Why Psychology Sucks

Discussion in 'The War Room' started by Zankou, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. Zankou

    Zankou Bringing peace and love Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    In news that should surprise nobody ...

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/...-on-validity-of-psychology-experiment-results

    “Sadly, the picture it paints - a 64% failure rate even among papers published in the best journals in the field - is not very nice about the current status of psychological science in general, and for fields like social psychology it is just devastating,” he said.

    Particularly suspect, I think, are those studies that claim lasting performance differences from relatively minute variations in how issues are presented. Example from the article, "One study that failed replication claimed that encouraging people to believe there was no such thing as free will made them cheat more." There are legions of similar such studies, particularly in educational psychology, where some dubious intervention ('give the kids popsicles') is said to have miraculous impact on their subsequent performance.

    This doesn't mean that all psychology studies are useless -- some have held up rather well -- but the reigning impression that most are non-replicable efforts to prove the researcher's intended conclusion seems to be correct.
     
  2. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre Titanium Belt

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    Are shrinks more or less accurate than economists?
     
  3. UpaLoompa

    UpaLoompa Grand Quasiprophet of the Sakaran Apocolyps

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  4. Rusk

    Rusk Black Belt

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    Well humans are complex.

    Benjamin Libets free will experiment showed to be wrong as well, and that was neuroscience, and sciences are never wrong that is why we put so much faith in them :wink:

    On the other hand psychology seems to be very effective when it comes to masses.
     
  5. Shokushu Goukan

    Shokushu Goukan Banned Banned

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    There was also a thing where supposedly some people went door to door and were gay and talked to people and then gay marriage was passed.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/20/gay-marriage-study-fake_n_7344796.html

    hmmmm....we all know that passed due to media propaganda

    I would not put psychology on the same level of physics as far as science goes. Psychology is far too subjective.
     
  6. Thunderflash500

    Thunderflash500 Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    One problem I had in sociology or psychology is they would do a test, get results, and they assume things about the results. We did x, got y, therefore z. Wait a second though professor, you y. You didn't get z. You're saying z comes out of y, that it can be assumed. But I don't assume that. I assume that that what happened in the study is what happened. And nothing more. But they would draw grand conclusions from findings that just didn't have anything to do with what was actually found.

    A quick example of what i mean is something like "We gave kids Popsicles and they did better on the math quiz. The evidence shows eating a popsicle improves math teat scores. Therefore we can see that Popsicles can improve all areas of learning." No. It shows at best the demographic of kids you gave Popsicles can have math scores be improved. That's what it showed. I wish I could remember the actual studies my professor would go on about.

    Saying that though I think sociology and psychology are extremely powerful areas of study. Its almost scary to unlock the human mind and culture.

    It doesn't surprise me that non hard sciences aren't accurate. Humans have a terrible ability at figuring out who is actually intelligent if it can't be mathematically proven. My professor in college, for both psychology and sociology, I didn't really respect either of their ability to interpret information. And that's literally what they are supposed to do and get paid to do.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
  7. Anung Un Rama

    Anung Un Rama Idol of Millions Platinum Member

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    I think we all owe Tom Cruise an apology.
     
  8. Zankou

    Zankou Bringing peace and love Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Well that problem is that psychology poses some of the biggest methodological challenges to designing a rigorous study ... and yet as Dochter says above, the people designing the studies are usually some of the least qualified to do so.

    I know Dochter has a much more positive take on the motivations of the people conducting these studies, chalking it down to incompetence, whereas I rather cynically tend to think much of the incompetence is professionally convenient. Also, now is the time to remember this hilarious expose:

    http://forums.sherdog.com/forums/f54/positive-psychology-academic-demolition-2656959/

    What's particularly funny about the story in this link is that the demolition job was spearheaded by an amateur, who just looked at the positive psychology claims and noticed that they were ludicrous bullshit on their face. Then they went into detail and explored why the underlying science was disingenuous and rather corrupt gibberish.
     
  9. Thunderflash500

    Thunderflash500 Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    I remember that thread from a long time ago. Good stuff. I agree with everything you say.
     
  10. speakhandsforme

    speakhandsforme Banned Banned

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    I was just speaking about this particular story with my roommate last night and how insightful it is in regard to just how unscientific psychology really is.
     
  11. ColonelAngus1

    ColonelAngus1 Black Belt

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    Breaking news: The Brain is complex and not everybody is the same

    More at 11!
     
  12. Ruprecht

    Ruprecht Hands Of The Judges Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    It's a broad field.
    Behaviourism and biopsychology at one end of the objectivity versus subjectivity spectrum, psychoanalysis at the other.
     
  13. JonnyRingo84

    JonnyRingo84 Gold Belt

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    psychology is a very new field. there are also different fields within psychology. if only cognitive-behavioral theory were being analyzed, the results would be much more flattering, id wager. its the more hard science out of the bunch.
     
  14. Chesten_Hesten

    Chesten_Hesten The Wiener of Steel

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    Good question.
     
  15. jrams

    jrams Red Belt

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  16. Kafir-kun

    Kafir-kun Autocratic Centrist

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    This is a pretty important part of it
     
  17. IDL

    IDL Gold Belt

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    Reminds me of the Rosenhan experiment I was reading about the other day in regards to psychiatry

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenhan_experiment

    psychiatry is probably more wacky than psychology. In the soviet union they used to lock people up as mentally ill for not believing in the party line :eek:

    In Canada they falsely diagnosed 20,000 orphaned children of mental illness in order to run experiments on them :eek:
     
  18. panamaican

    panamaican Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I was going to type exactly this. I know this thread is about psychology but I just read that this is becoming a problem in all of the journals, even the hard science ones.

    Plus it's not just that the studies aren't replicable. Many of the journals themselves only exist so that people can have somewhere to publish their Mickey Mouse work. The whole system is screwed up.
     
  19. Ruprecht

    Ruprecht Hands Of The Judges Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    The Rosenham experiment highlights a different problem, the extent to which psychology relies on self reporting.
    Mind you, the bulk of General Practice relies on the patient's self-reporting.
    Including doctor's assessments of a patient's physical fitness to hold a driver's licence (not for all conditions, but many of them).
     
  20. Kafir-kun

    Kafir-kun Autocratic Centrist

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    Perhaps psychology is more susceptible to this, I would wager it is, but as you point out that pressure exists in the hard sciences too.

    I'm no academic so I wonder what the solution to this would be.
     

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