also the distinction between psychologists and psychiatrists is often quite unclear to the general public--and this seems like a good place to clarify it for them. Cosmic Latte (talk) 19:26, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
If Psychiatry is to be discussed, I do think that care needs to be taken in noting the distinction between the two, as psychiatry is a field of medicine, while psychology is a field of scientific study. Sn0rison (talk) 22:36, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Psychiatry is its own field with its own specific is not just a form of clinical psychology. Zzaffuto118 (talk) 20:31, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree. SylvesterSherman (talk) 06:14, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Employment statistics[edit]

This article [4] gives a good overview of the employment of psychologists in the USA. 152,000 psychologists are employed in clinical, counseling, and school positions, 2300 are employed in industrial-organisational, and 15,900 in "all-other" positions. It would be great to include the typical educational requirements, job prospects, and average wages for the various options in applied psychology. I think the current article could cover this in general. ----Action potential talkcontribs 02:51, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

This is an article about psychology, not about psychologists. So I will move your section to psychologist. Lova Falk talk 08:13, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
This is article is not about psychologists but it is does cover the application of psychology. We should mention where psychology is typically applied. I put this in the intro section replacing the existing applications and scope: "While psychological knowledge is typically concerned with the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, it is also applied to understanding and solving problems in various spheres of human activity. The vast majority of psychologists are involved in clinical, counseling, and school positions, some are employed in the industrial-organisational setting, and other areas"... Based on the stats, clinical psychology (assessment and treatment of psychological disorders) is by far the most common application of psychology. Org-psych is tiny in comparison. What about the application of psychology by non-psychologists? ie. those who complete courses in psychology but do not go on to complete a doctoral degree? Some go into HR, sales and management positions. Read the this article[5] ----Action potential talkcontribs 04:41, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
Hi Action potential! I think your lines in "Application and scope" are relevant and well written. Lova Falk talk 16:12, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
Hi. I was worried that I removed some sub-fields in that section. So I put them back in. Could you take another look at that section and make sure the language is ok? ----Action potential talkcontribs 03:16, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Absolutely fine. Thank you for asking! Lova Falk talk 09:06, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Forgetting curve[edit]

A typical representation of the forgetting curve

I removed the forgetting curve and put it here so it can easily be put back in - if necessary. Lova Falk talk 10:34, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Gestalt psychology and history[edit]

I have two questions. The first concerns the accuracy of the following sentence in the Gestalt psychology section: "This approach to psychology began in Germany and Austria during the late 19th century in response to the molecular approach of structuralism."

1. Is Titchener's structuralism similar enough to the structuralism of de Sassure's or Lévi-Strass's that it should to be lumped with those two? De Sassure and Lévi-Strauss (and Piaget) are often thought of when one speaks of structuralism. I am not sure Titchener's introspectionist psychology belongs with the structuralism of de Sassure or Lévi-Strass. Titchener is not mentioned in the Wikipedia article on structuralism, although that article needs work. I think Titchener's structuralism is qualitatively different.

2. I noticed an internal link to structuralism under the history section, when Wundt is mentioned. Is it accurate to call Wundt a structuralist (although Titchener among others trained at Leipzig)? I don't think so.

Perhaps some of the contributors who are more knowledgeable about these historical questions can respond, and do the editing if called for. Thanks.Iss246 (talk) 14:19, 23 June 2010 (UTC)


Shouldn't psychology be labelled a pseudoscience rather than a science? (talk) 16:32, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

I can't tell if you are trolling or being serious, so I will give you the benefit of the doubt here, but will keep it brief. The answer to your question is no. Psychology is a basic and applied behavioral science. It is a mainstream scientific discipline studied at most if not all of the major world universities. Psychologists are often some of the strongest critics of pseudo-scientific thinking. There were incorrect and even bizarre ideas claimed early in the discipline's history, but that is the case in the history of nearly all sciences. A scientific discipline can be recognized by whether or not incorrect ideas are retained or scrapped when they are challenged by evidence. Psychology has unequivocally sided with the latter. Osubuckeyeguy (talk) 22:32, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Psychology should be labeled as pseudo-science unless references to scientific confirmation of all its subtheories are provided. In particular, the article cites dream interpretation as part of the "science". Please provide a reference to falsifiable evidence supporting that theory. Adam Sikora
The article appears to mention no universally accepted psychological facts or laws and refers to six quite distinct "schools". This is quite different from the situation in most sciences where there is a consensus over the main body of facts and laws and disagreement only over details. Isn't this closer to the situation in astrology and alternative medicine than that in astronomy and biology? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:47, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
See psychophysics for examples of scaling laws. See string theory for counter-examples to your claims about scientific consensus. Kiefer.Wolfowitz (talk) 15:12, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
Schools of psychology were simply different ways of thinking about what the "mind" is (a topic too abstract for any science to achieve consensus). You'll notice they are a part of the History section. The actual scientific findings of psychology are too numerous to mention in one place, which is why there is a list of sub-fields of psychology. Within those articles are hundreds of examples of consistently and scientifically observed psychological principles and effects. Keep in mind that unlike biology, chemistry and physics, psychology's primary interests involve the thoughts feelings and behaviors of humans, which are wildly inconsistent.-Nicktalk 17:00, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
In fact, since the comparison was made between psychology and physics, I went and looked at that page. I don't see a list of universally accepted facts of physics there either. For those of that know at least some physics, I do see pointers towards, and mention of, accepted physical facts, such as E = mc2 (in the box at the top), lightning is an electric current, etc (actually, many of the best examples are in the figure captions). Similarly, when those who know at least some psychology look at the main text of the psychology article, they will see things like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the stages of memory, etc. These are generally agreed upon principles within their domains of psychology. The complaint about domains is no more relevant here than it is in physics: In the same way that physics can be broken down into many sub-fields, with distinct areas of investigation and distinct methods, psychology can (and should) also be broken down into distinct sub-fields, with distinct areas of investigation and methods. In the case of psychology, these sub-fields are also generally tied to different historical antecedents, so Schwnj's comments above are correct. And, as in physics, the links between certain concepts within different subfields are still unclear. Certain phenomena like wave/particle duality (not to pretend for a second that *that's* completely settled!) within physics fit within quantum mechanics, but are also believed to be linked to cosmological phenomena at the largest levels. However, there is no grand unified theory (GUT) and so the findings are not entirely integrated. Similarly, questions of self-fulfillment and personality are appropriate to discuss within certain time-scales and certain frameworks of the individual's mental life. Other things, like how people remember and forget are appropriate within a cognitive framework. Psychologists believe in some way that the two are related (for example, cognitive dissonance, wherein someone's memory is retrospectively colored by the choices they've made), but we are similarly far from a single psychological GUT. In the Kuhn/Popper vein, the key thing is experimental methods that permit falsifiability, and cumulative knowledge base. In this respect, psychology is no less a science than other fields. This is one place where psychology has made great progress in the past 50 years; the quantification of behavior. However, the complexity of the phenomena in question makes it substantially more difficult to run a single experiment that will completely and utterly falsify a particular theory. Despite these challenges, psychology, through the use of repeated experimentation, replication and linkages with other domains (like neuroscience and genetics) has built a large body of agreed upon facts, a larger body of agreed upon phenomena with more controversial interpretations, and an even larger set of research questions. Given that Popper and Kuhn were writing more than 40 years ago, their opinions of psychology at the time do not necessarily reflect the current state of psychology today - bearing in mind that psychology has been around as a topic of investigation for about 120 years, maybe 150 years max, this means that a substantial proportion of the history of psychology has occurred after these classic philosophers of science wrote anything about psychology. Edhubbard (talk) 17:46, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
One of my lecturers (in history and philosophy of science: distinguishing science from pseudoscience) made the argument that psychology exhibits characteristics of pseudoscience. One the the examples he used was EMDR and cited Popper's and Bunge's criterion for distinguishing science from pseudoscience. Critically, EMDR adherents (typically psychologists) use ad hoc maneuvers to avoid refutation and continue to practice it despite its failure in empirical testing.[6] "From this Popperian [3] perspective, Herbert et al. (2000) have accused Francine Shapiro and other EMDR advocates of practicing pseudoscience. According to these critics, EMDR mavens do not behave like real scientists, who, according to Popperian dogma, derive bold conjectures from their theories and then relentlessly seek theoretical refutation by exposing these conjectures to risky empirical tests." According to McNally, EMDR (and many other what he calls "wacky therapies") continues to be advocated and used by those with Ph.Ds in clinical psychology despite lack of empirical validation. If EMDR remains popular with clinical psychologists (in clinical training and practice) and clinical psychology is a paradigmatic subfield of psychology. Then, some parts of psychology exhibits characteristics of pseudoscience. This is based on the premise the psychology is defined by what psychologists do. After setting up this argument the lecturer admitted that the term pseudoscience in clinical psychology is inflammatory and hotly debated (see Richard NcNally's article: [7]). Returning the to EMDR example, even if pseudoscience is often practiced in clinical psychology and promoted by those with Ph.Ds in clinical psychology it does not necessarily make psychology a pseudoscience. The term pseudoscience is thrown around in debate over sociobiology and evolutionary psychology to dismiss opponent theories. It really does not add much to the debate there except to raise emotions which is a logical fallacy by itself. Similarly, calling psychology or one of its subfields or theories pseudoscientific adds little to the debate. Its little more than emotive name-calling. NcNally argues that rather than dismissing a theory or practice as pseudoscience (or an individual theorist as pseudoscientist), we should ask its adherents, How do you know it works? What is the empirical evidence for it? ----Action potential talkcontribs 08:54, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
This seems more trolling/political than completely earnest. Most people label psychology a science or social science, so it would be uncharacteristically aggressive to label at pseudoscience. But I strongly believe the Criticisms section should make the case for psychology being a pseudoscience much stronger. The issue is not that hypothesis tests get misused, for example. Criticisms run much deeper than that and the article fails to reflect that. E.g. the use of hypothesis testing at all as taught to doctoral students is controversial to anyone who knows math or stat. (talk) 17:59, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

