Laboratory experiments could be said to be the only true experimental method; they are the only method which manipulates an independent variable (IV) and measures it’s effect on the dependent variable (DV), whilst controlling confounding variables, and gathering empirical data. Most Psychologists, to a certain extent, use a scientific method as they all try to gather evidence which will support their theories; this is unlike philosophers or theorists who purely develop theories. However, of course certain approaches within psychology use a more scientific method than others. For example, the behaviourists, cognitive and physiological psychologists all use pure scientific methods such as laboratory experiments and brain scans which produce empirical, numerical and scientific data. Other methods such as the correlational techniques (e.g. twin studies), field experiments and natural experiments all haven elements of a scientific method but fall down in other areas such as controlling confounding variables and manipulating an IV. The Psychodynamic approach probably uses the least scientific methods; its theory is based wholly on interviews, case studies and analysis. It is important to remember though that none of these approaches are purely hypothetical, even the Humanistic approach which prides itself on being idiographic has carried out experiments such as those by Coopersmith into self-esteem in children. Therefore, in terms of using a scientific method only certain Psychological approaches can be labelled truly scientific, although all do maintain elements.
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