Honestly, before I studied psychology, I just like other people. I thought the psychologists could read people’s minds, they could tell what is people’s thoughts just by looking at their emotions and behaviors. After I got into the class, I changed my mind.
“Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes,” said Laura A. King in The Science of Psychology: An Appreciative View. Even for one who never attended school, he or knows that not only the disciplines of physics and chemistry are scientific subjects, but also they represent science. Unlike psychology, people could not define it. In my opinion, psychology is a science, because psychology followed the scientific method.
According to dictionary.com, the definition of science is “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation”, and psychology is the science of data collection and statistical analysis based on scientific methods. “It is the use of the scientific method that makes psychology a science (Fuchs & Evans, 2013; Rosnow & Rosenthal).”
To prove or find out some theories, the psychologist would follow five steps of the scientific method (King, 2007). Firstly, start observing some phenomena, like one read the textbook before class so one gets a previous view and knows what is going on. Secondly, formulating hypotheses and predictions, which is make some statements, like a sports team said they are going to win tomorrow, there is a chance the team might lose the game. A hypothesis could be tested, it might be right or it might be wrong. Thirdly, Testing through empirical research, like one use calculator to finish and double-check the math homework. Fourthly, draw conclusions, based on all the data psychologists got they could conclude. Finally, evaluating the theory, a theory is a reliable result and people could depend on it. For example, if I try to verify the relationship between moisture and mold growth. There are many things that mold in the rainy season, soI may make an exception that water can promote mold growth. Then, I need to design an experiment that is according to my hypothesis. Two pieces of bread, one sprays daily and one does not. After that, I could be able to analyze the experiment results and draw the conclusion that water can promote mold growth.
The theory of psychology is based on data, which is pretty much the same as other scientific subjects, and it could be tested. It is recognized that biology, physics, and chemistry are science, and they all have three common features (Price, Jhangiani, & Chiang, 2015). The first one is systematic empiricism, which is objectively observing the world, observing facts, observing phenomena, proposing various problems, and then using systematic and rigorous methods to get answers and draw conclusions. The second one is empirical questions, all questions raised within the scope of the subject are based on empiricism and testable. The third one is to publish knowledge, scientists would open their research conclusions for others to test and correct which is falsified. Without these three features, they are just pseudoscience. Psychologists study human behaviors and mental processes, they studied some problems that can be proved by rigorous research methods are proposed through observation. After the experiment and data analysis, the researchers publish some substantive research contents for everyone to learn, and also ask questions and further verify it’s scientific and rational. From this point, psychology is a science.
From my point of view, science is the most reliable way for humans to explore the world, it is more like an attitude or a method. And science only reflects many different aspects of understanding different things, because scientific things have their paradox. In terms of psychology, there are logical relationships, scientific experiments, and statistical methods, therefore, psychology is certainly a science.
In conclusion, I think psychology is a science because psychologists follow the scientific method and psychology have three similarly feature with physics, biology, and nutrition. Experiments are just tools that are not the ultimate goal, and science is not the highest pursuit, the most important thing is to know yourself.
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