Dear readers today I speak to you about psychology as a science, what is psychology, the formulation and verification of hypotheses, methods of correlations, the experimental method, the observational method and in the end for data collection.
These are some questions for which I answer in the following article.
So let’s start with the first question which is what psychology is.
To give a answer to the first question let me tell that for the first time Wundt was the first to use the term “psychology” to define its own scientific interests. But the German scholar does not even think of correlating this term with a precise definition. Indeed, his work and the work of other psychologists who followed him led him to always give new meaning to this term, which has come to take on different and multi-faceted connotations.
By psychology we mean, in a general sense, science, which investigates the psychic activity and the behavior of each of us to define the laws. However, in defining psychology we can refer to three conceptions that have historically been superimposed and opposed but which today can be traced back to a substantial unity.
In the first place, it can be seen as the science that studies the active psychic of living beings, meaning “individual psychic” by individual subjectivity, that is a set of phenomena that can be directly observed only by the one in which they are determined. Alternatively, psychology can be understood as the science that studies the behavior of human beings, meaning by “behavior” the relationships obediently obsessible, that is a set of phenomena that can be observed in other individuals and include not only gestures and words, but also the ‘esspresione of the inner relazoni and the interpretation of the actions that are caused by the different circumstancings. Finally, it is science that studies the personality of individuals, which is, for “personality” we understand the bio-psycho-social individuality in which every living being can be recognized, that is, the dynamic unity in which three aspects are integrated. they are (the biological aspect, the psychological aspect, and the social aspect) under which each of us can be examined. But it is also important to underline that psychology is essentially a bipolar science: biological and social.
Psychology and its method
As already clear from this first short definition, psychology, as it is proposed as a complex and multi-faceted discipline, has a privileged object of study: the mind. As such the mind was the object of the study of the philosophers, well before the birth of the first psychiatric schools that proposed to elevate psychology to the rank of a scientific discipline.
If we want to approach the world of psychology it is therefore natural to ask ourselves what is the difference between the attention to the mental propia of scientific psychology and which of the preceding currents of thought. Diversity is essentially in the ways of approaching the study of the mind: since its inception scientific psychology has dealt with incisively the problem of methodology, according to the need to define an approach that respects the fundamental characteristics of the scientific methodologies already recognized. and at the same time consider the pecularity of his object of study. Thus the psychological methodology has been configured as a specific scientific methodology, which makes use of the development of specific theoretical conceptions and of its own empirical data.
But it is legitimate to ask: what makes psychology actually scientific?
To answer this question I would say that psychology seen as a science that studies the mind through observation and analysis of behavior can be defined primarily as an empirical science (its observations are direct and not mediated) and objective (the his observations are never subjective, but must always be regulated by strict criteria).
Consequently, the rules that are considered as a guide to psychological research are precise and rigorous, such as to make it possible to generalize the results obtained in a single research. Psychologists in fact always tend to verify hypotheses that we could define as “local” and then come to formulate theories that are more general.
This possibility to generalize, thanks to the methodological rigor, the results of the research conducted in the psychological field, as well as the possibility to elaborate a model on the basis of which the scholars will produce correct predictions regarding phenomena analogous to those investigated, and also one of the criteria of scientific guarantee of the psychological method.
Naturally a scientific research is composed of several moments and several other factors that contribute to its completeness and its scientific validity. Let’s try to analyze how psychologists proceed concretely in their work.