Is Psychology a Science? – PsyFile

Is Psychology a Science? – PsyFile

Is psychology really a science? (re-upload due to terrible type first time – pls comment again if you want to contribute)

This video features in order of appearance: Luke Jones, Penny Lewis, Daniela Montaldi, Deborah Talmi, Warren Mansell and Ellen Poliakoff.

University of Manchester School of Psychological Sciences:

Videos by Brady Haran


January 29, 2013 / 38 Comments / by / in
  • i see your point but far into the neuroscience end of the scale, i would call that physiology

  • please do a video about the jung types!

  • You guys think about the question wayyyyy too much… No, actually you are trying to answer an irrelevant question! Engineering disciplines are not sciences, but they contribute 99% of of your daily life's needs, plus they promote themselves as a sciences in order to be commercially appealing to expensive universities. As long as what you postulate is useful to anyone in anyway, it doesn't matter if the method you used was "scientific"

  • really coll videos! can i have some more pleaaase? =)

  • I've always viewed psychology as a science, just a young one.

  • Tardis!!

  • Even if you analyze 2 billion people and see that under certain circumstances, 80% of the them are afraid of snakes, you CANNOT conclude that MOST the people are affraid of snakes. More than that, you CANNOT say it is something natural. And more than that, knowing that behavior is created by the environment (experiences) and is very dynamic (meaning 50% of those 80% afraid of snakes can be unafraid the next month of snakes), makes such studies almost useless.

  • What do you mean exactly?

  • Why do psychologists have weird eyes?

  • The issue is that there are to many variables involved with the "social sciences" for it to be a true science. That's just my opinion however.

  • Except that medical science and nutrition-sport science peer-review ever single case and do not have a book that claims 200+ ways to be "wrong" and zero ways to be "right".
    There are also zero scientific instruments involved.
    People that are quick to call Psychology a science typically do not understand what "science" is.
    It is NOT argumentum ad populum or argument from authority.
    Testing must be done, and conclusions must be objective.

  • Furthermore, Clinical Psychologists never question claims ABOUT people. They take them at face value, & then ask said accused if it is true. If the accused is bullied or gaslighted into giving a false confession, then Clinical Psychologists label that person with having "Chemical Imbalance" and "Genetic Defects" without performing a SINGLE test, and call their "opinion" science. I see it happen all the time. Psychologists pride themselves in labeling as many people as possible. Its an addiction.

  • Since when were any of those sciences?

  • Because we have no soul.

  • I think you are the one who doesn't really know how psychology works. Plus, there's a lot of people out there that claim to be psychologists when they aren't, like coaches, chamans, psychoanalists.
    Psychology uses the correlational method, which, altough it's less accurate, is as scientific as the causalistic method.

  • Ha. You start your sentence with "I think"… and that's the whole problem. All that matters is what you can prove. The vast majority of Clinical Psychology is NOT peer reviewed and uses the DSM as a labeling bible. They are given positive feedback the more they label people during training and try to make up reason why they THINK that person is that way and to pass that off as Science. I've studied it for over 2 decades. It's not a Science.

  • I think that if psycology were pure science we would not progress very much.
    without the intuitive understanding of humans that we have we would be lost in understanding them because its so complicated , there are many many ways to interpret a certain psycology expirement and without the intuitive understanding we would not get anywhere

    so psycology is partially science but its more intuitive understanding than science.

  • I never learned as much about the thoroughness of the scientific method during any other class than I did during psychology classes. Sadly the subject is dragged down by the less scientific areas, but overall, any subject that uses the scientific method and stays true to it is a science. Determinism isn't a problem in that definition. Psychology is about TENDENCIES, not individual certainties.

    That being said, I'm still a physicist at heart.

  • I don't think Psychology is a science, but I do think it's science.

  • All I can see from here, by almost every comment, is a big lack of knowledge about "Psychology" and all It's subfields/specializations.
    Greetings, everyone.

  • "There are also zero scientific instruments involved."

    Utterly false. Psychologists perform hard measurements of all kinds of phenomena in their research. Psychometrics has a long history that you apparently are completely ignorant about.

    "People that are quick to call Psychology a science typically do not understand what "science" is."

    No. The problem here is that you have no clue how broad the field of psychology is. Google "cognitive psychology" and "psychometrics" for a start.