(undent) AP, your comments made me think of two books that I like quite a lot by Michael Shermer, The Borderlands of Science and Why People Believe Weird Things. In WPBWT he talks about the famous N ray example, and how people within physics believed that a new form of radiation had been identified for a period. He describes many of the things that made N rays somewhat questionable, what made smart people believe them, and how eventually they were shown to not exist. I think that the lesson here is not that a scientific enterprise never has a dead-end (even one believed by many people) but rather that there is a method for eventually replicating and verifying results from a field, and failing that, to purge them from the field. Physics has its stories like the N rays, or more recently, failed attempts at cold fusion, but nobody takes such false starts and says, "physics isn't a science!" because of them. Somehow, people seem much more willing to suggest that psychology isn't a science because of false starts like EMDR and the fact that a group of clinicians refuse to accept the evidence against it. Edhubbard (talk) 10:12, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

I think that many people are willing to suggest that psychology is not a science due to significant differences in the practice and practical tools that psychology has produced in comparison to sciences such as physics and chemistry. There is not a single profound or remarkably useful tool that psychology has produced, and those who identify as psychologists have fantastic disagreements as to basic definitions used in the discipline. The evidence for, and the practical uses of, modern psychological tools is not on the level of a nuclear reactor, photovoltaic cells, differential equations, or an internal combustion engine; it is on the level of herbal medicine: there may be significant effects, but those researching them do not possess the mathematical models or computational tools to provide proof as to the causation of any observed effects. (talk) 14:21, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm coming into this conversation a bit late, but I'm in the middle. I agree with the general consensus that calling psychology in blanket form a pseudo-science is too aggressive. But I think the criticisms section does a nice job of noting the weaknesses of psychology, even vis-a-vis other fields, and of course there has been some discussion of this now in the literature (e.g. Simmons et al., 2011) as well. I think though, the willingness of psychologists themselves to discuss weaknesses in their field sets it aside from pseudo-science. I think that's why we have the designation of "soft science" or "social science"...its distinct from the "hard sciences" but not blatantly pseudo-scientific either. Avalongod (talk) 16:17, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

All major orginizations consider psychology a science! Leavesteps789 (talk) 04:14, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

There has been some recently published research indicating psychology may in fact have some of the hallmarks of a pseudoscience, I would strongly consider adding to Category:Pseudoscience if this can be confirmed on a larger scale. 3AlarmLampscooter (talk) 06:32, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
That's a horrible misunderstanding and misapplication of an article that primarily focuses on (a) the relationships between p-value, effect size, and sample size especially in smaller studies and (b) publication bias favoring studies with larger (and perhaps overestimated) effect sizes. ElKevbo (talk) 08:33, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
I can't argue there is anything close L. Ron Hubbard levels of pseudoscience occurring, but I think (a) and (b) taken together reflect poorly on the scientific integrity of the field. 3AlarmLampscooter (talk) 16:54, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

The American Psychological Association is the largest and oldest Psychology body, yet it refuses to discipline it's members who participate in torture, nor discipline psychology institutions engaged in torture. Psychiatry has also been accused of systemic torture by the UN. Psychology still supports gay conversion therapy, a concept legitimatized by certain religious groups. While one could argue the organizations themselves are corrupt, Psychology itself is not a member of the Natural Sciences, and yet all reputable dictionaries define Science as "the study of the natural world". If Psychology identifies itself as a "Hard Science" instead of a "Soft Science"; isn't that the difference between Economics and Creationism? Just a few thoughts. --Flyingducks (talk) 07:47, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

"Invitation to edit" trial[edit]

It has been proposed at Wikipedia talk:Invitation to edit that, because of the relatively high number of IP editors attracted to Psychology, it form part of a one month trial of a strategy aimed at improving the quality of new editors' contributions to health-related articles. It would involve placing this:

You can edit this page. Click here to find out how.

at the top of the article, linking to Template:Invitation_to_edit/tutorial about MEDRS sourcing, citing and content, as well as basic procedures, and links to help pages. Your comments regarding the strategy are invited at the project talk page, and comments here, regarding the appropriateness of trialling it on this article, would be appreciated. Anthony (talk) 11:49, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

