(a) Sally had just completed a course in psychology and was telling her friend Nisha, how interesting she found the “scientific study of behaviour”. Nisha comments, “I did not know that psychology is a scientific subject”. Identify and outline one reason Sally could give Nisha to show that psychology is scientific. (3 marks)
Science has replication, for example students who do the scientific test to see whether a substance is an acid or an alkali takes place every year in thousands of different schools across the country. Also the experiment must have also been done hundreds of years ago to discover what acids and alkalis actually are. If a psychologist does an experiment then it would be published, therefore other psychologists (if they criticised the experiment) would have the opportunity to replicate the experiment to see if they come to the same conclusion.
For example Sir C Bart set up an experiment which looked into intelligence, he found that intelligence is mainly inherited therefore he set up grammar schools in 1944. However a few years later Leon Karnin went back and replicated the experiment to which he found lots of inconsistencies. Thus on the basis of replication psychology can be seen to be a scientific subject.
(b) Identify and outline one contribution of Wundt to the development of psychology. (3 marks) Wundt wanted to establish psychology as a scientific discipline therefore he created the first psychology laboratory. The creation of the lab influenced the development of the subject, as it later resulted in psychological laboratories being set up elsewhere in America, Great Britain and also Europe. Whilst Wundt’s methods (Introspection) became regarded as not sufficiently objective, the idea that people needed to be studied under controlled conditions was highly influential.
(c) The following is a statement illustrating a commonly held point of view: “Women are more emotional than men”. With reference to the above statement, explain how scientific psychology differs from common-sense views. (4 marks) Most psychologists trey to work within the framework of the scientific method with emphasis on the need for objectivity and empirical evidence, whereas the common sense approach shows people in their everyday lives that attempt to understand and explain the behaviour of others using subjective personal experience.
Psychologists also try to offer operational definitions, clear and testable statements that enable replication, compared to the common sense views that words in everyday use have a number of meanings that are open to interpretation. Psychologists try to collect data in an objective way using established methods (experiments) whereas the common sense view would be that information gathered is subjective as it is normally based on personal experience and/or hearsay. Psychologists also try to develop theories that are testable, whereas on the other hand common sense views are normally based on inadequate or incomplete evidence, they may contain elements of the truth but common sense views are normally vague.