Maybe it's just me, but it seems that more often than not people in the fields of psychology and social sciences will abuse the scientific method in order to justify their own inane BS. Am I right or wrong? Please explain, thanks.
I think you need to differentiate between the many different types of psychology. Neuropsychology is practically biology with some ee for good measure, and therefore has some pretty hard core experiments, as does some of the cognitive and behavioral stuff. Epidemiology, lots of social psych, and a good chunk of sociology, is pretty much applied statistics, which means that the papers are as valid as any other fields that rely heavy on statistics (which is most of them.) Then there's psychotherapy, which many of the neuro/cog/behavioral/stat/etc. psychologists hate precisely 'cause it is a field that's rife with unverifiable/untestable claims. It's slowly transitioning into a fringe element of psych, rather than a major school. Even a lot of clinical psych programs are moving away from Frued, Jung, and anything else that seems very unscientific.So I'd think psychology could be compared along those same lines, even if more of a soft science, but if they make falsifiable hypotheses in peer-review journals than that would be considered the scientific method.
EEG experiments run with about a 100 or more trials are pretty standard in cog-neuro experiments, though the presence or control and experimental groups depends on whether the experiment needs it.although you can't directly observe thought process, you can observable behavior, which if a type of experiment can be repeated/verified over and over again then there may be something there.
To put into context what I was trying to say about that, basically I talked to a biologist once who said psychology isn't a science because in biology you can directly see things like animals, leafs, cells, etc, but you can't directly see thought processes, even if they do use experimental-control studies. So that's why I made the mention that you can observe observable behavior in experimental-control studies, and that you can make many types of cognition "falsifiable". In areas of the natural sciences there are things we can't study directly, but are rigorously falsifiable through indirect observation and we can say "this is the best explanation for all of the evidence". Although the various areas of psychology are different, I'd say it depends on how they use their scientific method.I think you need to differentiate between the many different types of psychology....
EEG experiments run with about a 100 or more trials are pretty standard in cog-neuro experiments, though the presence or control and experimental groups depends on whether the experiment needs it.
Man, you're hanging out with the wrong psychologists if you think it's surprising that researchers would use science to test claims. The kind of study you mention isn't a novelty, it's standard and has been for ages.Just like in the Medical Field where they have an experimental and control group to control for third variables, I found it interesting the same thing was done to test hindsight bias in victim blaming.
Neuro-cog people do the same thing using EEGs, fMRIs, and a host of behavioral tests. It's really not all that different.In areas of the natural sciences there are things we can't study directly, but are rigorously falsifiable through indirect observation and we can say "this is the best explanation for all of the evidence".
I think you're understanding me out of context. That last post I made with the graphs was to the many posts on this thread which kept on saying psychology isn't science (one poster said only 5% use the scientific method). I've taken academic psychology courses which use peer-review and have looked at quite a few peer-review myself, so I just simply gave those on this thread an example to think about where an experimental-control study was used. I couldn't just say, "This is the way it is", but rather decided to be more indirect, "This is some food for thought with a reference for the graph I made." I like to treat people like independent minded intellectuals.Man, you're hanging out with the wrong psychologists if you think it's surprising that researchers would use science to test claims. The kind of study you mention isn't a novelty, it's standard and has been for ages.
When I mentioned above "Furthering this line of thinking, although you can't directly observe thought process, you can observable behavior, which if a type of experiment can be repeated/verified over and over again then there may be something there," the reason is biologists are sure to say that experiment above with the graphs isn't like biology where you can directly observe mitochondria, leaves, etc. The point I was trying to make is although that's true, many areas of the natural sciences study things not directly observed and make abstract things at the very least falsifiable and then go with the explanation that fits the evidence the best.Neuro-cog people do the same thing using EEGs, fMRIs, and a host of behavioral tests. It's really not all that different.
