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    The only thing more tiresome than people pretending psychology is a super difficult discipline by trying to impress people with jargon is the physics nerds whining about how any subject without laws isn't a science. You deserve each other and this whole thread should just be set on fire.
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    (Original post by thisismycatch22)
    The only thing more tiresome than people pretending psychology is a super difficult discipline by trying to impress people with jargon is the physics nerds whining about how any subject without laws isn't a science. You deserve each other and this whole thread should just be set on fire.
    At degree level most subjects are on par in terms of 'difficulty'. Settled.
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    (Original post by RobertWhite)
    Your personal experience is hardly a basis for empirical data.
    Personal experience is all we have to go by since conducting such a study of switching classes would probably not be allowed. It's hard to show either side of the argument without personal experience.
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    (Original post by GodspeedGehenna)
    ... So what you're telling me is only mathematics and theoretical physics are 'sciences' and everything else isn't?

    That said, there are mathematical formula which describe various cognitive neurophysiological events for example. Take the learning of dopaminergic neurons of the orbitofrontal cortex, the activity of which is described in the Rescorla–Wagner model.



    See above. Classical conditioning is governed by long-term potentiation of neural circuits which is ultimately defined by biochemistry and mathematical laws.
    Not exactly. A science is not a science unless it can be proven with experiment. In that sense, psychology trumps mathematics, because unless applied to the real world, maths is an abstract construction.

    If psychology can be quantified through expressions as in the Rescorla–Wagner model you mentioned, then psychology has gone up in my books. How do you measure things in psychology? Surely you can't define psychology in terms of distances, masses, forces, charges etc?

    Ultimately, everything can be defined by physics, by the same token. Of course, it's not practical to do so, which is why people study psychology, but in terms of fundamentality, physics is the basis of chemistry, which is the basis of biology and so on.
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    (Original post by Callum828)
    Oh I guess I quoted the wrong person. It was a response to the idea that grades are balanced to give equal numbers of As/Bs/Cs etc for each subject.
    Yes that was my idea, and I still maintain that grade boundaries are decided using a normal distribution (it maybe slightly skewed though). That article says that Psychology is easier in terms of relative hardness, not just where the grade boundaries lie
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    (Original post by JayTeeKay)
    Not exactly. A science is not a science unless it can be proven with experiment. In that sense, psychology trumps mathematics, because unless applied to the real world, maths is an abstract construction.

    If psychology can be quantified through expressions as in the Rescorla–Wagner model you mentioned, then psychology has gone up in my books. How do you measure things in psychology? Surely you can't define psychology in terms of distances, masses, forces, charges etc?

    Ultimately, everything can be defined by physics, by the same token. Of course, it's not practical to do so, which is why people study psychology, but in terms of fundamentality, physics is the basis of chemistry, which is the basis of biology and so on.
    This is where the biological part comes in. Brain mass/density/grey matter are often measured. Of course not everything is measured in this way, but things like MRI scanning / PET scanning are used a lot in psychology.
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    Okay guys. Here's the thing. Psychology is studied as a science in some places, as an art in others. But where it is studied as a science any and all findings are backed up by numerous studies with actual evidence. How do you think any other science came to be? Studies. Evidence.
    What makes it so different?

    You guys also need to remember that compared to other sciences psychology is an extremely new area of scientific (and yes it IS scientific) research. So no, we unfortunately don't have the answers to everything already. Physics and maths may have it figured out already, but we're just skimming the surface at this point. So much is waiting to be uncovered. Understanding Alzheimer's, treating schizophrenia, preventing suicide. In my opinion our causes are more just than maths, for example.

    You can't argue with the fact that psychology does have a place in health services. It is important. Otherwise the NHS would not employ CBT psychologists and various other clinical psychologists. Without psychological research we wouldn't know how to help people with psychosis, people suffering from debilitating mental illness. Psychology is advancing medical research. We might not use drugs as a first resort, but then it's treating the mind and not a physical injury as such (in most cases).

    Trying to understand the way the mind works is no less important than understanding how the body works. So why belittle it?

    If you study psychology (and I mean past A level, at degree level) you'll understand that nothing is said without being backed up by empirical (as far as possible with behaviour you have to understand) studies. And a lot of them. Okay, so things progress and people come up with newer, better theories to explain things. This happens in so many other fields too.

