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Social Psychology

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Social psychology is about understanding individual behavior in a social context. Baron, Byrne & Suls (1989) define social psychology as ……. “the scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behavior in social situations”. (p. 6). It therefore looks at human behavior as influenced by other people and the social context in which this occurs. Social psychologists therefore deal with the factors that lead us to behave in a given way in the presence of others, and look at the conditions under which certain behavior/actions and feelings occur.

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Social psychology is to do with the way these feelings, thoughts, beliefs, intentions and goals are constructed and how such psychological factors, in turn, influence our interactions with others. Topics examind in social psychology include: the self concept, social cognition, attribution theory, social influence, group processes, prejudice and discrimination, interpersonal processes, aggression, attitudes and stereotypes. History of Social Psychology Early Influences

Aristotle believed that humans were naturally sociable, a necessity which allows us to live together (an individual centered approach), whilst Plato felt that the state controlled the individual and encouraged social responsibility through social context (a socio-centered approach).

Hegel (1770–1831) introduced the concept that society has inevitable links with the development of the social mind. This led to the idea of a group mind, important in the study of social psychology. Lazarus & Steinthal wrote about Anglo-European influences in 1860. Volkerpsychologie” emerged, which focused on the idea of a collective mind. It emphasized the notion that personality develops because of cultural and community influences, especially through language, which is both a social product of the community as well as a means of encouraging particular social thought in the individual. Therefore Wundt (1900–1920) encouraged the methodological study of language and its influence on the social being. Early Texts Texts focusing on social psychology first emerged at the start of the 20th century.

The first notable book in English was published by McDougall in 1908 (An Introduction to Social Psychology), which included chapters on emotion and sentiment, morality, character and religion, quite different to those incorporated in the field today. He believed that social behavior was innate/instinctive and therefore individual, hence his choice of topics. This belief is not the principle upheld in modern social psychology, however. Allport’s work (1924) underpins current thinking to a greater degree, as he acknowledged that social behavior results from interactions between people.

He also took a methodological approach, discussing actual research and emphasizing that the field was one of a “science … which studies the behavior of the individual in so far as his behavior stimulates other individuals, or is itself a reaction to this behavior” (1942: p. 12). His book also dealt with topics still evident today, such as emotion, conformity and the effects of an audience on others. Murchison (1935) published The first handbook on social psychology was published by Murchison in 1935.

Murphy & Murphy (1931/37) produced a book summarizing the findings of 1,000 studies in social psychology. A text by Klineberg (1940) looked at the interaction between social context and personality development by the 1950s a number of texts were available on the subject. Social Psychology (this one is very long) According to psychologist Gordon Allport, social psychology is a discipline that uses scientific methods “to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other human beings” (1985).

Social psychology looks at a wide range of social topics, including group behavior, social perception, leadership, nonverbal behavior, conformity, aggression and prejudice. It is important to note that social psychology is not just about looking at social influences. Social perception and social interaction are also vital to understanding social behavior. Brief History of Social Psychology While Plato referred to the idea of the “crowd mind” and concepts such as social loafing and social facilitation were introduced in the late-1800s, it wasn’t until after World War II that research on social psychology began in earnest.

The horrors of the Holocaust led researchers to study the effects of social influence, conformity and obedience. The U. S. government also became interested in applying social psychological concepts to influencing citizens. Social psychology has continued to grow throughout the twentieth century, inspiring research that has contributed to our understanding of social experience and behavior. How Is Social Psychology Different From Other Disciplines? It is important to understand how social psychology differs from other disciplines. Social psychology is often confused with folk wisdom, personality psychology and sociology.

What makes social psychology different? Unlike folk wisdom, which relies on anecdotal observations and subjective interpretation, social psychology employs scientific methods and the empirical study of social phenomena. While personality psychology focuses on individual traits, characteristics and thoughts, social psychology is focused on situations. Social psychologists are interested in the impact that the social environment and group interactions have onattitudes and behaviors. Finally, it is important to distinguish between social psychology and sociology.

While there are many similarities between the two, sociology tends to looks at social behavior and influences at a very broad-based level. Sociologists are interested in the institutions and cultures that influence how people behave. Psychologists instead focus on situational variables that affect social behavior. While psychology and sociology both study similar topics, they are looking at these topics from different perspectives. There are some basic aspects of social behavior that play a large role in our actions and how we see ourselves. Social behavior is goal-oriented.

