Advantages of the Scientific Approach in Psychology

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Historically psychology was not considered a science however Karl Popper thought otherwise and believed that it should become more like a science so that theories could be tested and proved right or wrong to make it more valid. One advantage of using the scientific method in psychology is that it can be falsified. This means that it can be proven wrong. The aim of the scientific method is to test a hypothesis by falsifying it i.e. rejecting the null hypothesis. This is an advantage because it is not possible to prove a hypothesis correct but you can prove it wrong. For example the main objection to Freud’s theory is that it is difficult to falsify. A good theory is one that we can prove wrong. Popper (1935) produced the hypothetico-deductive method which argued that falsification is the only way to be certain that a hypothesis is correct. He said that “No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is enough to refute that conclusion”. In other words you cannot prove a theory right – you can only falsify a theory. Another advantage of the scientific approach is that it is objective. For research to be considered reliable any judgements findings or explanations must be based on observable phenomena, they must not be influenced by emotions or personal prejudices. An experimenter could allow for greater objectivity through using standardised procedures and instructions. This is an advantage because without objectivity we have no way of being certain that data collected is valid. For example Gardener and Gardener (1969) In this study the experimenters might have judged that Washoe was using real words because they wanted her to succeed. This would mean that they were being subjective. Applying and analysing the research in a way that is affected by a researcher’s emotions and prejudices. One final advantage of the scientific approach is that it can be replicated. Replication is...
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