The list of articles for the trial is being reconsidered, in light of feedback from editors, and should be ready in a day or two. If you have any thoughts about the Invitation to edit proposal, they would be very welcome at the project talk page. Anthony (talk) 14:35, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure that I understand the proposal fully, but regardless (FWIW), I'm opposed to any measure (other than page-protection against rampant vandalism) that would restrict the editing privileges of anonymous editors. A lot of them are good-samaritan readers (and often, I suspect, otherwise-busy experts on an article's topic) who are just "dropping by". They are not going to have the patience to play some bureaucratic training game, and they are not going to feel at all welcomed into the WP community, and therefore will be unlikely to "drop by" for longer periods of time. I maintain that any effort (except for those in response to blatant policy/guideline violations) to promote article quality at the expense of editor satisfaction violates the communal spirit of Wikipedia. This is an encyclopedia, yes, but it isn't just any encyclopedia. There are other encyclopedias out there, and their editors can demand maximal perfection--in minimal time--to their hearts' content. But WP is a constant work in progress. There are no "final drafts". And just try going to Britannica and declaring yourself their newest editor. Once again, WP is different; and since it has the opportunity to bring together an enormous and diverse community of thinkers, should it not seize that opportunity at every chance it gets? If new editors make mistakes, then established editors can correct those mistakes, give the new editors some direction and advice, and potentially set them on the path to becoming established editors themselves. I believe that the fancy, technical term for all of this is, "helping one another out". I didn't write this on the project talk page, because I don't want to stir up the pot. Trials can be informative and fun, and at least they start out as temporary. And perhaps I've entirely misunderstood the proposal or its point. But I hope that this article will not among those that get "tested". It would be ironic if the privilege to think and behave as new editors were limited on the article about the discipline that studies thinking and behaving. Psychology is there for people, and people are there for psychology (e.g., it was the most popular major at the university I went to, and that university is not even well-known for its psychology department). To apply this trial here would challenge not only the spirit of Wikipedia, but also that of psychology. So, I oppose this article's inclusion in the trial... if, that is, I actually understand the suggested trial. If I don't, then, me out! :-) Cosmic Latte (talk) 19:20, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I've only just seen this. Yes, you have completely misunderstood the idea, but that's because I explained it poorly. The point is to make it easier for people to make their first edit, to convert more readers to editors. I'm dismayed by the scorching of new, good-faith editors I see everywhere on Wikipedia. It kept me away for three years. The invitation to edit is meant to welcome them in, not scare them off, and arm them with a few tips that will help their first edits stick.

As someone who has just began editing I can personally say that wikipedia shouldn't make it easier for anonymous users to edit as its already incredibly easy to become a registered user. Also, if you are planning on making edits to wikipedia you should have an account. Wikipedia is already highly vulnerable to vandalism and this proposal could seriously exacerbate the problem. However, hypothesis are worthless without tests so I support a one month trial... whats the worst that could happen, a little extra vandalism? Then in the future wikipedia would know not to extend these privileges. Zzaffuto118 (talk) 20:39, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Type of page to test on has become complex: high/low vandalism, high/low volume of good faith first-timers, etc., etc., so I'm giving it a rest and letting it gestate. I'm trialling it at Pain for now and it's had no visible effect; but that's a really stable article. I thought I'd put it on something quiet and stable for its first outing, and nothing has exploded. Sorry about my crappy explanation, making it sound like a hoop for new editors to jump through. If you can think of anything that would make it less ring of fire and more Jacuzzi, let me know. Anthony (talk) 17:42, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

3RR, changes in intro[edit]

Hello. I don't appreciate being reverted without any clues but I do appreciate comments in an edit summary that I can understand, like Edhubbard's here. What I see is an endlessly long list of users who reverted and myself. Can you please figure out a way to define psychology without calling it a science in the first sentence? Doing so in the second sentence was my thought. -SusanLesch (talk) 22:59, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Would suggest incorporating somehow from: "How does the APA define "psychology"? Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience — from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged. In every conceivable setting from scientific research centers to mental health care services, "the understanding of behavior" is the enterprise of psychologists." at [8], and adding a citation. --Funandtrvl (talk) 23:16, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure that using strict etymology as the authoritative definition of a word is a good idea. FYI, from the full version of the Oxford English Dictionary:
1. The study or consideration of the soul or spirit. Cf. PNEUMATOLOGY n. 1. Now rare (in later use chiefly in etymologizing contexts).
2. a. The scientific study of the nature, functioning, and development of the human mind, including the faculties of reason, emotion, perception, communication, etc.; the branch of science that deals with the (human or animal) mind as an entity and in its relationship to the body and to the environmental or social context, based on observation of the behaviour of individuals or groups of individuals in particular (ordinary or experimentally controlled) circumstances. Freq. with preceding distinguishing word, as animal, child, comparative, experimental, folk, social psychology, etc.: for established compounds see the first element. b. The psychological aspects of an event, activity, phenomenon, etc., esp. considered as a subject for study. c. The psychological outlook or set of mental characteristics of an individual or group. d. Understanding of or insight into the psychological motivation of human behaviour; the practical implementation of this in interactions with others.
3. A psychological treatise; a study of the mind or (formerly) the soul; (in later use esp.) a particular system or theory of psychology (sense 2a).
Looking at the definition, #1 refers to what Susan is advocating for, but the OED states that this is now a rare definition. The second definition is in line with what was originally in the article. -Nicktalk 23:44, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
I should also add that I take issue with Susan's desire to define psychology "without calling it a science in the first sentence." What possible justification is there for this position? This sounds like a matter of POV to me, especially in light of the above definition and general acceptance of psychology as a science. (Stop right there--I didn't say EVERYONE thinks or behaves as if it is a science; rather, other scientific organizations regard it as a science, and it's method of knowledge creation relies on the scientific method.) -Nicktalk 23:49, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Since I changed what Susan wrote, it is evident that I also take issue with her defining psychology "without calling it a science in the first sentence." Science is in the foreground. It is generally accepted that psychology is a science. I don't limit my remark to psychologists who conduct basic research. Applied psychology is built on a scientific foundation.Iss246 (talk) 00:25, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I take issue with certain know-it-alls here but I would like to thank you all for trying. When I was in school, psychology was a bachelor of art (see here). It's quite amusing to see the field take itself this seriously, after only a hundred years. To others: good luck changing this article (everyone here is quite invested in it). Take care. -SusanLesch (talk) 00:40, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm a research psychologist, not a know-it-all. I don't think there is a place for name-calling here in the Wikipedia talk page. No one who commented on this page called Susan a name. I think you owe us an apology on that account. The contributors to the psychology page take the field seriously.

I add this comment about the bachelor of arts degree. Getting a bachelor of arts degree in psychology does not justify calling psychology something less than a science. It is good thing that we are "invested in the article." It is part of our efforts to do the best possible job in describing psychology to the reader. Iss246 (talk) 01:31, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

You have my apology, Iss246. -SusanLesch (talk) 01:34, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Methinks we're having a bit too much fun with etymology (if such a thing is even possible). Allow me, if you will, to join in the excitement:

  1. Yes, the Greek psykhe does mean "spirit" or "soul". And there is a branch of psychology (called archetypal psychology) that does treat psychology as a soul-centered discipline. While I'm fascinated by this branch, I admit that it comprises enough of a minority of psychology that it ought not to define psychology as a whole. And depth psychologists would agree: Most psychologists do not construe the discipline in such a way. Depth psychologists see a problem here, but they do not see a falsity. To define all of psychology solely according to the literal Greek is to define the field too narrowly.
  2. Yes, the Greek logia does mean "study of". And psychology is a study. But if we want to call it just a study, then we might as well inform the vast majority of clinical and counseling psychologists that they're the victims of some vast conspiracy to undermine psychology by diluting it with mere (*GASP*) practitioners! Guess they'd better get off their comfy cussions, stop applying psychological research to the promotion of health and happiness, and head on down to the happy little lab. Psychology is both academic and applied, both a study and a practice. And it's also an art. If my problem is that people don't seem to like me, and if a counselor tells me that my situation might change for the better if I stop telling everyone I meet that their mother was a hamster and their father smelt of elderberries, then the counselor is not applying any research (I assume that the social effects of said insult have yet to be studied formally, and so quite naturally should be the stuff of "future research". ;-)), but rather has decided that the best response to my current situation is to apply the folk wisdom that one should not be a total imbecile if one wishes to make friends. No science involved there. Psychology is at times scientific and at times a study, but it is not necessarily the intersection of the two.

