Common Sense vs Psychology

Topics: Psychology, Theory, Scientific method Pages: 2 (468 words) Published: August 9, 2011
Common Sense vs. Psychology

According to the English Encarta Dictionary psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and mental states, and of human and animal behaviour, while common sense is defined as a sound practical judgement derived from experience rather than study. It is evident from the two contrasting definitions that common sense and psychology are not one in the same (that is not to say that they have no relation to each other). Psychology is science based and looks for evidentiary support to validate theories and hypothesises. It also tries to take into account as many factors as possible when doing so like, for example, personality factors. Common sense on the other hand does not take into account such factors, so in cases where common sense logic cannot apply one will either attempt to find another rational, common sense explanation or one concludes that the situation simply does not make sense and one accepts it as an anomaly. The science behind psychology helps to find explanations and conclusions that are consistent and predictive unlike the inconsistency of common sense.

Common sense consists of what people in common would agree on as their common understanding of something. There is no scientific support behind this supposed knowledge as it is often nothing more than a general consensus. Common sense can often be contradictory of itself for example “birds of a feather flock together” and “opposites attract”. Merely by looking into commonsensical proverbs such as these it is apparent that common sense is fickle and commonly used only to explain behaviours that are otherwise inexplicable. As well as being inconsistent common sense often works on hindsight rather than fact.

Though there are many distinctions between psychology and common sense it cannot be denied that the two do intersect with one another. In situations where behaviour is difficult to comprehend at face value, psychology will not simply attach an assumptive...
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