Essay Example on Why Psychology Is Not a Science

Published: 2019-10-28
Essay Example on Why Psychology Is Not a Science
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Psychology Science
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 902 words
8 min read

Psychology is defined as the scientific study of human conducts and cognitive procedures. Psychology is divided into different branches which are credited with a distinct set of focus with critical consideration of whether each is scientific or not. However, the definition of psychology has been subject to many dynamics across different times mainly as a result of contributions and influences of its main theoretical orientations. Different approaches in psychology must be perceived as independent disciplines as well as distinct facets of a common discipline. For instance, Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, (2014) argued that a discipline can be legitimately recognized as a science if most of its workers concede to the same paradigm or global perception. In this regard, psychology is often considered a pre-paradigmatic since it lacks paradigms hence leveled at a state of pre-science.

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Whether psychology entails a paradigm, however, is highly contentious. Some experts believe that psychology has been undergoing through revolution till its current state of normal science. In this regard, this perspective provides an assertion that the current paradigm is the cognitive psychology. On the other hand, psychology is also perceived to contain numerous paradigms. For instance, according to Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi (2014), psychoanalysis, cognitive-developmental approach and behaviorism are not sciences as have been previously considered. In this regard, the latter methods which are considered paradigms imply that psychology does not qualify as a science.

For any discipline to be eligible as a science, it must possess a definable subject matter. This aspect has been dynamic in the sense that it changed from a conscious human idea to a human and natural behavior. This process finally collapses into a cognitive process in psychology. Any science must entail hypotheses as well as the property of assessment. This process comprises of individual propositions of behaviors under specific conditions which psychology does not embrace. For instance, for psychology to be considered a science, it must have the quality of proposition that the combination of rat sound and that of a steel bang on the rats head will cause a child to fear rats. Besides, scientific methods also use empirical approaches for data collection pertinent to hypothesis under test (Brinkmann, 2014). Although this is possible in the majority of psychological experiments including brain scanning for dementia patients, this process does not generate any empirically defined results for practical verification purposes.

In addition, science is aimed at achieving specific objectives devoid of biases. As a result, any scientific process must avoid confinement to values which psychology encompasses but rather discover truths about the questions of the study. Psychology is not confined to scientific evaluations (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2014). For instance, in the diagnosis of dementia in a patient by a psychologist, one of the interpretations could be hearing voices based on spiritual and historical perspectives. On the other hand, a medical practitioner may diagnose dementia or schizophrenia. This implies that psychological perspective is not scientific as the psychologist is subject to personal views and biases as well as cultural aspects that influence their perceptions for which science is independent of (Brinkmann, 2014). In many instances, experts argue that scientific study of human behavior is undesirable.

Psychology as a science is also unclear and virtually confusing. Psychology is not a science since it does not focus on scientific principles aimed at measuring the entire world. Across the majority of areas of consideration, there have been no attempts to make general remarks from certain human behaviors or all. In particular, the social representation theory focuses on humanistic and interaction theories based on individual experiences and self-actualization. For example, in instances of interactions between people and their experiences, scientific approaches are useless. This includes strategies used in unstructured interviews and case studies which are used in psychology Giorgi, A. (2009). In case an approach is unscientific, it focuses on validity, qualitative data as well as precious data based on combined variables. These are some of the elements that psychology constitutes hence, not a science.

There are four main approaches regarded as scientific namely: behavioral, physiological, cognitive and cognitive-developmental. Although psychology focuses on these approaches, it also entrenched in humanistic and psychodynamic perspectives which are considered ideographic since they focus on individual differences as opposed to universal principles. The social method adopted in psychology can be perceived as intermediate though it considers strong elements of science that are integrated into psychology. For example, treating some mental disorders focuses on both social and environmental aspects (Brinkmann, 2014). However, the biological approach is perceived as scientific since it focuses on biological functioning regarding every individual as well as solutions applied to it.

Finally, the majority of methods posit psychology as a science. However, for psychology to be categorized as a science, every perspective taken in psychology must be taken as a science which is not the case. For example, as stated earlier, the humanistic approach applying between psychodynamic and behaviorism are ideographic in nature since they consider holistic and individual approach as it focuses on the whole person. On the contrary, scientific methods regarding general laws do not capture active interaction with people. Consequently, the humanistic approaches use non-scientific methods. In this regard, psychology is not a science as it does not align to traditional scientific specifications that science entails.


Brinkmann, S. (2014). Interview (pp. 1008-1010). Springer New York.Giorgi, A. (2009). The descriptive phenomenological method in psychology: A modifiedHusserlian approach. Duquesne University Press.

Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Positive psychology: An introduction (pp. 279298). Springer Netherlands.

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