  • You should also realize that psychology started out as a hard science working out the limitations of human senses using all kinds of objective tools and techniques to acquire the data and this tradition has continued right through fads like Freud. You might want to look up B.F. Skinner's work in Behaviorism as well. While the field ran into methodological limitations and has been superseded by the cognitive approach, it was thoroughly scientific and produced many interesting applications.

  • Ultimately, modern psychology is fusing more and more with neuroscience and can often offer causal explanations for many types of dysfunctional behaviors and trace them back to brain malfunctions or learned disorders and often can have quite a bit to say about how to treat them even without medication. In fact, it is quite uncommon to put people on permanent medication because of "chemical imbalance". Psychologists primarily use medication to enable people to get started on therapy.

  • The best example of this is perhaps how anti-depressants can be used to enable people to become more active, get a positive feedback loop going and subsequently not need the drugs after they get their lives in order.

    I think what you may be thinking about is cases where parents or lawyers are hounding "psychologists" either for access to drugs or for a diagnosis.

  • I'm sure there exists psychologists you can basically buy a diagnosis from, but such behavior does not undermine psychology as a science more than doctors doing the same undermine the medical sciences.

  • No what undermines it as a "science" is the following:
    1.) Lack of objective analysis
    2.) Lack of empirical data
    3.) The belief that "intuition" is science
    4.) The belief that conformity = intelligence
    5.) The usage of logical fallacies such as "argumentum ad populum" or "argument from authority" etc…
    Clinical psychology runs off the belief that complaints are illogical and conformity is king. Suffering is an injustice, but not always an illness. They disagree.

  • It is really hard to say whether psychology is really a science, since what it studies is itself in essence immaterial (even though it behaves with some predictability in respect to its material "basis"). The mind is directly known and experienced only by the individual, with the existence of other minds being only indicated at through the observance of actions which postulatedly require a human agent. But the question is, is demarcation really so important?

  • I really wish they'd do more videos

  • psychology is important but not science

  • Says someone who has clearly never studied psychology.

  • Prometheus Complex was right, psychology is not a science. A science uses spectroscopy methods, chromatography methods, and other methods that allow you to witness physical phenomenon and prove things about the world around you that none can deny or refute. The best psychology can offer up as evidence is statistics. Statistically speaking, African Americans purchase more watermelons than whites. Based on stats and psychologies logic, what scientific conclusions can I draw?

  • Actually I have. That's why I am skeptical of it now.
    Your ad homiem in complete nonsense btw. Correct my numbered points or fuck off. That's called the Socratic Method, and it's a complete reasonable way to deal with nit wits that "attack the man" instead of his argument.

  • That smells a bit like bullshit. Clearly, you neither know what Psychology is. And, to be honest, talking about "Psychology" in such a generic way makes me sick. "Psychology" covers a very wide range of subfields, from Social Psychology to Behavioral Neuroscience or Cognitive Neuroscience, that are based on a lot of kind of data (qualitative, quantitative; statistical, 'mathematical' [even if statistics is a part of maths]).

  • I'll do It.
    1.) Lack of objective analysis – Not true. It's objective, there is no space for interpretation in a science. Instead, interpretation could be present in Clinical Psychology, maybe, sometimes. But there is a reason, an important one, and I won't deal here with It.
    2.) Lack of empirical data – Not true. As a science, It can provide a lot of empirical data with a wide range of instruments (especially technological ones).

  • 3.) The belief that "intuition" is science – That's obvious to us all. And I don't understand why did you use this statment. However, important hypotesis can be brought by intuition and not only, firstly, by observation.
    4.) The belief that conformity = intelligence – Dude, wtf?
    5.) The usage of logical fallacies such as "argumentum ad populum" or "argument from authority" etc… – What? I really would like to know "what the heck is this". There is not such a thing in any of Psychology fields.

  • +Nacht Reich 
    There is zero objective analysis in Psychology. Zero. Absolutely zero.
    100% of Psychology is projecting, and if the patient agrees, then it's considered fact, and if they disagree, then it means the patient is soooo ill they just don't know they're ill, and call it a fact.

    If there is science in it, where? Prove it. Now, or shut up.

  • 1:14 But if psychology is a subdivision of biology then surely biology is just a subdivision of chemistry because we are powered by reactions between molecules and we are made from atoms but if that is true then chemistry must just be a subdivision of physics because all atoms and chemical reactions follow the laws of physics and so why doesn't every scientist call themself a physicist since everything is just a subdivision of that?

  • I think you're oversimplifying things. That line of thought would be similar to someone saying that they're an expert car mechanic because they can put gas in the tank or change a flat tire. 

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