    Before the rest of y'all start I know terrible things have been done in the name of psychological research, but then again, terrible things have been done in the name of advancements in medicine. The point is times change.

    Go away and actually do some research on psychology, read some journals, find out about the advancements, then come back here and try again.

    Neg rep me if you want, I honestly don't care. But I won't have people belittling a field that has improved the lives of so many people.
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    (Original post by connor ellis)
    Scientists take it as a joke.
    It is usually taken at A-level by people who can't do proper science.
    It is not a very hard A-level.
    I'm doing Biology, Philosophy, Psychology & Classical Civilisation - I got 100% in my Jan Bio & Philosophy exams, and find biology piss easy in comparison to psychology, in which I only just scraped an A, even though i revised more for psychology than the other 2.
    I completely disagree with all these 'scientists' who don't take it saying it's a soft subject, unless you've actually taken it you are in no position to comment.

    It is a challenging subject by the amount you have to memorise (yes i'm so academic, lots of memorisation = hard a level in my book), and how little time you have to write it all down...My hand was numb and blue after my exam, and I am quite a fast writer.
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    (Original post by Noodlzzz)
    Agreed, but your definition of science is wrong.

    ??science |?s??ns|
    noun
    the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment : the world of science and technology.


    There is no reference to laws, just observation and experimentation which psychology wholeheartedly embraces.
    Is that the definition of a scientist or the definition of an artist?
    A scientist would say that something could only be absolutely defined with numbers.
    For example, the colour red is defined as a photon with a frequency of between 400 and 484 THz. A force of 1 newton is described as the force needed to accelerate a mass of 1 Kg by 1 ms^-2 and so on.
    Simply defining red as "something that looks similar to this" or saying a force is a "push or a pull" is arbitrary.
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    (Original post by musicforsanity)
    Okay guys. Here's the thing. Psychology is studied as a science in some places, as an art in others. But where it is studied as a science any and all findings are backed up by numerous studies with actual evidence. How do you think any other science came to be? Studies. Evidence.
    What makes it so different?

    You guys also need to remember that compared to other sciences psychology is an extremely new area of scientific (and yes it IS scientific) research. So no, we unfortunately don't have the answers to everything already. Physics and maths may have it figured out already, but we're just skimming the surface at this point. So much is waiting to be uncovered. Understanding Alzheimer's, treating schizophrenia, preventing suicide. In my opinion our causes are more just than maths, for example.

    You can't argue with the fact that psychology does have a place in health services. It is important. Otherwise the NHS would not employ CBT psychologists and various other clinical psychologists. Without psychological research we wouldn't know how to help people with psychosis, people suffering from debilitating mental illness. Psychology is advancing medical research. We might not use drugs as a first resort, but then it's treating the mind and not a physical injury as such (in most cases).

    Trying to understand the way the mind works is no less important than understanding how the body works. So why belittle it?

    If you study psychology (and I mean past A level, at degree level) you'll understand that nothing is said without being backed up by empirical (as far as possible with behaviour you have to understand) studies. And a lot of them. Okay, so things progress and people come up with newer, better theories to explain things. This happens in so many other fields too.

    Before the rest of y'all start I know terrible things have been done in the name of psychological research, but then again, terrible things have been done in the name of advancements in medicine. The point is times change.

    Go away and actually do some research on psychology, read some journals, find out about the advancements, then come back here and try again.

    Neg rep me if you want, I honestly don't care. But I won't have people belittling a field that has improved the lives of so many people.
    I would love to pos rep you...but i've run out
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    (Original post by musicforsanity)
    Okay guys. Here's the thing. Psychology is studied as a science in some places, as an art in others.
    What do you mean by that? You'd be hard pressed to find an arts psych degree that is respectable (discounting the use of BA in tradition).
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    (Original post by JayTeeKay)
    Is that the definition of a scientist or the definition of an artist?
    A scientist would say that something could only be absolutely defined with numbers.
    For example, the colour red is defined as a photon with a frequency of between 400 and 484 THz. A force of 1 newton is described as the force needed to accelerate a mass of 1 Kg by 1 ms^-2 and so on.
    Simply defining red as "something that looks similar to this" or saying a force is a "push or a pull" is arbitrary.
    No, that is the oxford English dictionary definition of science. I see no point to your post in relation to what I said or to psychology, rephrase?
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    (Original post by Fat-Love)
    Personal experience is all we have to go by since conducting such a study of switching classes would probably not be allowed. It's hard to show either side of the argument without personal experience.
    Most of the people arguing here don't do Psychology. I do it with other subjects which are considered 'hard'. People are only in a place to argue if they have experienced both.
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    (Original post by musicforsanity)
    Okay guys. Here's the thing. Psychology is studied as a science in some places, as an art in others. But where it is studied as a science any and all findings are backed up by numerous studies with actual evidence. How do you think any other science came to be? Studies. Evidence.
    What makes it so different?

