Psychology as a Science


1. Science in its ideal and actual forms

A. Implicit psychological explanations vs. scientific explanations

B. Science as riddle solving

(1) Yes/no questions, properly formed, yield useful information.
(2) Prior assumptions about data can be dangerous.
(3) Details that do not fit expected patterns are often of crucial importance.
(4) By expecting complicated answers, simple ones may be overlooked.

C. Major defining features

(1) systematic empiricism
(2) publicly verifiable knowledge



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(3) solvable problems
(4) parsimonious explanations
(5) negativistic mode of inquiry

D. Scientific research is the systematic, controlled, empirical, and critical investigation of natural phenomena guided by theory.

E. Correlational strategies

F. Establishing causality

2. Science and theory: Falsifiability, connectivity, and convergence

A. Lay view of theory

B. Theory functions

C. Falsifiability

(1) Falsifiability criterion
(2) Psychological science and common sense

D. How does knowledge change over time?: Great leap model vs. gradual synthesis model

(1) Connectivity principle
(2) Converging evidence

3. Laboratory research

A. Artificiality criticism

B. Generalizability question

(1) Experimental realism vs. mundane realism (What did Anderson et al. conclude about the relation between lab findings and field study findings?)
(2) The sample problem

a. Universalistic (theoretical) vs. particularistic (context- centered) research
b. It also depends on the research topic.