So. Academic, applied, scientific (often), a study (often), a practice (often), soul-oriented (literally). All of the foregoing terms characterize a noteworthy portion of psychology, no? If nothing else, it's nuanced and comprehensive. So, please permit me to make the bold and brave suggestion that we define it in a (surprise!) nuanced and comprehensive manner. Without further ado, I will introduce... (*drum roll*) the nuanced and comprehensive definition that had been there in the first place:

Psychology is an academic and applied discipline that involves the scientific study of human or animal mental functions and behaviors.

To those who don't find this definition "science-y" enough, pay careful attention to the Wikilinked word, "applied". The old definition has the honour of calling psychology a science twice! So, any thoughts/objections/concessions regarding the restoration of that definition? Cosmic Latte (talk) 08:00, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I would also like to address Susan's comments about editors of this article being know-it-alls, that's far from the truth, at least in my case!! That being said, I'm more inclined to using some sort of paraphrasing of the 2nd definition from the Oxford Dictionary, especially for the opening line. Because the content of the article isn't supposed to be OR, something needs to be cited for the definition, and skirting the issue by not mentioning that psychology is a science (it is, in my view) may not be the best way to approach it. I surely agree that the wording needs to be discussed here on the talk page first, before being inserted into the article. I'm thinking that Susan's failure to obtain a consensus in the first place is the reason for her edits being reverted. --Funandtrvl (talk) 15:33, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Yep, I agree I should have tried this out on the talk page first. But I'm not the problem here really. I thought that simply moving the definition forward by inserting another would be non-controversial. And then in Google I found Cosmic Latte's old definition and added it. That too was my mistake, but I support that definition. Perhaps there is consensus here to make this change. -SusanLesch (talk) 16:08, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Psychology is an academic and applied discipline that involves the scientific study of human or animal mental functions and behaviors.
Even though I'm not yet sure whether the above line should be the opening sentence, my concern is that it needs a citation of some sort, to avoid being called Original Research. --Funandtrvl (talk) 18:30, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

After some thinking (or after something at least remotely resembling thinking), I'd like to suggest something like the following for the opening paragraph. First, so that you can see the citations:

  • '''Psychology''' is the [[science]] and [[art]]<ref name = "Evans">Evans AN; Rooney BJ (2008). ''Methods of psychological research''] (p. 6). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.</ref><ref name = "Plante">Plante TG (2005). [ ''Contemporary clinical psychology''] (p. 7). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.</ref><ref name = "Hilgard">Hilgard ER; Kelly EL; Luckey B; Sanford RN; Shaffer LF; Shakow D (1947). [ "Recommended graduate training program in clinical psychology: Report of the Committee on Training in Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association submitted at the Detroit meeting of the American Psychological Association, September 9-13".] ''Classics in the History of Psychology.'' York University. Retrieved 09 September, 2010.</ref> of explaining or affecting human [[mental process]]es or [[behavior]]s.<ref name = "USDOL">United States Department of Labor (2009). [''Occupational outlook handbook, 2009: An up-to-date guide to today's job market''] (pp. 215&ndash219). New York: Skyhorse Publishing.</ref> Its immediate goal is to understand humanity through a balance of [[nomothetic and idiographic]] study,<ref name = "Fernald">Fernald LD (2008). ''Psychology: Six perspectives'' (pp. 12–15). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.</ref> and its ultimate aim is to benefit the humanity that it has come to understand.<ref name = "Coon">Coon D; Mitterer JO (2008). ''Introduction to psychology: Gateways to mind and behavior'' (12th ed., pp. 15–16). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.</ref> In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is a [[psychologist]], which is a type of [[social sciences|social]] or [[behavioral sciences|behavioral scientist]]. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of [[mental function]]s in individual and [[social behavior]], while also exploring underlying [[Physiology|physiological]] and [[Neurology|neurological]] processes.

Now, here's what that will look like to the reader:

Here are what I believe to be some advantages of this version:

  1. The "science and art" designation has endured for quite some time. I deliberately provided references that span half a century, with the most recent being merely two years old.
  2. The focus on "explaining or affecting mental processes or behaviors" shows up quickly. I still like the old line that I advocated for above, but I think that that line does some conceptual meandering before it gets to the topical crux of the discipline. In contrast, the new suggestion gets right to the point--and does so in a comfortably rhythmic and symmetrical way (i.e., Psychology is the A and B that does C or D to E or F).
  3. It addresses psychological "study" in a generalized fashion that seems appropriate for the lead section. By specifying "nomothetic and idiographic", it indicates that "study" isn't just a synonym for "research", but rather denotes both the researcher's pursuits and the practitioner's spontaneous "study" of clients or patients. Admittedly, "nomothetic and idiographic" is a mouthful, and the terminology might need to be watered down a bit so early in the article. But, in any case, the current line about basic and applied research strikes one as at least a wee bit out of place, perhaps because it begs for specific examples, or because it already carries an outstanding specificity (i.e., it hones in on the research aspect of psychology--note that "applied research" does not denote the application of research, but rather the research that is meant to be so applied), which the "nomothetic and idiographic" approach avoids (i.e., it gives equal weight to nomothetic researchers and idiographic practitioners).
  4. It states psychology's goals. In other words, it indicates why psychology is important--why it's notable, you might say, and so deserves a WP article.
  5. The new lines are thoroughly sourced.

Any thoughts? Cosmic Latte (talk) 17:27, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

I will comment more later when I have some more time, but my first thought was honestly that this definition will sail right over people's heads. This is a very grand, inclusive definition--which isn't a bad thing; however, laypeople already have no idea what "psychology" really is, and I don't think that reading this introduction will clear anything up for the average reader. I'd like to advocate for something far simpler, using concrete, accessible terminology. I will think more and post later. -Nicktalk 20:18, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm certainly curious as to what else you'll say, but as a quick response to the above: Although I tried to simplify/summarize things as well as I could, I admit in retrospect that the suggested definition might be a bit... abstract in areas? IMO, the "sore-thumb" phrase is "nomothetic and idiographic"--terms that most folks will not have even heard of unless they've at least taken some advanced psychology courses (such as a "history/systems" class). I might suggest revising that line to something like, "Its immediate goal is to understand humanity by both discovering general principles and exploring specific cases." I'd thought of writing something like that in the first place, but I figured that a link to the nomothetic and idiographic article might be nice, and I couldn't come up with a way to simplify the link without creating a WP:EGG--i.e., a link with a "hidden" meaning, such as [[happiness|payday]] (hehe) or, in this case, [[nomothetic and idiographic|discovering general principles and exploring specific cases]]. Well, so much for a "quick" response... but in a nutshell, perhaps it would be worthwhile to sacrifice that wikilink in the name of simplicity? But other changes might be good, as well (or the one I just suggested might be bad), so I'll await your further comments before making [too many] further suggestions of my own. Cosmic Latte (talk) 13:21, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the "nomothetic and idiographic" phrase flew right over my head, and I have a Master's Degree (albeit, in business), if that means anything! Also, the word "affecting" either needs to be wikilinked or substituted, most people don't understand the difference between "affect" and "effect". Regarding the phrase: "In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is a psychologist", I keep wanting to put "is called a psychologist", but that may be redundant also. Lastly, I do like all the citations, thanks! --Funandtrvl (talk) 15:01, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Good point about affect/effect (it's right up there with your/you're and breath/breathe in my list of grammatical grr's). Well, I suppose it's true that psychology can both "affect" (i.e., change) and "effect" (i.e., create) cognitions and behaviours; but since only one of these meanings (change) is intended here, I just as well suppose it couldn't hurt to look for an alternative. The word "control" shows up in a lot of sources, but that word has a technical meaning in research, while in practice it could mean a variety of things. But I suspect that all confusion can be avoided simply by changing "affecting" to "changing". (Or how about, "Psychology affects affect by effecting affective effects"?* This assertion is both factually and grammatically correct, even if it's a little redundant. But the redundancy will just make things even clearer to the reader! ;-)) I also agree with you that "is called" should be added (well, restored, actually). After all, the phrase, "a professional practitioner or researcher is [called] a psychologist", has already said what a psychologist "is" by the time it reaches the word, "researcher"; the whole point of continuing on to the word, "psychologist" is to clarify that one who is a professional practitioner or researcher of psychology is also called a psychologist. Otherwise, the sentence might as well read, "In this field, professional practitioners and researchers exist." Cosmic Latte (talk) 16:58, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
* Ideally, of course, psychology affects affect by effecting effective affective effects!
What an "effective" sentence! Almost as good as the former "List of territorial disputes#Formally frozen dispute#Antarctica" section header! --Funandtrvl (talk) 17:50, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Haha.. That one literally made me laugh out loud. And thank you! :-) Cosmic Latte (talk) 18:00, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