    You guys also need to remember that compared to other sciences psychology is an extremely new area of scientific (and yes it IS scientific) research. So no, we unfortunately don't have the answers to everything already. Physics and maths may have it figured out already, but we're just skimming the surface at this point. So much is waiting to be uncovered. Understanding Alzheimer's, treating schizophrenia, preventing suicide. In my opinion our causes are more just than maths, for example.

    You can't argue with the fact that psychology does have a place in health services. It is important. Otherwise the NHS would not employ CBT psychologists and various other clinical psychologists. Without psychological research we wouldn't know how to help people with psychosis, people suffering from debilitating mental illness. Psychology is advancing medical research. We might not use drugs as a first resort, but then it's treating the mind and not a physical injury as such (in most cases).

    Trying to understand the way the mind works is no less important than understanding how the body works. So why belittle it?

    If you study psychology (and I mean past A level, at degree level) you'll understand that nothing is said without being backed up by empirical (as far as possible with behaviour you have to understand) studies. And a lot of them. Okay, so things progress and people come up with newer, better theories to explain things. This happens in so many other fields too.

    Before the rest of y'all start I know terrible things have been done in the name of psychological research, but then again, terrible things have been done in the name of advancements in medicine. The point is times change.

    Go away and actually do some research on psychology, read some journals, find out about the advancements, then come back here and try again.

    Neg rep me if you want, I honestly don't care. But I won't have people belittling a field that has improved the lives of so many people.
    I don't disagree with you, Psychology is important and, at a higher level, a Science (although I don't necessarily agree that Psychology A-Level is on a par with the more classical, 'hard' subjects).

    But one thing I feel I do have to disagree with is your comments on Maths and Physics.
    Psycology is the study and science of the human brain, is it not? Physics is the study and science of the universe and the laws which govern it. While we are a long, long way off, it is conceivable that we will one day know everything there is to know about the human brain. I do not think the same can be said for the universe.
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    (Original post by Noodlzzz)
    What do you mean by that? You'd be hard pressed to find an arts psych degree that is respectable (discounting the use of BA in tradition).
    It's an arbitrary difference really. I think in some places you can choose either to graduate as a BA or a BSc. I just don't have experience of how it is studied anywhere else other than where I am and a friend's course. Here it is emphasised that psychology is studied as a science so I can only presume that this might be different at A-level or something.

    We didn't have psychology as a Higher or Advanced Higher at my school so I honestly have no idea, other than the information people are saying on here that it pales in comparison to degree level. All I studied before my degree was up to advanced higher level in Biology and Chemistry so not much experience.

    I'm assuming that it has to be studied as a science. Certainly is for registration with the BPS.
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    (Original post by Noodlzzz)
    No, that is the oxford English dictionary definition of science. I see no point to your post in relation to what I said or to psychology, rephrase?
    Unless you can quantify something with equations and measurements, then it isn't very useful. At what point does red become orange? Simply describing something as red can't help you answer that question. In order to do that you must define red light in terms of frequency or wavelength.
    Because psychology is a qualitative subject (or at least I thought so until recently), it isn't useful for making predictions. It's only arbitrary description and it's subjective.

    Psychology may embrace the scientific ideas of experiment and observation, but you can't say with a degree of certainty what will happen in a situation, because there aren't as many variables in psychology that can be measured and defined in terms of numbers.
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    (Original post by Fallen)
    I don't disagree with you, Psychology is important and, at a higher level, a Science (although I don't necessarily agree that Psychology A-Level is on a par with the more classical, 'hard' subjects).

