Psychology as a Science Essay

1153 Words Nov 15th, 2011 5 Pages
PSYCHOLOGY AS A SCIENCE

Psychology is the scientific study of the behavior of individuals and their mental processes. (Fuchs & Milar, 2002). But what makes it a scientific study? First of all, why not? Nowadays the idea of psychology as a science seems so natural to us, but it was not always like this. The late-eighteenth-century declaration that a true scientific study of the mind was not possible posed a challenge that was answered in the nineteenth century when the possibility of a scientific study of mind emerged within philosophy by the adoption of the experimental methods employed to study the physiology of the senses. (Fuchs & Milar, 2002). Christian Wolff first popularized the term psychology to
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This perspective relied heavily on the analysis of sensations and feelings through the use of introspection, a highly subjective process. Wundt believed that properly trained individuals would be able to accurately identify the mental processes that accompanied feelings, sensations and thoughts. Nowadays, the scientific process is based on the hypothetico-deductive model was proposed by Karl Popper. (Fuchs & Milar, 2002). He suggested that theories about the world should come first and these should be used to generate hypotheses which can be falsified by observations and experiment. So, what is theory? Theory is an organized system of assumptions and principles that purports to explain a specified set of phenomena or their interrelationships. (Blumenthal, A., 1985). A scientific theory is not a guess arrived at in the absence of facts, it is a very high-order explanation that integrates all known pertinent facts. They also serve as a basis for the prediction of future facts. Talking about scientific theories, principle of falsification is very important, which states, that scientific theory must make predictions that are specific enough to expose the theory to the possibility of disconfirmation; that is the theory must predict not only what will happen, but also what will not happen. Thus if a theory doesn't make testable predictions, or if the tests are not practical, or if the tests cannot lead to a clear outcome that

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