Our interactions serve goals or fulfill needs. Some common goals or needs include the need for social ties, the desire to understand ourselves and others, the wish to gain or maintain status or protection and the need to attract companions. The interaction between the individual and the situation helps determine the outcome. In many instances, people behave very differently depending upon the situation. Environmental and situational variables play an important role and have a strong influence on our behavior. People spend a great deal of time considering social situations.

Our social interactions help form our self-concept and perception. One method of forming self-concept is through thereflected appraisal process in which we imagine how other people see us. Another method is through the social comparison process whereby we consider how we compare to other people in our peer group. We also analyze and explain the behavior of those around us. One common phenomenon is the expectation confirmation, where we tend to ignore unexpected attributes and look for evidence that confirms our preexisting beliefs about others.

This helps simplify our worldview, but it also skews our perception and can contribute to stereotyping. We often believe that a person’s behavior is a good indicator of their personality. Another influence on our perceptions of other people can be explained by the theory of correspondent inferences. This occurs when we infer that the actions and behaviors of others correspond to their intentions and personalities. While behavior can be informative in some instances, especially when the person’s actions are intentional, it can also be misleading.

If we have limited interaction with someone, the behavior we see may be atypical or caused by the specific situation rather than by the persons overriding dispositional characteristics. Final Thoughts Studying social psychology can enrich our understanding of ourselves and of the world around us. Continue exploring this subject in the links below to enrich your understanding of social behavior. The following are just a few of the areas of interest within social psychology. 1. Social Cognition: Social cognition is concerned with the processing, storage and application of social information.

This research area is closely related to the field of cognitive psychology, this research area focuses largely on the concept of schemas. Schemas are our general ideas about the world, how things are and how things work. These mental shortcuts allow us to function without constantly stopping to interpret everything around us. We also develop associations between related schemas, which play an important role in the thought process and social behavior. 2. Attitudes and Attitude Change: Another major research area in social psychology involves the study of attitudes.

Social psychologists are interested in the components of attitudes, how attitudes develop and how attitudes change. Researchers have described three core components of attitude: an affective component, a behavioral component and a cognitive component. Often referred to as the “ABC’s of attitude,” these elements describe how we feel, behave and understand. 3. Violence and Aggression: What causes violence and aggression? Social psychologists are interested in how and why people engage in violence or act aggressively. Research in this area looks at numerous factors that may cause aggression including social variables and media influences.

Researchers often look at the role social learning plays in producing aggressive behaviors and actions. 4. Prosocial Behavior: Prosocial behavior is another major research area in social psychology. What is prosocial behavior? Prosocial behaviors are those that involve helping and cooperating. Researchers often look at why people help others, as well as why they sometimes refuse to help or cooperate. The bystander effect is an example of a social phenomenon in the subject area. Much of the research in this area was prompted by the murder of a young woman named Kitty Genovese.

This case captured national attention when reports revealed that neighbors had witnessed her attack and murder, but failed to call the police for help. Research inspired by the case produced a great deal of information on prosocial behavior and how and why people choose – or sometimes refuse – to help others. 5. Prejudice and Discrimination: Prejudice, discrimination and stereotypes exist in any social group. Social psychologists are interested in the origins, causes and effects of these types of attitudes and social categorizations. How does prejudice develop?

Why are stereotypes maintained in the face of contrary evidence? These are just a few of the questions social psychologists seek to answer. 6. Self and Social Identity: Our perceptions of social identities and ourselves are another important research area in social psychology. How do people come to know and understand themselves? How do these self-perceptions affect our social interactions? Social psychologists are interested in learning more about how this inner life influences our outer lives and social world. Self-awareness, self-esteem and self-expression are just a few of the factors that influence ur social experience. 7. Group Behavior: The behavior of groups is one of the largest research areas in social psychology. Most people realize that groups tend to behave differently than individuals. These group behaviors are sometimes beneficial and positive, but they can also be detrimental and negative. Social psychologists often look at topics such as group dynamics, leadership, group decision-making, conflicts, cooperation and group influence. 8. Social Influence: Social psychologists are also interested in the role that social influence has on behavior and decision-making.

Topics such as the psychology of persuasion, peer pressure, conformity and obedience are just a few of those studied in this area of social psychology. Research has helped reveal the power of social influence and has uncovered ways to help people resist influence. 9. Interpersonal Relationships: Social relationships play a major role in shaping behavior, attitudes, feelings and thoughts. Social psychologists study how these interpersonal relationships affect people by looking at attachment, liking, love and attraction. How do close relationships affect individuals? How important are these interpersonal relationships?