WARNING: Potential case of WP:TLDR ahead! To add to the five advantages (above) that I see in (part of) my second suggestion over my first, I would suggest that the assertion in the first that psychology is "academic and applied" overlooks something that "science and art" does not. I don't deny that "academic and applied" reasonably characterizes professional psychology. But there are also amateur psychologists, just as there are, say, amateur astronomers. In its broadest sense, psychology involves certain ways of thinking and certain types of thoughts--ways and types that might be entertained by children as young as three years old. (A former professor of mine has done a lot of research on children's psychological and philosophical beliefs. I can't find any free, full-text examples of his work online, but I'd be glad to provide some references upon request.) Anyone who engages in metacognition, for example, is theorizing in at least a rudimentary way about at least one's own mind. In fact--as anybody who has studied autism will know--a reasonably coherent theory of mind may be required for basic social functioning. To provide an even more explicit example of "amateur psychology", consider that the layman's concept of "reverse psychology" involves at least an implicit understanding of a legitimate psychological phenomenon (i.e., reactance). One might say that "reverse psychology" is an amateur form of "applied psychology"--but it's not "applied science" if most "reverse psychologists" don't even know of the existence of (let alone the scientific evidence for) reactance. Disclaimer: The length of my talk-page ramblings about a topic is not indicative of the prominence in the article that I think a topic ought to hold. I'm not even sure that "amateur psychology" (or whatever most reliable sources call it) belongs in the article at all. My point is just that "science and art" is reasonably more inclusive than "academic and applied". At the same time, ironically, the terms "science" and "art" may be more accessible and attention-grabbing to the average reader than "academic" and "applied" would be. Anyway, sorry for babbling on and on in defense of a tiny phrase that's already backed up by multiple reliable, mainstream sources. I just like to share thoughts that stand at least a sliver of a chance of sparking some discussions or ideas that might, in turn, prompt article improvement. Cosmic Latte (talk)

Since nobody has objected to my revised suggestion, I'm going to go ahead and try it out in the article. However, so that I don't appear to be stepping on other editors' toes, I'm going to WP:1RR for a few days--i.e., if somebody reverts me, I'm not going to revert them back. Still, if others make particular suggestions or changes to my version, I'd be glad to continue to refine it piecemeal with them. Even though I've rambled a lot on talk, I don't want anyone to feel "drowned out" or ignored, and I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to WP:OWN the article (or the talk page, for that matter). It's just that--to paraphrase John Lennon--I've had something of a "diarrhea of ideas" these past few days. But if these ideas stink (sorry, I couldn't resist), I hope others will let me know through either discussion or reverting. Cosmic Latte (talk) 21:16, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

The current opening seems to have a strong point of view. Most of the citations explicitly mention clinical psychology in their description and are not very authoritative (i.e., representative of the field). This is not an article about clinical psychology, but rather general psychology. Considering that this definition is not shared outside of Wikipedia, it may also contain original research via an improper synthesis of material. In light of these considerations, I suggest we return to a more encyclopedic definition of psychology. razorbelle (talk) 21:28, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

I can see where you're coming from, and I realize that the citations for the "science and art" distinction are somewhat clinical-heavy (2:1) for an article on psychology in general. And I'll acknowledge the possibility that those extra citations could be overkill, but I should note that, at least for a tentative draft of that passage, I added those citations deliberately. The Evans and Rooney source is enough to verify the statement; that's a book on mainstream psychological research methods. I added the other two both for the sake of variety and in order to demonstrate that psychologists (of at least one branch) have characterized their field as "science and art" for quite some time now. As for psychology as a whole, one could cite Psychology as Science and Art by James Deese (1972) in addition to the more recent Evans and Rooney. This definition certainly exists both outside of Wikipedia and inside mainstream scholarship. Given its verifiability in reliable sources, its inclusion here becomes a matter of editorial discretion. And, IMHO anyway, "science and art" accounts for psychology as theory, research, and practice--whereas "scientific study" on its own doesn't really sound like something that a clinician does when counseling a client, nor does it readily bring to mind statistical meta-analysis, let alone the inductive synthesis that psychologists often perform in their theoretical or philosophical capacities. Take behaviorism, for example. "Artist" is probably not the first word that will come to people's minds when they think of B. F. Skinner (a long time ago I stumbled upon [9]: "'A poet writes a poem like a chicken lays an egg,' wrote Skinner, who could do neither")--and yet, Skinner's operant conditioning is applied with clinical discretion, and Skinner was perhaps as much a social philosopher (see Walden Two) as a psychologist. "Science" doesn't quite cover at all, and neither does "art", but the two in combination don't do all that bad a job. I would say, therefore, that to call psychology only a science or only an art would be considerably more "POV" than to call it a conjunction of the two. Cosmic Latte (talk) 23:03, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

I never meant to imply that no reliable source considers psychology an art, but rather illustrate that the overwhelming majority of authoritative definitions of the subject state that psychology is the science of behavior and the mind. Considering how relatively few sources can be found to support the former definition, it is inappropriate to include it in the opening sentence. Even if the reasons for including it are sound, our opinions on the matter are not relevant. Other psychology pages (including clinical psychology) make no mention of it. If that is the case, how can it be notable enough to be featured in the main article, let alone the lead? razorbelle (talk) 23:30, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Critique of "psykhe-logia"[edit]

A quick comment (maybe..) on the whole spirit/soul thing that started the whole preceding discussion: While searching for some sources earlier, I came across an essay that might be of some interest to those who are at least intrigued by the notion of "psychology" in its etymologically literal sense. The essay comprises Chapter 12 of this book. Overall, citations of this material would be more appropriate in Holistic education (definitely), Spirituality (probably), Education (perhaps), or Developmental psychology (just perhaps) than in Psychology (where it would carry WP:UNDUEWEIGHT in most passages). But a citation might--might--be germane to the "Criticism" section of the article, because it offers a critique of the dominant psychological paradigm (i.e., cognitivism) insofar as it has been applied to educational contexts. Having read what I can read of the essay (some pages are missing in Google's "preview" of the book), I gather that the author feels that the scholastic application of cognitive psychology has overlooked "the connections between concepts of self and spirituality" (p. 160) that psychological research has uncovered. Really more a criticism of educators than of psychologists, but nonetheless a critique of "applied psychology". Honestly, I don't know if a citation of this essay belongs anywhere even close to this article. But just in case it does, then... well, there you go! Cosmic Latte (talk) 18:21, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Vast majority[edit]

