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Anthropology and Sociology don't emphasize the scientific method? Anthropology (particulalry physical anthropology) is more science-based than psychology, and sociology is at least on a par with psychology. Behaviorism is the only branch of psychology that is rigorously science-based, but its usefulness in clinical practice is limited. PoorEd 09:05, 26 February 2008 (EST)

Neuropsychology? Cognitive psychology? Comparative psychology? Evolutionary psychology? None of these approach the "rigorous" standards of behavioral psychology? EnVe 19:45, 26 February 2008 (EST)
I suppose I should be more tolerant of the social sciences' claim to rigorous scientific method. And you are quite right. I wouldn't be able to make a case for the superiority of any of the branches of psychology when it comes to their relative scientific merit. But I'd be curious as to why you would consider any of them more scientific than anthropology. PoorEd 21:16, 26 February 2008 (EST)
Depends on what sub-field of anthropology we are talking about. Until recently the dominance of cultural anthropology has been the major determent. But with the rise of human evolutionary anthropology, ecological anthropology I think things are improving. Sociology still seems to be mostly arm-chair theorizing but more and more are actually going to census records and other sources of data to try and ground their conclusions in something more...rigorous. I would still say psychology has inherited many less than scientific ideas and procedures but with increasing dominance of evolutionary ideas and neuroscience influence (particularly imaging methods!) this should fade to the fringe very soon. EnVe 22:13, 26 February 2008 (EST)
You seem to diregard the dependance of both evolutionaly psychology and neuropsychology on subjective determinations about states of mind and emotion - otherwise it is physiology and not psychology. I'm not suggesting they are not sciences, at least of the 'soft' variety, and worthwhile endeavors. I didn't know that cultural anthropology, a grab bag of miscellaneous social sciences, was the dominant field in anthropolgy - in that I must have been mistaken. I guess I would like to suggest that the claim made in the article that psychology is more scientific than other social sciences is out of place and unnecessary. Instead of making a negative comparison to other social sciences which might be contested by scientists in those fields, I'd suggst you put more emphasis on establishing psychology's claim to scientific rigour. PoorEd 08:29, 27 February 2008 (EST)
What is it you would call "hard science"? I fail to see how self-reports, behavioral observations, neuroimaging, drug manipulation, etc. produce observations that are empirically inferior to any other science. Certainly a lot more concrete than much of physics which has traditional been put forth as the ideal of "hard science." EnVe 11:02, 27 February 2008 (EST)

Is Psychology mostly bullshit?[edit]

Considering we know so little about the brain, and that every year psychologists 'discover' a host of new 'ailments' and add it to their diagnostic guide, and since they seem to delight in pathologising the great mass of humanity who happen to have slight difference compared with some supposed 'normative' idealised person... my question is quite simple - is psychology mostly bullshit? Apart from extreme mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and certain types of mania/major depression, I simply cannot conceive why so many people are in hoc to these people, why they allow them to categorise them so thoroughly. Humanity is an infinitely complex and little understood entity, and will remain so until we can really figure out what is going on inside our brains. Just my two cents, for what its worth. Marcus Cicero SPQR100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 20:49, 16 July 2013 (UTC) P.S- The reason why I raise this question is because many in the so called 'skeptical' community don't really bother to question the core assumptions behind psychology, which ultimately is merely a social science which has been given a veneer of scientific respectability. Marcus Cicero SPQR100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 20:50, 16 July 2013 (UTC) P.P.S- I also hate it when the psycho-analysts start tearing apart my favourite books. Marcus Cicero SPQR100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 20:51, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