    But one thing I feel I do have to disagree with is your comments on Maths and Physics.
    Psycology is the study and science of the human brain, is it not? Physics is the study and science of the universe and the laws which govern it. While we are a long, long way off, it is conceivable that we will one day know everything there is to know about the human brain. I do not think the same can be said for the universe.
    I have no idea about the 'hardness' of Psychology in comparison to other subjects at A-level. As a Scottish student from a traditional school we didn't have any other sciences past the bog standard maths, physics, biology and chemistry (all of which I have done so I do have experience of them, some up to Advanced Higher level). So I have no experience with how difficult it may have been in comparison during high school.

    I can however say that I find it to be just as difficult as Biology at degree level. I'm studying both Biology and Psychology, and currently in the third year of my degree. So I like to think I'm in a position to compare the two.

    At the end of the day it's really going to come down to a p*ssing contest, which really isn't all that exciting.

    I don't quite agree with you there. Each brain is different, if there's one thing Psychology has taught us, it's that. While we identify areas of the brain common for specific activity, and while we identify treatments effective for the majority, each brain is different. I don't know that we will ever truly understand the full complexity. With the number of neural connections, the number of activities the brain carries out and the multitude of ways our brain can function abnormally... I just find it staggering.

    As the joke goes, is the brain complex enough to understand itself?
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    (Original post by JayTeeKay)

    Psychology may embrace the scientific ideas of experiment and observation, but you can't say with a degree of certainty what will happen in a situation, because there aren't as many variables in psychology that can be measured and defined in terms of numbers.
    Aren't you basically saying that psychology is so complex that we do not have easily definable variables which any person can pick up and instantly measure?

    Just because something can't be measured in numbers doesn't mean it isn't important or useful as a science.

    And are statistics not numbers? We measure effectiveness of treatments. Okay so we can't sit and individually count the number of neurons behaving abnormally just to give a numerical variable. But we can tell you what percentage of a population respond to a treatment. We can rule out confounding variables. We can predict behaviour (all other things being equal). It's a science. Whether there are numerical variables or not.

    At the end of the day, people are still gonna study it. Still going to find evidence. Still going to improve lives. So... :rolleyes:

    To me that's way more than enough.
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    (Original post by JayTeeKay)
    Unless you can quantify something with equations and measurements, then it isn't very useful. At what point does red become orange? Simply describing something as red can't help you answer that question. In order to do that you must define red light in terms of frequency or wavelength.
    Because psychology is a qualitative subject (or at least I thought so until recently), it isn't useful for making predictions. It's only arbitrary description and it's subjective.

    Psychology may embrace the scientific ideas of experiment and observation, but you can't say with a degree of certainty what will happen in a situation, because there aren't as many variables in psychology that can be measured and defined in terms of numbers.
    Psychology as a whole is a quantitative mostly objective science.

    Agreed that copious amounts of variables do decrease certainty compared to the natural sciences but this doesn't mean that behind these variables a science on par with the others with it's own laws etc. doesn't exist. The greatest example of this is cognitive neuroscience. Looking at the molecular and cellular level of the brain not only avoids the variables associated with the other areas of psychology but does indeed produce numbers by the bucket load that have very scientific and highly reliable 'laws'.

    Side note: I think I'm becoming a poor less-knowledgeable version of GSG :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by JayTeeKay)
    How do you measure things in psychology? Surely you can't define psychology in terms of distances, masses, forces, charges etc?
    The problem with discussions like this is the fact that Psychology is too broad to answer this question. We need to be a little more specific about what we're talking about.

    Lets take Cognitive psychology to add a little more specifity. Or, even more specifically, visual science. You can take measures in all sorts of ways. A very basic example would be the basic Posner attention shift paradigm which uses basic reaction times as a dependent variable (either in the form of a button response or the measurement of eye saccades using eyetracking equipment). Such paradigms and measurements have given us knowledge of a fundamental, replicatable finding in regards to the human (and primate) attentional system. E.g. that covertly attending to one direction can facilitate overt shifts of attention to the ipsilateral side OR delay shifts of attention to the contralateral side. This teaches us a many number of things about the attentional system and has lead to many other developments using the same paradigm (e.g. pre-motor theories of attention).

    So essentially, what you are doing is indirectly measuring a variable (shifts of attention) through either reaction times or saccade latency. You can then introduce other manipulations and test other hypothesies. These findings are then subject to statistical analysis.
 
 
 
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