Is Psychology A Science?
Science: Noun. 1. The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment, 2. A systematically organised body of knowledge on any subject. (Simpson, 2005)
Psychology: noun. 1 The scientific study of the human mind and its functions. 2 The mental characteristics or attitude of a person. 3 The mental factors governing a situation or activity. (Simpson, 2005)
When looking at the definitions of psychology and science there are some obvious similarities in their purpose. In order to understand whether psychology is a science, it is necessary to examine its origins and recent developments.
Psychology dates back to ancient Greece, India, and other countries, when it was mainly looked at from a philosophical point of view from philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato. In 1012 Ibn al-Haytham wrote the Book of Optics that included scientific research covering mathematics, anatomy, psychology, physics and optics. It was the first book of its kind that linked visual perception and optical illusions. However the first psychological laboratory was founded by Wilhelm Wundt in 1879 and is said to be the beginning of psychology. Since then psychology has expanded and can touch on many subjects, from child psychology, cognition, animal behaviour, behavioural sciences and many more.
Psychology often aims to be a science, however the link between psychological research and scientific research is often far from obvious. For example, in studies looking at testosterone and aggression (Krahe, 2001), the link to science from psychology can be seen. However when looking at the evolution of altruism (Kenrick, 1991) the link is less obvious. One thing remains when looking at any one of those topics, experiments of different kinds have to be carried out in order to justify or prove theories. All science, including psychology, is...