These are just a few of the questions social psychologists seek to explain. What Are the Major Perspectives in Social Psychology? Sociocultural Perspective Stresses the importance of social norms and culture. Proposes that children learn behavior through problem-solving interactions with other children and adults. Through these interactions, they learn the values and norms of their society. Evolutionary Perspective Argues that social behaviors developed through genetics and inheritance. Emphasizes the role of biology and gene transmission across generations to explain current behavior.

Social Learning Perspective Stresses the importance of unique experiences in family, school, community, etc. According to this viewpoint, we learn behaviors through observing and mimicking the behavior of others. Social-Cognitive Perspective Supports an information processing model of social behavior, where we notice, interpret, and judge the behavior of others. New experiences can either be assimilated (using already held beliefs to interpret the event), or accommodated (which involves changing existing beliefs in response to the event. By understanding how information is processed, we can better understand how patterns of thoughts impact behavior. When the behavior of a person displays signs of some sort of obsessive reaction, then other people might find it necessary to shrug off the behavior as odd and not think anything else about it. If they are exposed to the person on a daily basis though, a pattern in the obsessive behavior will emerge that will give solidity to thoughts that the person might have an obsessive personality disorder.

People take great care in what they do or say about a person when it comes to pointing the finger toward a mental illness. Perhaps they have their own idiosyncrasies and do not want the tables turned in their direction. The psychology surrounding obsessive personalities requires lengthy consideration of each trait because some people react differently to situations because of their background or upbringing and not from any type of mental illness. Psychologists are interested in how obsessive a person becomes over an event in their life.

They will look for certain benchmarks that are standard with all people who suffer from an obsessive personality disorder. In the psychology of an obsessive personality, the psychologist will take into consideration what the persistency rate is of any obsessive reaction, and then they will determine whether that persistency is further stimulated due to exposure to images or thoughts that might not be readily apparent or exist at all. The episode of obsessive behavior will be readily apparent to the afflicted person. They may feel quite violated by the intrusion of images and the actions that they can no longer control.

They feel very helpless when their behavior escalates into an obsessive episode that makes them very anxious. They may feel embarrassed by their behavior if they have not lost contact with reality. Their actions will be viewed by onlookers as strange because there will be no apparent reason for their behavior. The person might get obsessive about trying to conceal actions that they know are not normal but are helpless to change how their actions emerge. There obsessive nature will cause them to go to extreme lengths to divert attention from themselves onto any other person, place or thing.

They are well aware that their compulsive nature exists and is uncontrollable, but their mental illness causes them to place the original obsession in the background until attention is diverted from them to another. Some will flounder in their efforts to conceal the compulsive personality disorder. They may be overcome with an impulse that is so strong that it is no longer possible to hide the obsessive behavior from people who are familiar with the person. Through the help of a psychologist, people with compulsive personality disorders can learn to control their impulses. Science uses an empirical approach.

Empiricism (founded by John Locke) states that the only source of knowledge comes through our senses – e. g. sight, hearing etc. This was in contrast to the existing view that knowledge could be gained solely through powers of reason and logical argument (known as rationalism). Thus empiricism is the view that all knowledge is based on, or may come from experience. The empirical approach through gaining knowledge through experience quickly became the scientific approach and greatly influenced the development of physics and chemistry in the 17th and 18th centuries. The idea that knowledge should be gained through experience, i. . empirically, turned into a method of enquiry that used careful observation and experiments to gather facts and evidence. The nature of scientific enquiry may be thought of at two levels: 1. that to do with theory and the foundation of hypotheses. 2. and actual empirical methods of enquiry (i. e. experiments, observations) The prime empirical method of enquiry in science is the experiment. The key features of the experiment are control over variables (independent, dependent and extraneous), careful objective measurement and establishing cause and effect relationships.