I think you need to start by dealing with the differences between psychology and psychiatry. The bus came by/and I got on.Moderator 20:58, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
Fair enough I suppose. I'm aggrieved by the inherent belief by many in the community who seem to think the vast majority of people have some kind of condition as opposed to merely being 'different'. Marcus Cicero SPQR100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 21:01, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
I'd say that there's a difference between people simply being different and experiencing distress/impairment. Is someone who is nervous speaking in front of people pathological? Probably not. What about someone who has a panic attack at the mere thought of speaking in public? What if it makes them unable to fulfill the obligations of their job? I agree that the American Psychiatric Association has gone overboard but you have an odd picture of psychology. There is vast amounts of research showing that many of these problems are serious and that we can treat them to a significant. I'd also point that a lot of this categorization that you complain of has more to do with the insurance companies than it has to do with us. We hate it too for the most part. Ayzmo (talk) 00:30, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Worth pointing that Psychology has mostly been interested in areas unrelated to pathology. The common perception of a psychologist as a health professional is not entirely accurate, although clinical psychology is increasingly dominating the field.
The objection that illness exists on a spectrum is a sophomoric issue - Yes being ill is a binary label applied to a situation with shades of grey. However, being comatose with a cold is not usually challenged on the grounds that you are just at the extremely low end of physical functioning and therefore not ill. If you feel that illness is too pejorative a term to be applied to a person then you don't have a problem with psychology, rather you want to challenge the whole of medicine (with a semantic argument no less). Good luck with that. Tielec01 (talk) 02:10, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Branches of psych[edit]

I wouldn't call psychodynamic models (yup, model. It doesn't even rise to theory!) as a main branch of psychology.

Outside of what is known as Brief Psychodynamic Treatment/Intervention, it is rarely even used. When it it, it is reframed in cognitive and other theories terms (think Newtonian elaborations of Galileo's inertia law). While the treatment resembles (I suppose it's a bit superstitious in the behaviorist definition) the treatment of psychodynamic treatment of yore, it is grounded in actual testable, predictive cognitive and neurobiological models.

So the point I am trying to make is that it is a false dichotomy to state that there are two branches.

It makes a lot more sense to state that cognitive and neuropsychological psychology is the dominant paradigm, but that practitioners use differing tools, some of which descend (with modification) from psychodynamic models, reframed to comport with evidence-based treatment (though which lacks support form *me* and much of modern psychology).

Pure behaviorism, is, by and large, dead, save for a few elderly holdouts (Dick Malott comes to mind, pronounced mal-OH). Cognitive psychology has subsumed the working parts, interjected the "behind the scenes", and jettisoned the "black-box" model of the mind. And it is no longer referred to as "Cognitive-behavioral" outside the name of the therapeutic approach, which descends from the outcomes which CBT aims to treat. Pure behaviorism, however, works for young children and animals, just not by the mechanisms behaviorism posits - it is basically little more than superstitious pseudoscience (because of the lack of falsifiability because of the appeal to the black-box of the mind, the fact that it nothing more than circular reasoning/tautology/specious reasoning, and that it is a science-stopper/handwave/escape hatch). Only when informed by cognitive models and neuroscience do the effects make sense because of the predictive and explanatory power the underlying models have because of convergent lines of evidence from the interdisciplinary fields.

Further, the article makes mention of DBT, which shows early successes in some treatment, but is far form the panacea it is hailed to be.

I'll try to reformulate this when it is not 0248R, but I'd like to build consensus before I dive into the article to address these concerns. Kassorlae (talk) 06:58, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