"Although the vast majority of psychologists are involved in clinical, counseling, and school positions": Does anybody have a source for this? I have two reservations about this line: 1) It's unclear about whether it's talking about the vast majority of all psychologists, of those psychologists who are employed outside of academia, or of those who are involved in practice and/or are not involved in research. And 2) Even if it's factually correct, it's rhetorically kind of odd. Why lump together clinical, counseling, and school? The more types of positions the sentence contains, the more likely it is to refer to the majority. To me, it sounds sort of equivalent to, "The vast majority of onions are yellow, red, or white"--an arbitrary stop between "Half of all onions are yellow or red" and "All onions are yellow, red, white, or green." To combine the two reservations, I'm just not sure what point the sentence wants to make. Cosmic Latte (talk) 20:43, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, I'm getting behind on my comments. I don't know where a cite would be for that, but I feel like I've seen APA stats on this before. I think the purpose of the statement is to distinguish the direct services areas from the primarily research areas. To most people, psychologist=therapist. Practicing clinicians, counselors, and school psychologists match the stereotype of a psychologist, and I believe that most "psychologists" fall into one of those categories. Even if people realize that there are non-practicing researchers out there, there is still an assumption that all of psychology somehow involves therapy-related topics. This statement attempts to make clear the breadth of psychology while acknowledging the majority. -Nicktalk 22:08, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
I removed the word "vast". It seems overstated without a reference, and counterproductive if the point is to show psychology's breadth. I attempted to improve the sentence per concerns raised (both teaching and research in academic settings seemed to have been omitted by my reading of that sentence) with an eye to making clear that the research conducted goes far beyond only research in therapeutic techniques (which some might assume, since as Nick points out many if not most people think psychologist=therapist). I also wanted to imply that most research is carried out at universities and most of these people also teach, but that there are also psychologists (who may or may not do research) who teach scientific psychology in colleges as well as in other academic settings. I'm not sure whether the resulting sentence is overly cumbersome, but I didn't want to make it too long or detailed. -DoctorW 17:34, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
No, this is wrong. There is a popular misconception that most psychologists are therapists, but they are actually in the minority. The majority of psychologists are researchers and professors and have never seen a patient in their lives. I have specifically read about this from multiple sources (although at the moment I do not remember where), and this has been confirmed by several of my psychology professors at the university I attend. I fixed the error, and I will try to find sources. But honestly, if you ask ANY real psychologists about this, they will tell you the same thing I am saying. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:31, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure that therapists are technically in the minority. In one of the archives of this page, we discussed the popularity of subfields, and, according to data from the US Survey of Earned Doctorates, a majority of people who receive a PhD in psychology are in one of the "direct contact" fields of clinical, counseling, or school psychology. I'm sure some people in those fields go on to a research career, and probably some people in other fields (e.g., educational psych, child psych) go on to do therapy/counseling. In addition, there are many people with master's degrees in counseling who are licensed or certified therapists. The point of this discussion is to acknowledge the fact that the single largest subgroup of psychologists involve therapy, although a sizable subgroup (maybe up to half) of psychologists do not have anything to do with therapy. However, it would be also correct to say that most psychology researchers are not therapy-related, as these areas of psychology do not make up 50% of university psychology faculty. -Nicktalk 20:14, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Invitation to editors to vote/discuss definition of science in Talk:Science[edit]

There has been an extensive discussion on the Talk:Science of what the lead definition of the science article should be. I suspect this might be an issue that may be of interest to the editors of this page. If so, please come to the voting section of the talk science page to vote and express your views. Thank you. mezzaninelounge (talk) 18:30, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Schools of thought[edit]

The early schools of thought of Psychology need to be mentioned under the history section. There are already sub-sections existing on Functionalism and Psychoanalysis. A subsection needs to be written on the structuralist school of thought. Hughesdepayen (talk) 23:00, 5 October 2010 (UTC)


A new editor has added a "professional psychology" section to the subfields list. If I'm not mistaken, professional psychology is simply the practitioner form of various subfields, but is not a substantive subfield of psychology. This section should be moved out of the subfields, but I'm not sure what to do with it. Thoughts? -Nicktalk 23:55, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Hamlet Complex[edit]

Is the Hamlet Complex a medically accepted syndrome or not? Thanks, Mutomana (talk) 00:26, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I think Hamlet is when a severely traumatized individual attempts to repress and deny such emotional damage by feigning humor...but it's difficult to gather much information about this online, strangely. Mutomana (talk) 20:53, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Science vs. Study[edit]

I'd argue Psychology is more of a study than a science, as much of psychology's principles are propositions rather than theories, and its conclusions are not empirically verifiable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:57, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Well, I, for one, have to in a sense agree. While I have respect for psychology, it does seem different from all other science courses. And, besides - what if Freud was wrong in half his ideas after all? Are millions of people around the world just absorbing vague, abstract notions and speculation about our minds that can't even be truly confirmed? Psychology is comprised of, for the most part, just theories...from a sociological point of view, one could even argue that our civilization has done without it for thousands of years, and while we may have had many troubles, at least we lived without it and no one much complained about its lack thereof. Mutomana (talk) 06:04, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Obviously when you talking about Freud, you are not talking about psychology. Who doesn't know the matter, always make this mistake ;)Psico pp (talk) 13:29, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
Folk psychology is not a science of psychology.Ostracon (talk) 11:47, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Edit request from , 22 November 2011[edit]

Please add Community Psychology with the relevant link to the list of "Applied science" psychology divisions in the box on the upper right. Prometheus77 (talk) 02:02, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Done (on Template:Psychology sidebar)   — Jeff G. ツ (talk) 05:49, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Edit request: about the scientific nature of psychology, 20 December 2011[edit]

the definition of psychology is based on the APA's website..right? (yes!) if you go here, in another APA's page, again: you can read this:

"Psychology is a diverse discipline, grounded in science, but with nearly boundless applications in everyday life. Some psychologists do basic research, developing theories and testing them through carefully honed research methods involving observation, experimentation and analysis. Other psychologists apply the discipline’s scientific knowledge to help people, organizations and communities function better."

I suggest to add the term "science" to the definition! or at least, to add "grounded in science". Psico pp (talk) 00:21, 20 December 2011 (UTC)


from Italian Treccani: "psicologìa s. f. [dal lat. mod. psychologia, comp. del gr. ψυχή «anima» (v. psico-) e -λογία «-logia»]. – 1. Scienza che studia la psiche"...psychology: science that studies the psyche.....

from the Encyclopædia Britannica: "psychology, scientific discipline that studies psychological and biological processes and behaviour in humans and other animals."...

from Agepedia The american encyclopedia of 1851: "PSYCHOLOGY (from ^vxn, the soul, and A"yo;, doctrine); the science of the soul, or the spiritual principle in man. The object of this science is to teach the laws and relations of the changes and phenomena which take place in the mind during the intellectual operations; or to trace the causes of these phenomena, and to discover the nature of the mind and its relations to the universe ; or, in short, to treat of the mind, either as it manifests itself or as it is in itself"...

