Topics: Psychology, Scientific method, Jean Piaget Pages: 14 (5108 words) Published: March 31, 2013
Psychology is a discipline that applies scientific analysis in order to comprehend, predict and control cognition processes and human behaviour. Psychology endeavours to explain why humans behave the way they do and what leads to their behaviour, it then attempts to predict and modify behaviour. Psychology is defined by Merriam Webster as “a Science as the knowledge of the discipline is acquired by the means of scientific methods” (www.merriam-webster.com, 05.03.2012). Rather than speculating or relying on fictitious accounts concerning the phenomena, Psychologist use scientific methods to procure empirical evidence via sensory experience in order to encompass scientific foundations. The use of scientific methods avails to fulfil a main aim of Psychology, which is to determine a distinction between pseudoscience and scientific reality. In order to separate pseudoscience from scientific reality a series of procedures need to be applied to the phenomena. The outset of the procedure is to define and describe the variables of the phenomena by conducting empirical observations, in order to formulate a hypothesis. A hypothesis is then formulated by evaluating the collected data, with the use of educated assumptions. Empirical observations will assist psychologists to investigate the origins of the phenomenon and advance an explanation as to why the phenomenon is present and also make predictions on future behaviours. Most importantly a hypothesis must be testable; if it is not testable it would be discarded as a theory, as it bears no scientific foundations. Upon testing the hypothesis psychologist would design a research method which will encompass creativity and flexibility that would make the investigation informative and comprehensive to avoid reactivity of the subject. There are numerous research methods which subsume of case studies, experiments, observational studies, questionnaires and interviews. With the collected data from the research methods psychologists would analyse, conclude and attempt to modify future behaviours based on the evidence obtain throughout the procedures. The goal of hypothesis testing is theory development, the predictions of the hypothesis must agree with the research method findings in order to support the hypothesis. Should the results not concur to the predictions this would refute the hypothesis and it would be discarded as a theory. The main advantage of the scientific approach is the Clarity and precision of the collected data, which is based on direct observations and experiments and not generalized assumptions. The consistency of the study should have the ability to for other psychologist produce the same findings in order for it to be considered a theory. The notion of critical thinking is an aim in Psychology which interlinks by distinguishing pseudoscience with scientific reality. It involves the ability and willingness to assess and investigate claims and make objective judgments based on empirical and scientific evidence, rather than emotions and anecdote. Vincent Ruggiero (1988) stated “the trigger mechanism for creative thinking is the disposition to be curious, to wonder and enquire” cited inWade (2002:P4) Critical thinking is fundamental to all sciences as psychologist will be able to look for flaws in arguments and resist claims that have no support. They must possess the ability to be creative, constructive and produce alternative explanations for events. Critical thinking subsumes of eight essential components, which need to be addressed and questioned in order to critically think. Psychologist must be willing to wonder and ask meaningful questions or identify a significant problem. Psychologists use their basic level of acquisition of knowledge to ask questions in regards to the origins and occurrence of the phenomenon. Their willingness to wonder widens their perspective and broadens knowledge of the subject. Therefore Psychologists are willing to do the work required...
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