As a psych doctoral student I find your analysis a bit off. Psychodynamic is far from dead and is not exactly uncommon. It is uncommonly taught in most graduate programs at this point, but many practicing psychologists (and psychiatrists) still operate from a psychodynamic orientation. Most of my professors and supervisors have by at least somewhat psychodynamic. Behavior therapy isn't dead either. There are a ton of graduate programs that specialize in Applied Behavior Analysis. Behavior therapy is almost the only modality for working with children with severe autism.
I wouldn't say that there are two branches. I would say that there are more arguably three: Psychodynamic, Behavioral, and Cognitive. There's a ton of overlap between them and you can get into the different waves of each(ACT being 3rd wave behavioral therapy, for instance).
Frankly, I rather disagree with most of your points. I don't even understand your distinction between "theory" and "model" since it doesn't go along the lines of anything I've ever learned in grad school. A theory is an overall encapsulation of a theoretical orientation and how it works. A model is how that theory applies to a specific problem (eg. Clark's model of panic). Ayzmo (talk) 22:59, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Hi Azymo,
First, I'm going to adress your last comment. Of course I am going to deride the non-science portions of psychology (e.g. psychodynamic) since they fail to even be considered a scientific theory. Falsifiability is virtually non-existent, as is the lack of inter-rater validity. Generally, though, behaviorism has been subsumed into cognitive psychology - which makes specific, testable predictions.
And no, a cognition is not just a behavior in the same way that extinction is just one way of utilizing a schema. You can say the Earth orbits around the sun because of gravity or that there is a herd of invisible unicorns tows the Earth around the sun. They can look the same - really there would be no difference - but it's completely unfalsifiable. Then, I suppose, why does behaviorism work well with developmental d/o, autism, and pets? It's because of the development of the PFC and the central executive, or lack thereof. But that is kind of my point - that psych can only really survive by becoming an interdisciplinary field.
The article needs work. I think we can both agree on that. I would rather the article highlight the last 10-15 years of methodological naturalism, empiricism, and rationality rather than try to hang on to the baggage of a coke-head obsessed with his mother (he had a nanny, so perhaps his cognitions did not "count" his mother as kin) or a mystical-obsessed student of his (which is basically D&D). I would rather it discuss much of the work of scientists in a way that we do not confuse lauding of the work with worship of the individual. In the same way as Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica does not validate Newton's alchemical work, nor does his stature make him the only authority on macroscopic mechanics.
Does that make sense?
Would you like to discuss division of labor on improving this article? I do not have a background in clinical psy (except from working at McLean Hospital), so any input would be welcome. And it would be a vast improvement over what's on there now! Kassorlae (talk) 15:13, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Some of that makes sense. However, I think you lose too much if you disregard everything before the last 10-15 years. You can't just ignore Freud and Rogers because they didn't make testable predictions. Their work has had a lasting impact on psychology(both actual and the public perception) that cannot be disregarded. And, as much as it pains me, Freud wasn't always wrong. He made lasting contributions. I still disagree with you on behavioralism. Behavioral activation, sleep hygiene, etc. are all methods that are commonly used and well validated in studies. I would, however, like to see science played up more. The common conception of psychology is of Freudian/Rogerian therapy when there is so much more. I'd be happy to work with you on improving the article if we can. Cheers. Ayzmo (talk) 17:55, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

I also wonder about the definition. Perhaps 'the scientific study of behaviour and cognition' rather than putting in the stuff about the human mind. Psychology is not only focussed on the humans. Dbrodbeck (talk) 15:31, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

