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Shouldn't psychology be labelled a pseudoscience rather than a science? 220.127.116.11 (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 18.104.22.168 (talk) 07:05, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
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 22.214.171.124 (talk) 04:47, 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. "From this Popperian  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: ). 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 potentialtalkcontribs 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.126.96.36.199 (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.188.8.131.52 (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)
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)
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;
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).
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