The Key Features of a Science Empirical Evidence o Refers to data being collected through direct observation or experiment. o Empirical evidence does not rely on argument or belief. o Instead experiments and observations are carried out carefully and reported in detail so that other investigators can repeat and attempt to verify the work. Objectivity: o Researchers should remain totally value free when studying; they should try to remain totally unbiased in their investigations. I. e. Researchers are not influenced by personal feelings and experiences. Objectivity means that all sources of bias are minimized and that personal or subjective ideas are eliminated. The pursuit of science implies that the facts will speak for themselves even if they turn out to be different from what the investigator hoped. Control: o All extraneous variables need to be controlled in order to be able to establish cause (IV) and effect (DV). Predictability: o We should be aiming to be able to predict future behavior from the findings of our research. Hypothesis testing: o E. g. a statement made at the beginning of an investigation that serves as a prediction and is derived from a theory.

There are different types of hypotheses (null and alternative), which need to be stated in a form that can be tested (i. e. operationalized and unambiguous). Replication: o This refers to whether a particular method and finding can be repeated with different/same people and/or on different occasions, to see if the results are similar. o If a dramatic discovery is reported but it cannot be replicated by other scientists it will not be accepted. o If we get the same results over and over again under the same conditions, we can be sure of their accuracy beyond reasonable doubt. This gives us confidence that the results are reliable and can be used to build up a body of knowledge or a theory: vital in establishing a scientific theory. The Scientific Process Before the twentieth century, science largely used the principles of induction- making discoveries about the world through accurate observations, and formulating theories based on the regularities observed. Newton’s Laws are an example of this. He observed the behavior of physical objects (e. g. apples) and produced laws that made sense of what he observed. The scientific process is now based on the hypothetico-deductive model was proposed by Karl Popper (1935).

Popper suggested that theories/laws about the world should come first and these should be used to generate expectations/hypotheses which can be falsified by observations and experiment. Falsification is the only way to be certain – as Popper pointed out: ‘No amount of observations of white swans can allow the conclusion that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion’ Darwin’s theory of evolution is an example of this. He formulated a theory and set out to test its propositions by observing animals in nature. He specifically sought to collect data to prove his theory / disprove.

Psychology is really a very new science, with most advances happening over the past 150 years or so. However, it can be traced back to ancient Greece, 400 – 500 years BC. The emphasis was a philosophical one, with great thinkers such as Socrates influencing Plato, who in turn influenced Aristotle. Plato argued that there was a clear distinction between body and soul, believed very strongly in the influence of individual difference on behavior, and played a key role in developing the notion of “mental health”, believing that the mind needed stimulating by the arts to keep it alive.

Aristotle firmly believed in the idea that the body strongly affected the mind – you might say he was an early bio psychologist. Psychology as a science took a “back seat” until Descartes (1596 – 1650) wrote in the 16th century. He believed strongly in the concept of consciousness, maintaining that it was that that separated us from animals. He did, however, believe that our bodies could influence our consciousness and that the beginnings of these interactions were in the pineal gland – we know now that this is probably NOT the case!

From this influential work came other important philosophies about psychology, including work by Spinoza (1632 – 1677) and Leibnitz (1646 – 1716). But there still was no single, scientific, unified psychology as a separate discipline (you could certainly argue that there still isn’t! ). When asked the question “Who is the parent of psychology? “, many people answer “Freud”. Whether this is the case or not is open to debate, but if we were to ask who the parent of experimental psychology is, few would be likely to respond in the same way.

So where did modern experimental psychology come from and why? Psychology took so long to emerge as a scientific discipline because it needed time to consolidate. Understanding behavior, thoughts and feelings is not easy, which may explain why it was largely ignored between ancient Greek times and the 16th century. But tired of years of speculation, theory and argument, and bearing in mind Aristotle’s plea for scientific investigation to support theory, psychology as a scientific discipline began to emerge in the late 1800’s. Wilheim Wundt developed the first psychology lab in 1879.

Introspection was used, but systematically (i. e. methodologically). It was really a place from which to start thinking about how to employ scientific methods to investigate behavior. The classic movement in psychology to adopt these strategies were the behaviorists, who were renowned for their reliance on controlled laboratory experiment and rejection of any unseen or subconscious forces as causes of behavior. And later, the cognitive psychologists adopted this rigorous (i. e. careful), scientific, lab based approach too. Psychological Approaches and Science

Psychoanalysis has great explanatory power and understanding of behavior, but is has been accused of only explaining behavior after the event, not predicting what will happen in advance and of being unfalsifiable. Some have argued that psychoanalysis has approached the status more of a religion than a science, but it is not alone in being accused of unfalsifiable (evolutionary theory has too – why is anything the way it is? Because it has evolved that way! ) and like theories that are difficult to refute – the possibility exists that it is actually right.

