The question of whether Psychology can be classed as a Science has been a topic of debate for many years, however to truly answer this question it is first important to understand what the term ‘science’ actually means.
According to Eysenk and Keane 1990, one of the fundamental principles of science is objectivity, which is ensured through the use of highly controlled observations in order to verify or falsify a hypothesis. This method is commonly used within the field of psychology, particularly within areas such as behavioural, cognitive and physiological disciplines where the use of laboratory experiments, EEG machines and CAT scans help to provide unbiased, scientific data.
In contrast to this however, approaches such as the psychodynamic approach, which rely heavily upon subjective data gained from methods such as dream analysis and free association, have been criticised for greatly lowering the scientific element of psychology.
It has also been argued that because the psychodynamic and cognitive approaches to psychology focus on the hypothetical construct that is the mind, they lack true scientific qualities. Areas within psychology believed to be the most scientific also lack objectivity. For example schizophrenia is often diagnosed as being due to excess dopamine within the brain however although this is being studied in a scientific manner, it is still possible for the person who gives the diagnosis to misinterpret data due to his or her own personal views and subjective beliefs.
It has also been suggested that psychology should not be classed as a true science due to the problems associated with operationalizing variables and establishing causality, such as demand characteristics and observer bias. It is true that many of the ideas and beliefs within psychology remain just as ‘theory’, simply because concepts cannot be directly observed and therefore cannot be operationalized. However psychologists have found many ways to overcome these...