(User talk:Dbrodbeck) - actually, non-human psychology forms the core of an interdisciplinary field of psychobiology (which includes dolphins, &c.).
My "vision" - and feel free to disagree and propose a new outline - would open in nearly the same way most Chem textbooks begin with how alchemy turned into the natural science of Chem.
History of Psych, the beginnings
New ideas (Behaviorism)
A paradigm in crisis (the "Cognitive Revolution")
(why, and) Integration with the natural sciences (biopsych (biology of psychology), psychobio (psych of other animals), NeuroPysch (brain areas and localization/lateralization of function), psychopharmacology/psychobiopharmacology (designing/using psychoactive substances for X), EvoPsy (integration with evoBio) {{(even this could just be a table or Punnet square (psych x chem) - similar to microbio/botany notation of species hybrids. In my view, modern psych cannot survive unless it is a part of an interdisciplinary field. Psych x Engineering make those machines that that woman at Harvard used that robot to get her a coke from a paralyzed state!}}
What happens when these go wrong (and AbPsy, if you so choose)
A list of either ongoing or open research questions, including a critique of past/present, &c.
Let me know how you think. This should be a productive brain-rain session! I may have more time, but don't let me dominate the discussion! Kassorlae (talk) 19:20, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I wouldn't be automatically against it, but that sounds more like a long-term evolutionary goal as those components get added in. Short-term, it serves as the straight man to various flavors of woo and, in the end, that's more of the RW mission than a detailed history. MarmotHead (talk) 19:28, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Hey MarmotHead, my ultimate goal is to be able to debunk the pop-psy perception of psych (Go ahead, watch any show that mentions Psych 101 and the "id". C'mon. Grab a bottle, put an "id" inside, and show me what an "id" looks like. I'll settle for an fMRI with the word "id" scribbled somewhere. I dare ya! ;)
To me, it's the height of arrogance to say that humans are unique, rather than social, abstract primates. In that case, being able to understand the emergence of meta-cognition to examine our own cognition - why resorting to "magic" is no longer good enough, while simultaneously explaining that there are real psych d/o's, but they have organic causes (and that every organic problem has an organic solution, in principle), is my tiny, tiny rational crusade.
I wanted to bring to the article a bit more than someone who's just taken Psych101 can, so that someone reading it can go "oh, there is a way of chaining all this to a natural science, and it is an explanation that does not need to resort to superstition or magic". Just my two lucky loones. But not a toonie. Canadians!:) Kassorlae (talk) 20:03, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Comparative psychology, for example, is not about humans, hardly at all. The study of animal cognition is done by psychologists. Dbrodbeck (talk) 21:11, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I went to an undergrad school with a very heavy marine bio program - they lumped all that into psychobiology - they trained seals or dolphins or whatever mammal lives in Maine. I worked in a lab where we fed rats opioids, then killed them and used fluorescent tags on microtome slices to analyze both network and structure changes in the ACC of the brain. We called that neurobiology (neurology x biology). I suppose it depends on what definition and what primary field is being crossed with what to determine the name of the interdisciplinary field. It is my understanding that comparative psych is really the forerunner which has influenced evoPsych. We can fold that in to the area involving animal x human psych. I wouldn't mind redeveloping the outline to start with human psych, then animal psych, then human vs. animal psych, but I'd like to avoid redundancies. I think that a treatment of EvoPsych would pretty well cover analogous behaviors and PBO would cover animal cognition. --- Let me know any other ideas, suggestions, disagreements, &c., and we'll talk it out. Once we have a few more responses, we can start working on the outline. Wheew! Long thread!Kassorlae (talk) 21:58, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, perhaps it depends upon where you go to school. I did my undergrad, MA and PhD in a psychology department, and teach that sort of thing now. (That sort of thing being evol psych and animal learning/beahviour/cognition). I think starting generally with 'the science of behaviour and cognition' and then going from there might work. But, I am pretty new around here..... Oh, most of my work is on memory in birds, and, now and then, undergraduates... Dbrodbeck (talk) 01:02, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

So, would you like so start a thread with an outline, and we can discuss changes there? I propose we come up with alternative terms in order of what you two can agree on (e.g., psychobiology, comparative psych (vs. EvoPsych), animal cognition (which is a subfield of the above). Unless you want me to post the outline and you two can change mine and we'll incorporate those changes.

