Alive and well

Some utter fool has written an article in the Times (part one, part two) on the failure of psychology. My views are reflected quite accurately in this Metafilter thread which I contributed to.

Psychology is alive and well, and if you want to attack the strawman of psychoanalysis and outdated views of early 20th century psychology, fine. Just don’t pretend that you’re referring to psychology as it has been any time in the last few decades.

Saying ‘Everywhere you turn, you find growing links between biology, or physics, and behaviour; more and more appears to be explained by physiology, biochemistry, genetics or neurology � and less and less by psychology,’ completely misses the point. Psychology is ‘the scientific study of the behaviour of humans and animals.’ It can use any number of methods, such as brain imaging, genetic studies, molecular and cellular biology and of course good old behavioural studies.

2 Replies to “Alive and well”

  1. The author is unduly harsh on Psychology, almost as if from an urge to be controversial.The tone of the article seems to go on the lines of a criticism of modern physics because there is no ‘theory of everything’ till date, encompassing the two greatest paradigms of gravity and the quantum theory, or, even better, because there is no ‘ether waves’ floating around ,as was proposed in early part of the last century.
    While he is welcome to criticise bad science,I wonder why he chose the better findings of psychologists (e.g. study of aphasias, memory , and recently, emotions) to be classified as ‘physiology’- clearly he seems to operate under a bias of classifying all bad science under his straw man called Psychology.
    Such articles are potentially dangerous for the amount of misinformation they can spread to the unsuspecting public.

  2. It seems to me that psychology is the study of the “software” of the mind and neurobiology (or whatever) is the study of its hardware. Or at least that psychology is the study of the structures of thought from the direction of the “top” rather than the “bottom”. As such, there’s no likelihood that psychology is going to be subsumed by some other discipline in the near future.

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