Psico pp (talk) 00:37, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

I think this is very tricky and would be good to try and get a consensus on. Going back to first principles, should this Wikipedia article even be defining 'psychology' as only a discipline or field? I mean, there is a notable usage of the term that applies to anyone studying the mind - indicated in the phrases 'amateur psychologist', doing 'reverse psychology', and the academic concept of 'folk psychology' (a point of view not currently represented in this article). In terms of the academic definition, I question that APA (or similar outside of the US) is the only authority on that. It is not neutral and says so itself: "The APA’s central role in positioning psychology as the science of behavior" and "Advocate for funding and policies that support psychology's role in health". Clearly there's is an important point of view on the definition but not THE definition.
Related to that, the fairly widespread definition 'study of mind and behavior' seems to reflect a long-standing but academic division whereby the analysis of behavior on its own terms became a movement that claimed not to reference or even believe in 'mind' at all. But I'm not sure that's a metaphysical distinction that that would be held by all, especially given the cognitive revolution and neuroscience developments. The DSM (the other APA!) defines mental disorder as a 'behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual', which is nonsensical in itself (pattern of behavior occuring within the person??) and also doesn't make sense with 'psychology is the study of mind and behavior' - obviously there's different definitions.
I note that this article has a 'criticism' section discussing views on the scientific status of psychology. And the first paragraph refers to the psychologist being considered "social scientist, behavioral scientist, or cognitive scientist", while the 2nd paragraph also notes the incorporation of natural sciences. I don't personally think the latter aspect should be relegated slightly below the others (here's a source concluding it's closest to life science) especially given key aspects of it like comparative psychology and evolutionary psychology.
I note that the sociology article currently opens "Sociology is the scientific study of society", sourced to a book apparently by two sociology professors, but in stark contrast to notable views that at least some of sociology is not scientific in at least some senses. EverSince (talk) 18:12, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
just want to add that the point someone temporarily made about introspection was i think a good point too, as it is mentioned but only once re. Freud (and in a sense when phenomenology is discussed). I do think again there's a much broader sense there, as we all introspect often to try and understand ourselves and others. Anyway all the above is maybe overload in one go I realise, but I'll just leave it here as some points of view anyway. Eversense (talk) 02:30, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

RfC request at Neuro-Linguistic Programming[edit]

I think the article Neuro-linguistic_programming has gone downhill since it was nominated as a featured article and am trolling for those interested to come and fix it. Talk:Neuro-linguistic_programming#RfC_request Please copy or forward this request to more appropriate places. Thanks, htom (talk) 20:43, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

i thought that NLP was just another American trade! What has to do with psychology? Psico pp (talk) 10:39, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Psychologist needed[edit]

I was working on articles about physical attractiveness and beauty and kept writing about how symmetrical shapes are seen as beautiful and attractive, but there was no explanation about why this was the case. Why are symmetrical faces beautiful? I could not find any good explanations in secondary sources. I do not have JStor and I am not a biologist or psychologist. But after puzzling about this for a stretch I came up with a brief tentative theory which I wrote about here. Seems right to me. I'm hoping scientists who know about this stuff could tell me whether it's right or wrong, whether it's old or new, and if they could write a paper about it, or do experiments about it, and that way I could quote them and put this stuff in Wikipedia. A PhD student and fellow Wikipedian named Moleke suggested that this stuff isn't new but biologists working on animal studies have come across parts of these ideas already, but it still isn't clear to me what is known or right.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 18:24, 5 January 2012 (UTC) --Tomwsulcer (talk) 11:55, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Oh my god. I found Death the Kid. I bet your favorite number is 8, too. (talk) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:01, 2 October 2012 (UTC)


Craighead,W.E. & Nemeroff, C.B(2004) The concise corsini encyclopedia of psychology and behavioral science(3rd):NY.NY.John Wiley and Sons. Just to let you know I made some changes that I thought would be helpful in completing this assignment;

Inference modes at start of "Research Methods" section[edit]

The second sentence contradicts the third sentence, probably because of different implicit definitions of inductive inference. With added highlighting:

Psychology tends to be eclectic, drawing on knowledge from other fields to help explain and understand psychological phenomena. Additionally, psychologists make extensive use of the three modes of inference that were identified by C. S. Peirce: deduction, induction, and abduction (hypothesis generation). While often employing deductive–nomological reasoning, they also rely on inductive reasoning to generate explanations.

In Peircean terms, inductive inference involves tests to find the "proportion of truth" in a hypothesis but does not generate the hypothesis; induction seeks facts to support (or overturn) a hypothesis; abduction seeks a hypothesis to account for facts. On the other hand, many people either do not distinguish abductive from inductive inference or do not regard hypothesis generation as an act of inference. In other words, I'm unsure how to edit the sentences to eliminate their inconsistency, while simultaneously avoiding a distracting and digressive discussion of classification of inference. Any sugestions? The Tetrast (talk) 23:20, 20 January 2012 (UTC).

Bacon (1561–1626) introduced induction, not Pierce. All empirical sciences rely on induction and deduction. Abduction or "the inference to the best explanation" is not a requisite for science as it can be considered a variant of induction. Abduction is also possible in the absence of evidence. I suggest that terms related to the theory of science be restricted to a minimum. To a description of a science, the modes of observation are more pertinent than the modes of drawing conclusions.Ostracon (talk) 11:45, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Critical Psychology[edit]

With a healthy amount of expertise, I've never heard of critical psychology, except for the wikipedia article. It appears that none of the supporting literature (from the separate Critical Psychology article is in peer reviewed journals (just books, and conference proceedings). Perhaps a link to this obscure topic is justified, but it doesn't seem to deserve a summary on this page.Jj1236 (talk) 19:15, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

I second Jj's comment. See Wikipedia:Notability. Ostracon (talk) 11:50, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Does a healthy amount of expertise mean you have a) advanced degrees, b) postgraduate teaching experience c) research experience, d) conference presentation experience, e) involvement in the APA and at least one non-US international body, f) more than a decade's worth of involvement in the field, g) a licence to practise in one of the applied fields, h) practised in more than one of the APA divs, and i) practised on more than one continent; If one can't say yes to at least four of these one would want to revise one's definition of healthy. I can say yes to all bar one of these criteria, I have 20 years experience in the discipline and I would say I have a healthy knowledge in two of over 50 APA divs, but hardly a healthy knowledge of psychology. The discipline is not reducible to one introductory text in one language authored by people from one race on one continent.
The reasons you've never heard of it, it's a) recently international - late 1900s - but mature in some countries, b) predicated on marxist ideas that are not popular in the US, c) has a wide following in socialist and European countries but is unlikely to be included in US textbooks which tend to dominate knowledge production in this field, d) linked to the broader critical theory movement see, e) literature is predominantly in Russian (100 years worth), Spanish, German and French very little of which has been traslated into English, f) there is some confusion between the notion of theories-critical-of-psychology (like Szasz, Masson, Rollo May, on the one hand and Seligman et al on another) and critical psychology (the work of psychologists like Vygotsky), g) the wiki article is dismally inadequate.
Read the ridiculous wiki article on cultural historical psychology that some amateur has classified as a sub-field of developmental psychology probably because the only reference they could find was an English translation of a Russian book called Cognitive Development and therefore thought that the entire field was restricted to that one book. The article refers to an alternative paradigm of psychology that does not follow the rules of pragmatism that dominate in US thinking. If the article on evolutionary psychology consists of 15K words then this article should have at least 20K.