What I know about birds comes from Tim Birkfield:
It's a great book to bring in sexual selection and evolution, along with the animal behaviors that contribute to them through the lens of sperm selection - the other mechanism besides female mating choice. It is really worth a read!
As for EvoPsych, this is my favorite article: Alexander, G. M. (2003). An evolutionary perspective of sex-typed toy preferences: pink, blue, and the brain. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 7-17
This was out textbook we used:
Were I you, I'd contact the publisher (Pearson). They have a program for a free book preview or hard-copy if you're teaching it and you're in the market for a new book. I thought it was perfect, rational and concise, which is why I don't understand some of the chain of reasoning people who denigrate EvoPsych - if only they went a bit further in their reasoning and had additional data/references. Give that a try and see if you like the book! Kassorlae (talk) 05:10, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Can I chime in here, I haven't followed the entire talk page conversation, but I agree the article is woeful. The problem is that properly well-conducted psychology is not very on-mission. It's the bullshit pop psychology that coverage will naturally gravitate towards here. Alot of non-academic EvoPsych spouted by people, such as MRAs, IS horrible, and apparently so is some academic EvoPsych (I've never been too interested in it personally). Anyway, be bold - make some changes - the worst that can happen is someone will roll your changes back, a fight will ensue, you will track someone down to their IRL home and kill them which sparks the first Canadian-USA war leading to a nuclear winter. Tielec01 (talk) 05:50, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, the problem with the lunatic fringe in Ev Psych is that it is a really distasteful bunch, gives the rest of us a bad name...... Dbrodbeck (talk) 12:29, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks User:Tielec01, I'll be able to sleep at night now! Tell me another bedtime story!
Dbrodbeck, I've faced the same types of criticism. I just mention the accretion of evidence, from the homologous FOXP2 gene in language, in environment of living mammals and their behaviors, genetics of NHP (non-human primates), and the neurological systems we share with most mammals. Interpreted properly (such as the emergence of trichromatic vision, duplication in females [who also have a more bilateral language center], and the continued existence of dichromatic vision [color blindness - why does it persist in the gene pool if it's 'bad' - because it's better at seeing through predator {just not the Preadator! He's in the UV!} camouflage!], and the ratio of magnocellular and parvocellular cells in the retina [which is sexual dimorphic in the ratios - which means that males have more large-field {magnocellular} retinal ganglion cells which are "better" for movement and large visual fields - compared to females who have more small-field {parvocellular} retinal ganglion cells do "better" at small, discrete details. We all have both types of retinal ganglion cells, but in different proportions. That's no mere speculation only about the EEA, that's convergent evidence, where multiple lines of reasoning reinforce the same conclusion. Kassorlae (talk) 13:54, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

So, basically...[edit]

Most skeptics consider psychology to be a bunch of pseudoscientific bullshit, but psychologists cannot make any experiments without inciting the wrath of human rights defenders, with the ethical considerations and what not. So what the hell are we supposed todo?— Unsigned, by: / talk 19:19, 22 October 2014‎ (UTC)

Not only that, but most experiments cannot be replicated, humans are beings with too much variables attached.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 15:22, 29 October 2014‎ (UTC)
Yeah, that BoN is basically nuts. It's a well recognized soft science with lots of useful, empirical insights into both human and animal behavior. You might as well say that "Most medical experiments cannot be replicated, human bodies are beings with too much variables attached." Controlled experiments can and do focus on changing a single factor to measure its effect. Ikanreed (talk) 15:32, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Good luck making experiments on people without letting ethics get in the way, through.

Yes, Psychology is mostly bullshit indeed.[edit]

Concluding evidence has been gathered: First results from psychology’s largest reproducibility test |

"...An ambitious effort to replicate 100 research findings in psychology ... suggest that key findings from only 39 of the published studies could be reproduced..."

Psychology fails the reproducibility test miserably, therefore it's a glorified form of woo. Now this bandwagon site can join the new bandwagon and redraft the article accordingly. (talk) 10:36, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