A lot of sociology is propaganda-type knowledge that spins concepts in a way to promote certain agendas. For example, sociology textbooks will note that spending on education is less than other spending and associate that with some other social problem, but the assumption that is taken for granted is that more spending on education automatically improves the quality of education and social life in general. It would be more scientific to investigate how education funding affects education processes, but that doesn't allow for neat statistical correlations.Psychology is somewhat of a science... yet sociology is just a backdrop for propaganda.
Sorry to burst your bubble.
I cannot agree more.The sad thing about sociology is that in an effort to gain scientific credibility, many sociologists have embraced complex statistical methods that make their research appear to be rigorous and objective when in fact what these models do is distract from critically reasoning about the theoretical assumptions in the model and background theory.
Max Weber is an early pioneer of recognizing and controlling for political and personal interests in research. Some people take his advocacy for value-freedom very superficially and think it it refers to using statistical methods that are supposed to control for researcher bias. In reality, statistics designed to appear more objective are often actually more prone to bias in that they amplify the interests behind the research questions in the first place. For example, a statistical study comparing average IQ's according to gender or ethnic categories is already biased in the direction of comparing people along those lines as opposed to, say, educational attainment, job sector, or what color car they drive. Likewise, it would contain the bias that IQ accurately measures intelligence and that average IQ of a category reflects something inherent among individuals classified as such.I think it would be enterprising to set up an experiment in psychology/sociology that would measure (be an appropriate definition) the degree of subjective bias that enters into conclusions of psychology/sociology. To this end, I would propose that the experiment should use Peer Expectations as the biasing agent. That is, the experiment would examine how published papers, say, are bias is such a way as to be judged worthy of positive references by others who also publish upon the same subject.
Is anyone getting the idea?
Andre has called this groupthink, and that's appropriate. (If you disagree on my interpretation of your meaning, Andre, let me know.) Those who fail to fit within the group will find themselves out of the group and out of a job in their profession of choice. And even before this, academic chances are diminished.
Anyone foolish enough to take up such an experiment, attacking one's support group, and truthfully publish the results, will find him/herself in similar straits. Been there; done that, many times, in similar circumstances.
Personally, I'm not such a fan of positivism in social science. I find the theoretical assumptions underpinning social research more interesting than the findings. Why is it, for example, that human individuals are able to identify with demographic data or statistical correlations? In reality, the people who are interested in sociological data about "society" are usually actually interested in understanding themselves or others as individuals, but they are uncomfortable with doing it directly so they look at "populations" instead. Ultimately, most correlations between variables translate into personality questions that really must be understood at the individual level for true validity. Yes, there are institutionalized cultural patterns that influence individuals such that their development is not totally independent of socialization, but the best way to understand these is to study culture directly, imo. Too many sociologists try to start with average behavioral or thought patterns and work their way to understanding cultural institutions, when what they should be doing is using theory to extrapolate and hypothesize what cultural institutions there are and how they work. Then they can move to the level of how individuals acquire and customize cultural resources through interpersonal and other kinds of interaction.Nowhere do you mention cooking data, which I find very common--today even, and most rewarding. It's a lot easier to start with a goose than decorate a chicken to look like a goose with words and statistics.
Then there are cases which use no data at all, and are purely gleeful imagination.
In psychology we have hypnotic regression.
In sociology, my favorite is the Social Text/Alan Sokal exposure.
Now this is what I'm talking about. There are -Isms. They have advocates. These advocates are -Ists. And this is where we part company, because no matter how many words are throw about, it doesn't change what is.Personally, I'm not such a fan of positivism in social science.
Doesn't change what what is? What I meant by "positivism" is research that treats society as an object to be studied, described, and explained as if it existed transparently without being actively modeled in one way or another. I have absolutely no interest in comparing and contrasting "positivists" and "anti-positivists," "post-positivists," "neo-positivists" or ascribing any other label of classificatory mutual-exclusivity to any research or researchers. All forms of research contain positivist elements since it is hardly possible to completely avoid objectifying social life in some way or other in order to study "it."Now this is what I'm talking about. There are -Isms. They have advocates. These advocates are -Ists. And this is where we part company, because no matter how many words are throw about, it doesn't change what is.