Psychology is not a science. And that’s a personal bias, and I will openly admit that I am fully aware of that fact that it is a bias. While it’s technically considered a “soft science,” I would like to dismiss it as a science altogether. And why would I like to dismiss this idea? Well, first and foremost, no psychology “experiment” is reproducible, and it doesn’t exactly have clear terminology either. What constitutes happiness? What is anxiety? What is insanity? And what makes us crazy? Within the parameters of the physics community, if you say velocity, everyone knows that. Physicists have a very specific way to measure velocity. There is no scale to measure things in psychology. Therapists always ask “how are you feeling today out of 10?” but its an arbitrary scale. What exactly is a 3? There is no strict, defined sense that makes psychology a unified field. Psychology's purpose is to study the human mind and functions, by studying given behaviors within an individual, but everyone can come to their own conclusion and they could all be right.
My psychology bias was probably started when I was fairly young, I was dragged to the school counselor, and then therapist and the psychiatrist and the whatever else. And everyone said a different thing, they saw things in a different way. What one doctor said was a good idea, another disagreed with and they had something else to say. I’ve always wanted to be a scientist, so I always saw things from the perspective of an astronomer or an engineer.
The terms with psychology are vague, and unquantifiable. Terms within other scientific fields are quantifiable. Speed is quantifiable, how many watts a light bulb puts out is quantifiable, temperature is quantifiable, but how depressed someone isn’t quantifiable. And that’s the thing, all diagnoses given by a psychologist can’t be proven like a doctor’s can. We can PROVE that someone has cancer or someone has pneumonia, but we can’t justify the idea that someone has generalized anxiety disorder because they’re nervous about presenting in school and meeting new people. Most people are nervous about that; nervousness is a biological result that has helped keep us out of dangerous situations and helped us stay alive. Fight or flight reaction is what has allowed the continuation of the human race. We still need to have the fight or flight reaction to be able to survive; it heightens our reaction time so can get out of dangerous situations.
Psychology has also failed to reproducible experiments with controlled variables. The thing about experiments within this field is that they can monitor brain waves and brain chemistry, but everyone is going to react in a different way because human beings appear to be arbitrary. This is also considered to be nuerology, because outside factors, genetics/pre existing medical conditions and current conditions can greatly outcome the results they get. The human mind and the human brain are far too complex for us to even begin to fathom at this point in our existence.
One of the arguments for psychology is that they can use it for forensics and to track people like serial killers and such, because they look at their past actions and then try and assume what the future actions of this person will be. I can predict a pattern, and people can be arbitrary so its not exactly accurate. There is nothing measurable or definable about the way that they track people. Sure, they can look at who the victim is and how they died or the murderer’s background and that might help them, but there is nothing to prove. There’s nothing to back them up in what they think.
Science, by definition, is a human attempt to view the world in an analytical attempt, a way to find out how nature works. Its a systematic attempt to find out what’s going on through controlled experimentation and observation. Psychology isn’t any of that. Psychology is an attempt to see how the human mind works, which is impossible. And its not through any controlled experimentation. Sure, we can see how people react to things, but its not controlled in the least. Valid experiments are reproducible and have very clear controls, psychology boasts none of those. Its all based upon how people say they feel and how they think, and people can lie. Its not accurate.
There really is no objective to psychology. They want to understand the human mind, but everyone is different so they will never be able to produce a solid theory or conclusion. We can all agree that there are four states of matter: liquid, solid, gas, and plasma. We have reached that conclusion, and we purposely chose to go and find that conclusion. The purpose of astronomy to understand the world beyond our world and to look for life beyond ours. The purpose of psychology is to understand and to control the human behavior, which is impossible. We can’t control what people are going to do, and we aren’t always going to understand why people do things. There isn’t always a reason as to why we do the things we do.
It would be almost near impossible to have a full unification in psychology. Depression and PTSD and anxiety all affect people in different ways. And then because it affects everyone in a different way, there’s different ways to deal with it or treat it. And then there’s no way to prove that someone has something. Doctors can see the different chemicals in the brain or the different ways that brainwaves function, but that can also be changed by other variables.
One of the posing solutions to psychological issues is psychiatry, which is a the study of psychology under the effect of medication. Which is a chemical solution to a mental problem, because most psychological issues are believed to be caused by chemical imbalances (i.e., depression is a lack of serotonin).
So, to conclude my argument, I still don’t think that psychology is a science. I don’t think that there is a fair justification and reasoning to make it provable and to make it scientific. As an aspiring scientist, I think that the hard sciences are the only valid sciences.
Berezow, A. B. n.d., n. pag. <http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/13/news/la-ol-blowback-pscyhology-science-20120713>. "Why Psychology Isn't Science."