Kline (1984) argues that psychoanalytic theory can be broken down into testable hypotheses and tested scientifically. For example, Scodel (1957) postulated that orally dependent men would prefer larger breasts (a positive correlation), but in fact found the opposite (a negative correlation). Although Freudian theory could be used to explain this finding (through reaction formation – the subject showing exactly the opposite of their unconscious impulses! ), Kline has nevertheless pointed out that theory would have been refuted by no significant correlation. behaviorism has parsimonious (i. . economical / cost cutting) theories of learning, using a few simple principles (reinforcement, behavior shaping, generalization, etc. ) to explain a vast variety of behavior from language acquisition to moral development. It advanced bold, precise and refutable hypotheses (such as Thorndike’s law of effect) and possessed a hard core of central assumptions such as determinism from the environment (it was only when this assumption faced overwhelming criticism by the cognitive and ethological theorists that the behaviorist paradigm / model was overthrown).

Behaviorists firmly believed in the scientific principles of determinism and orderliness, and thus came up with fairly consistent predictions about when an animal was likely to respond (although they admitted that perfect prediction for any individual was impossible). The behaviorists used their predictions to control the behavior of both animals (pigeons trained to detect life jackets) and humans (behavioral therapies) and indeed Skinner, in his book Walden Two (1948), described a society controlled according to behaviorist principles.

Cognitive psychology – adopts a scientific approach to unobservable mental processes by advancing precise models and conducting experiments upon behavior to confirm or refute them. Full understanding, prediction and control in psychology is probably unobtainable due to the huge complexity of environmental, mental and biological influences upon even the simplest behavior (i. e. all extraneous variables cannot be controlled). You will see therefore, that there is no easy answer to the question ‘is psychology a science? . But many approaches of psychology do meet the accepted requirements of the scientific method, whilst others appear to be more doubtful in this respect. Alternatives to the Scientific Approach However, some psychologists’ argue that psychology should not be a science. There are alternatives to empiricism such as rational research, argument and belief The humanistic approach (another alternative) values private, subjective conscious experience and argues for the rejection of science.

The humanistic approach argues that objective reality is less important than a person’s subjective perception and subjective understanding of the world. Because of this, Carl Rogers and Maslow placed little value on scientific psychology especially the use of the scientific laboratory to investigate both human and other animal behavior. A person’s subjective experience of the world is an important and influential factor on their behavior. Only by seeing the world from the individual’s point of view can we really understand why they act the way they do.

This is what the humanistic approach aims to do. Humanism is a psychological perspective that emphasizes the study of the whole person. Humanistic psychologists look at human behavior not only through the eyes of the observer, but through the eyes of the person doing the behaving. Humanistic psychologists believe that an individual’s behavior is connected to his inner feelings and self-image. The humanistic approach in psychology deliberately steps away from a scientific viewpoint, rejecting determinism in favor of freewill, aiming to arrive at a unique and in depth understanding.

The humanistic approach does not have an orderly set of theories (although it does have some core assumptions) and is not interested in prediction and controlling people’s behavior – the individuals themselves are the only ones who can and should do that. Miller (1969) in “Psychology as a Means of Promoting Human Welfare” criticizes the controlling view of psychology, suggesting that understanding should be the main goal of the subject as a science, since he asks who will do the controlling and whose interests will be served by it?

Humanistic psychologists rejected a rigorous scientific approach to psychology because they saw it as dehumanizing and unable to capture the richness of conscious experience. In many ways the rejection of scientific psychology in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s was a backlash to the dominance of the behaviorist approach in North American psychology. Common Sense Views of behavior In certain ways everyone is a psychologist. This does not mean that everyone has been formally trained to study and be trained in psychology. People have common sense views of the world, of other people and themselves.

These common sense views may come from personal experience, from our upbringing as a child and through culture etc. People have common-sense views about the causes of their own and other people’s behavior, and personality characteristics they and others posses, about what other people should do, how to bring up your children, and many, many more aspects of psychology. The informal psychologists’ acquires common-sense knowledge in a rather subjective (i. e. unreliable) and anecdotal way. Common-sense views about people are rarely based on systematic (i. e. ogical) evidence, and are sometimes based on a single experience or observation. Racial or religious prejudices may reflect what seems like common sense within a group of people. However, prejudicial beliefs rarely stand up to what is actually the case. Common sense, then, is something which everybody uses in their day-to-day lives, guides decisions and influences how we interact with one another. But because it is not based on systematic evidence, or derived from scientific enquiry, it may be misleading and lead to one group of people treating others unfairly and in a discriminatory way.