The field of psychology is vast. Only the main outlines can possibly be included in such a general article as this. While I am a great admirer of Vygotsy and think the article on Critical psychology should be retained, I agree with the others that a section on something so peripheral to psychology has no place in this article. -DoctorW 09:28, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Proposal for a New Lead: A first draft[edit]

Here is an attempt to address some of the issues discussed on the talk page. Admittedly, it needs more work and I am looking forward to your feedback. I would also like to point out that the abundance of different types of psychology could be left for a later paragraph, but to avoid a total rewrite I included them (and then some). References and links are also on mute.... for now. Ostracon (talk) 17:43, 29 April 2012 (UTC)


Psychology is the science of mind and behavior (Passer & Smith, 2005). However, psychology may also refer to folk-psychology - an understanding of psychological phenomena in the absence of scientific explanations.

Psychological scientists study behaviors, brains, cognitions, emotions (affect), and experiences. Studies are carried out in both controlled laboratory settings and natural settings, in biological, educational, developmental, social or cultural contexts (hence biological p., educational p., developmental, social p., cultural p.), or from perspectives of the human condition (humanistic p., existential p., transpersonal p.), for example: positive psychology. Cognitive scientists study models of the mind from the perspective of information processing; cognitive neuroscientists (in extension: behavioral n., affective n., social n.) study the relationship between the brain and mind; behavioral scientists study models of behaviors (e.g. learning in animals). Applied psychologists approach the same phenomena, but with the intent of change or prediction: neuropsychologists study the relationship between brain damage and loss of psychological function; clinical psychologists assess and treat patients with mental health problems; psychotherapists (who may or may not have a background in psychology) apply dialogue and behavioral training to change behaviors and minds for the better (see also industrial p., organizational p., school p., health p., media p., forensic p.).

Because of the varied nature of the units of investigation and the various scientific protocols, psychology can either be regarded as a social science or a natural science. For the same reason, specializations often occur, for example: psychology of motivation, sports psychology, and personality psychology.


In the introduction one can read the following:

"while also exploring the physiological and neurobiological processes that underlie certain cognitive functions and behaviors."

I'd like to point towards the use of the word "certain" here. For many people, my self included, physiological, neurobiological processes is believed to underlie all cognitive functions and behaviors, not just some. This is a view commonly hold within the field neuroscience, and although it is at the present still an unresolved philosophical problem I think the aforementioned quote should be rephrased to either include this viewpoint or use a more moderate one. The way it stands now, it would seem to imply that it's a fact that only certain cognitive functions and behaviors have physiological and neurobiological processes underlying them, which in turn begs the question of what underlie the remainder?

Maybe I don't understand your point fully, but I don't interpret the entire sentence (of which you have only quoted part) implies "that it's a fact that only certain cognitive functions and behaviors have physiological and neurobiological processes underlying them". First, "some" psychologists explore "some" physiological and neurobiological processes that underlie certain cognitive function and behavior. "Some" psychologists don't explore them at all. But not all psychologists explore all physiological and neurobiological processes that underlie all cognitive functions and behaviors. Secondly, although the wording of the sentence may need to be tweaked a bit, I don't think we need to go to the extreme of suggesting that we are anywhere close to understanding the physiological and neurobiological processes that underlie all cognitive functions and behaviors, or even many cognitive functions and behaviors. And finally, I'm sure that many psychologists believe that "physiological, neurobiological processes is believed to underlie all cognitive functions and behaviors", but not all psychologists believe that. I assume it is true that "this view is commonly held within the field neuroscience", but not all psychologists are neuroscientists, and this article is about psychology, not neuroscience. Some of this may be a semantic issue that can be fixed with some minor changes in wording, but I caution that we should avoid any extremes in suggesting what all or even most psychologists believe. Cresix (talk) 22:20, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree with the above point that the word "certain" unnecessarily limits the study of function, so I have taken the liberty of deleting it. Also, I believe it is not at all clear that the underlying mechanisms of cognitive function are neural only, so I changed "neurobiological" to "biological", but left the link unchanged. A related question is where biopsychology comes in. Strasburger (talk) 11:27, 5 February 2014 (UTC)


I am part of the Wikipedia Initiative Team. The following are the changes that I made to the Psychology page: In psychology (functionalism): changed ‘strains of thought’ to ‘popular theories of thought’ in order to add clarity to the sentence. In Psychology (developmental): changed ‘baby with a book’ caption on picture to ‘Developmental psychologists would engage a child with a book and then make observations based on how the child interacts with the object’. Made change in order to add more meaning to the picture that corresponded to the topic being discussed. In Psychology (Survey questionnaires): changed: Increasingly, web-based surveys are being used in research’, added : ‘for its convenience and also to get a wide range of participants.' Made change in order to highlight key concepts being discussed in the section.Villasa4 (talk) 00:55, 20 June 2013 (UTC)


In the second paragraph there is this silly sentence: "Psychologists of diverse stripes also consider the unconscious mind." I.E., a mental picture putting stripes on C.G. Jung? -Prison or zebra stripes? And, it's diverging from the point that it's important because that's where dreams occur. C.G. Jung didn't "study" the unconscious. He only recognized it's value because that's were we find the dreams which are a link to healing and mental health! Nicole Mahramus (talk) 14:03, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Hi Nicole Mahramus! Thank you for your comment. I changed stripes into orientations. Lova Falk talk 09:19, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 23 July 2013[edit]

Psychology is not totally a scientific study, because if you think deeply about the theory of S.Freud about Ego, Super Ego, and Id, which have not been proven by scientific methods. As scientists believe seeing is believing, but S. Freud had never seen these three essences, and how he discovered them is not clear up until now. He also refutes human beings free will, if we do not own a free will, how can we make decisions? I think the psychologists have to reconsider S.Freud's theories about his psychoanalysis and find out about the true identification of human beings. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sorosh51 (talkcontribs) 20:21, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

I believe you'll find that all psychology is Freudian - that's an unfair stereotype to make of the subject. While it does encompass Freudianism and subjective interpretation, many fields exist that focus on mental and behavioural phenomena. These generate patterns that can be reproduced, and measured, with some degree of objectivity. Techhead7890 (talk) 11:48, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 29 January 2014[edit]

the Russian Empire physiologist Ivan Pavlov Maria Titova (talk) 13:19, 29 January 2014 (UTC) referenced in this article a couple of times. Please be more specific as to what change you would like made to the article, in the form of "Change X to Y". --ElHef (Meep?) 03:47, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Possible copyright problem[edit]

This article has been revised as part of a large-scale clean-up project of multiple article copyright infringement. (See the investigation subpage) Earlier text must not be restored, unless it can be verified to be free of infringement. For legal reasons, Wikipedia cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or printed material; such additions must be deleted. Contributors may use sources as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously. Diannaa (talk) 02:03, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Replication Crisis[edit]

I wonder, perhaps in the section on criticism, if there ought not be some discussion of the replication crisis issue in psychology? See some of the recent furor over the special edition of the journal Social Psychology on replication studies (most of the furor appears to be regarding just one of those studies).

Do psychologist separate the psychopaths and the people who feel emotion in their studies?[edit]

Do psychologist separate the psychopaths and the people who feel emotion in their studies? Psychopaths would greatly skew most psychological studies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:33, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Psychopaths represent about 4% of men and 1% of women so it's unlikely they would have much impact on any given study. And, as they are part of the population, eliminating them would be MORE biasing rather than less, as this would result in a sample less representative of the population rather than more. StoneProphet11 (talk) 20:42, 12 July 2014 (UTC)