I wonder what the second line of the article says. Ah, here it is: "But the situation is more nuanced than the top-line numbers suggest." Other parts of the article suggest the overall situation needs improvement but is not significantly worse than other sciences.--SpecialFFrog (talk) 12:18, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Indeed, you can "nuance" a pig into a top model if you try hard but the stench is the stench. Everyone has a "nuance" and an asshole (some have more) but there's only one set of hard data. (talk) 13:32, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
And have you looked at the hard data or just read the one article you linked and decided that only the headline matters? --SpecialFFrog (talk) 13:36, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
No, it's actually the "nuances" in the second line that matter. You give a fuck about data? (talk) 14:03, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure what you are trying to say. As a general rule, if an article starts with a bold -- almost sensationalist -- headline and then backs away from it in the second sentence, it is worth reading the entire article before drawing a conclusion. The overall conclusion of the article is much weaker than you are pretending. If your only basis for your conclusion is the article -- which is clearly the case -- then your conclusion is just plain wrong. And yes, I do give a fuck about the data. Possibly several.--SpecialFFrog (talk) 14:11, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Oh and do be warned that a post consisting strictly of antagonism that fails to directly answer that question will result in a nice short break for you to formulate your answer. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 13:41, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
We need to remember that 145 denies the existence of a measles virus - calls it as likely as a laziness virus. When one's knowledge of medical science is so out of kilter it's hard to take his ideas seriously. In fact, my suspicion is that he's just trolling. Doxys Midnight Runner (talk) 13:46, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
The clown above is the one that failed to provide scientific evidence of a viral cause for measles. He's so sore ever since that now he resorts to harrassing. Evidence is no longer his talking point, now it's his battered ego what matters. (talk) 14:03, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
I know. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 13:56, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

The Picture[edit]

The bar graph is not an example of modern Psychology and should be removed. In order for a study to be considered Psychology, variables have to be operationalized and made to be objective. No peer-reviewed Psychology study will look like that ridiculous bar graph.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

On talk pages, please sign your comments using four tildes (~~~~) or by clicking on the sign button: SigButt.png on the toolbar above the edit panel. You can also indent successive talk page comments using one more colon (:) for each line. Thank you.
The bar graph is there for purposes of hilarity and should stay. RationalWiki has a sense of humor. However, actual psychology graphs should be added, certainly. But that one stays for the snark. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 00:11, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

The brain is a physical entity[edit]

Take for example the treatment of cancer patients. In chemotherapy, you take drugs one after another to see what works by trial and error. The feedback is whether or not the cancer "get bigger or smaller". Cancer patients with way more cash can use personalized medicine.Wikipedia's W.svg This is where doctors actually analyze your genome and see what is actually causing your cancer. Honestly, this is where psychiatry fails. Psychiatry does follow the scientific method, but it's does not use the most superior method to understand the brain. It's like studying a car without actually opening it up.—Hamburguesa con queso con un cara Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 18:39, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

Honestly, my problem with psychology lies within the fact that it doesn't work as a cure for any mental illness. In the end, mental disorders are actually physical disorders within the brain, and you can't expect to change this with talk or behaviour alone. That's why I favour drugs or more "invasive" methods, because they affect the physical brain, thus changing the thoughts and the way the mind works (or they SHOULD, at least... I don't know if the current drugs works as well as they say it works) . Talk/behaviour therapy is nothing more than placebo. Eusebio Ptolomeu (talk) 00:30, 30 January 2018 (UTC)
The problem with mental disorders that it's very difficult to diagnose properly because unlike physical ailments, you can only really get results after making people take tests and responding to certain questions. I technically had ADHD my entire life but I wasn't diagnosed until middle school, with many people not being diagnosed even later in life. I think a combination of both psychology and some medince if applicable are the best solutions, but no solution is the one-size-fits all for problems, since it varies from individual to individual. some people respond better to therapy than others, some people need medicine, others don't, and so on. БaбyЛuigiOнФire(T|C) 01:50, 30 January 2018 (UTC)
Yes, but it doesn't make sense, all of these mental conditions, in my opinion, should be considered diseases just like everything else, since there are biomarkers of such conditions in the physical brain. Scezophrenia, depression, OCD, ADHD, all of them begins with a physical problem within the brain, the thoughts, behaviours, hallucinations, they're all just a consequence of a physical problem in the brain structure. So, these being all physical problem, we should address then physically, and words can't do that. Eusebio Ptolomeu (talk) 10:19, 31 January 2018 (UTC) Articles like this one just make me think that we are putting to much faith on psycotherapies. As I said, all mental disorders are really physical problems within the brain, so we should treat them physically Eusebio Ptolomeu (talk) 08:12, 16 February 2018 (UTC)