Limitations of Scientific Psychology Despite having a scientific methodology worked out (we think), there are further problems and arguments which throw doubt onto psychology ever really being a science. Limitations may refer to the subject matter (e. g. overt behavior versus subjective, private experience), objectivity, generality, testability, ecological validity, ethical issues and philosophical debates etc. Science assumes that there are laws of human behavior that apply to each person. Therefore science takes both a deterministic and reductionist approach.

Science studies overt behavior because overt behavior is objectively observable and can be measured, allowing different psychologists to record behavior and agree on what has been observed. This means that evidence can be collected to test a theory about people. • Scientific laws are generalizable but psychological explanations are often restricted to specific times and places. Because psychology studies (mostly) people, it studies (indirectly) the effects of social and cultural changes on behavior. Psychology does not go on in a social vacuum. Behavior changes over time, and over different situations.

These factors, and individual differences, make research findings reliable for a limited time only. • Are traditional scientific methods appropriate for studying human behavior? When psychologists operationalize their IV, it is highly likely that this is reductionist, mechanistic, subjective, or just wrong. Operationalizing variables refers to how you will define and measure a specific variable as it is used in your study. For example, a bio psychologist may operationalize stress as an increase in heart rate, but it may be that in doing this we are removed from the human experience of what we are studying.

The same goes for causality. Experiments are keen to establish that X causes Y, but taking this deterministic view means that we ignore extraneous variables, and the fact that at a different time, in a different place, we probably would not be influenced by X. There are so many variables that influence human behavior that it is impossible to control them effectively. The issue of ecological validity ties in really nicely here. • Objectivity is impossible. It is a huge problem in psychology, as it involves humans studying humans, and it is very difficult to study the behavior of people in an unbiased fashion.

Moreover, in terms of a general philosophy of science, we find it hard to be objective because we are influenced by a theoretical standpoint (Freud is a good example of this). The observer and observed are members of the same species are this creates problems of reflectivity. A behaviorist would never examine a phobia and think in terms of unconscious conflict as a cause, just like Freud would never explain it as a behavior acquired through operant conditioning. This particular viewpoint that a scientist has is called a Paradigm (Kuhn, 1970).

Kuhn argues that most scientific disciplines have one predominant paradigm that the vast majority of scientists subscribe to. Anything with several paradigms (e. g. models – theories) is a pre-science until it becomes more unified. With a myriad of paradigms within psychology, it is not the case that we have any universal laws of human behavior, and Kuhn would most definitely argue that psychology is not a science. • Verification (i. e. proof) may be impossible. We can never really, truly prove a hypothesis, we may find results to support it until the end of time, but we will never be 100% confident that it is really true.

It could be disproved at any moment. The main driving force behind this particular grumble is Karl Popper, the famous philosopher of science and advocator of falsificationism. Take the famous Popperian example hypothesis “All swans are white”. How do we know for sure that we will not see a black, green or hot pink swan in the future? So even if there has never been a sighting of a non-white swan, we still haven’t really proved our hypothesis. Popper argues that the best hypotheses are those which we can falsify – disprove. If we know something is not true, then we know something for sure. Testability: much of the subject matter in psychology is unobservable (e. g. memory) and therefore cannot be accurately measured. The fact that there are so many variables that influence human behavior that it is impossible to control the variables effectively. So, are we any closer to understanding a) what science is, and b) if psychology is a science? Unlikely. There is no definitive philosophy of science, and no flawless scientific methodology. When people use the term “Scientific” we all have a general schema of what they mean, but when we break it down in the way that we just have done, the picture is less certain.

What is science? It depends on your philosophy. Is psychology a science? It depends on your definition. So – why bother, and how do we conclude all this? Slife and Williams (1995) have tried to answer these two questions: • We need to try at least to strive for scientific methods because we need a rigorous discipline. If we abandon our search for unified methods, we’ll lose a sense of what psychology is (if we knew in the first place). • We need to keep trying to develop scientific methods that are suitable to studying human behavior – it may be that the methods adopted by the natural sciences are not appropriate for us.

Cite this Social Psychology

Social Psychology. (2016, Oct 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/social-psychology-3/

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