Why Is Psychology Considered a Science ?

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  • Psychology is the detailed study of mind and behavior and their correlation. It is an academic discipline and an applied science which seeks to understand individuals and groups by scientific evaluation of their perceptions about environment and their interaction with it. Probing specific cases, which is a key to formulate general principles, is the nucleus of this science. It is basically a broad discipline that incorporates both the scientific study of human behavior through biological, psychological and social perspectives as also the systematic application of knowledge to personal and social circumstances in everyday life.
  • A debatable topic, whether psychology is a science or not, stands to win on some crucial rationale. Psychology seeks to answer basic questions about thoughts, feelings and behavior while while exploring connections to other areas of study such as medicine, philosophy, chemistry, biology, social sciences and evolution. Thus compulsively it becomes an extension of all other sciences put together.
  • Even ardent debaters end up submitting that it is a young science. Probably due to the fact that a lot of research work on its scientific aspects needs to be done. But so is the the case with other sciences too; what seemed perfect yesterday has evolved into something different today. Psychology is scientific understanding of the material basis of the mind, the brain, its billions of neurons and electrochemical processes that take place among them. Wilhelm Wundt, considered the founder of psychology, created experimental psychology in 1879, in a laboratory devoted exclusively to psychological research.
  • Going by the definition of science, it is an organized body of knowledge gained through application of scientific methods. Scientific method is a mode of acquiring knowledge and arriving at inferences by observing a variety of phenomena, formatting hypotheses, further observing and experimenting and refining and re testing hypotheses. In psychology, since hypotheses may be either supported or rejected, it has got to be tested and experimented to authenticate a phenomenon. Study and application of psychology may in part be an assemblage of statistical data but the analytical and the curative part is purely based on scientific procedures and techniques.
  • Study and research of psychology is always correlated to examination of mind, brain (often clinically too), and behavior at different levels of analysis such as neural, molecular, individual and social. A variety of techniques may be undertaken for requisite analytical study. These can be brain imaging, experimental research with humans, surveys and field studies. As per a US educational document, most psychologists are scientists and that these science practitioners include clinical or counseling psychologists.
  • Psychology has had its roots in philosophy and science as the subject has been widely researched by contemporary scientists of different eras
  • René Descartes (1596-1650) viewed the human body as a machine, subject to physical laws. He coined the term dualism referring to the idea that a human being possesses a mind as well as a body and that in cases of anomalies, curative measures for the functioning of both have to be scientific.
  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882) had a profound effect on psychology by confirming that the human species was part of the natural world of animal life. Darwin emphasized that adaptation to one’s environment was often a mental as also a physical process.
  • Gustav Fechner (1801-1887), a German physicist, applied his training in the methods of physics to the psychological process of sensation.
  • Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) performed experiments and developed theories in the physiology laboratory to explain response to stimuli and information processing through the senses.
  • With such a rich history of scientists having involved themselves in study of psychology and profusely blending it in their scientific explorations, not considering it a science would totally defy sensible reasoning.
 

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