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    (Original post by musicforsanity)
    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 so... :rolleyes:
    Basically. But you can't claim to know something so complex in enough depth to treat it as you would chemistry or physics, where you can say x amount + y amount = z amount.

    I have only recently come to realise that psychology is more mathematically defined than I originally thought, so do forgive me, but in my opinion it's not sufficient to only apply quantification to parts of the field of study.

    I have nothing against psychology. It is useful for something, but I do not think it deserves to be labelled a science the same as physics.
    It would be bad practise for me, as a physicist, to qualitatively put forward the idea that you can condition a dog to salivate when a bell is rung. As a physicist, I would have to say that the amount of saliva produced by a dog in cubic metres is proportional to the intensity of the bell ringing in decibels, but inversely proportional to the time taken to condition the dog in seconds (sorry. Pavlov's dogs is the only psychology I know about).

    Unless it can be measured, and expressed in terms of fundamental units, it (to me as a physicist) cannot be said to be a scientific description of something. It is how I've been indoctrinated and I apologise for that, by psychology isn't a science in the same vein as physics in my opinion.

    That's not to say that it's unimportant or it shouldn't be studied, but that's not what the original question was.
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    (Original post by JayTeeKay)
    Basically. But you can't claim to know something so complex in enough depth to treat it as you would chemistry or physics, where you can say x amount + y amount = z amount.

    I have only recently come to realise that psychology is more mathematically defined than I originally thought, so do forgive me, but in my opinion it's not sufficient to only apply quantification to parts of the field of study.

    I have nothing against psychology. It is useful for something, but I do not think it deserves to be labelled a science the same as physics.
    It would be bad practise for me, as a physicist, to qualitatively put forward the idea that you can condition a dog to salivate when a bell is rung. As a physicist, I would have to say that the amount of saliva produced by a dog in cubic metres is proportional to the intensity of the bell ringing in decibels, but inversely proportional to the time taken to condition the dog in seconds (sorry. Pavlov's dogs is the only psychology I know about).

    Unless it can be measured, and expressed in terms of fundamental units, it (to me as a physicist) cannot be said to be a scientific description of something. It is how I've been indoctrinated and I apologise for that, by psychology isn't a science in the same vein as physics in my opinion.

    That's not to say that it's unimportant or it shouldn't be studied, but that's not what the original question was.
    Okay I get your point about the definition of science requiring certain determinable variables and findings.

    And you've admitted gracefully to realising that your extent of knowledge of psychology is Pavlov's studies. But psychology has come such a long long way since then! Like I mentioned earlier, skim some journal articles, get a feel for more recent research and you'll see it's a lot more scientific than you might have thought.

    I've experienced maths and physics up to higher level so I get how they are a lot different from psychology, which makes it difficult to argue for their grouping as a science. But to me it just is a science. I've never known any different since anything I read is backed up, not just flung about like a random thought.

    You're too polite to argue with! Agree to disagree!

    EDIT: And you're right we can't know anything in terms of an exact equation with an exact answer. But that's what makes it so interesting. We're still trying to figure it all out.
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    (Original post by musicforsanity)
    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?
    To be honest, a p*ssing match sounds pretty good given your gender.
    But seriously, I agree that it is pointless really.

    I suppose the difference between trying to unlock the brain and unlock the Uni(multi?)verse is that with the brain its all there. Its unimaginable complex, but we have all the data right there. We have all the starting variables, and we can measure it as we go along.
    With the Universe we can't properly measure most of it, we can't even see over 95% of it, and we don't even know the laws which govern it.

    That's not to say I think physicists are 'cleverer' that psychologists. I think their challenge is ultimately greater, but whether or not we ultimately solve the problems 10,000 years down the line doesn't make the problems facing us today any easier.
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    Once upon a time, English was a 'new' and 'unrespected' subject.
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    (Original post by Fallen)
    I suppose the difference between trying to unlock the brain and unlock the Uni(multi?)verse is that with the brain its all there. Its unimaginable complex, but we have all the data right there. We have all the starting variables, and we can measure it as we go along.
    With the Universe we can't properly measure most of it, we can't even see over 95% of it, and we don't even know the laws which govern it.

    That's not to say I think physicists are 'cleverer' that psychologists. I think their challenge is ultimately greater, but whether or not we ultimately solve the problems 10,000 years down the line doesn't make the problems facing us today any easier.
    I agree with you 100% on this.
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    I find it absolutely hilarious that some people are using Psychology as an overall academic discipline to try to defend Psychology A-level, which is an exercise in simplistic rote-learning about as challenging as Geography GCSE.
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    (Original post by HistoryRepeating)
    I find it absolutely hilarious that some people are using Psychology as an overall academic discipline to try to defend Psychology A-level, which is an exercise in simplistic rote-learning about as challenging as Geography GCSE.
    Most people who have a good working knowledge know that A-level Psychology is a joke and has been designed terribly.

    However, there are many individuals in this thread that are criticising the academic field of psychology as a whole. It is only appropriate to defend it in the same way.
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    (Original post by Nymthae)
    I'm assuming because anybody can memorise a bunch of stuff, if they really tried. I doubt i'll ever *quite* understand what goes on in Physics no matter how hard I try
    But at least when I did Physics and Maths, a lot of the exams were just memorising stuff. It was only a few questions where you actually needed to understand it.
    Infact, my maths teacher used to emphasise to use that if you understand it, you can use one equation to derive the others in order to save having to remember loads of them. But if you don't understand it, as long as you remember the equations you'll be fine.
    Its not something that is limited to Pschology, and is actually quite widespread throughout most A level subjects.
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    (Original post by WelshBluebird)
    But at least when I did Physics and Maths, a lot of the exams were just memorising stuff. It was only a few questions where you actually needed to understand it.
    Its not something that is limited to Pschology, and is actually quite widespread throughout most A level subjects.
    I understand your point that other subjects involve memorisation at one point or another however, with psychology, no understanding is involved. you can read the text book, memorise the information, take the exam, spew out the information appropriately and pass. whereas with chemistry, physics and maths you have to understand concepts, manipulate them, and apply you understanding to novel situations.

    In psychology, the only application of knowledge is (at AS level) where you are given a scenario such as 'Sally finds herself repeatedly washing her hands for 15+ hours a day.....blahblahblah....' - Outline and evaluate the successive stages after attending a psychiatrists meeting.

    In this case. you get one mark for writing down the patients name. this is neither understanding nor manipulation.
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    (Original post by cor_fortis)
    I understand your point that other subjects involve memorisation at one point or another however, with psychology, no understanding is involved. you can read the text book, memorise the information, take the exam, spew out the information appropriately and pass. whereas with chemistry, physics and maths you have to understand concepts, manipulate them, and apply you understanding to novel situations.

    In psychology, the only application of knowledge is (at AS level) where you are given a scenario such as 'Sally finds herself repeatedly washing her hands for 15+ hours a day.....blahblahblah....' - Outline and evaluate the successive stages after attending a psychiatrists meeting.

    In this case. you get one mark for writing down the patients name. this is neither understanding nor manipulation.
    Maybe its because I am more of a mathsy person than a humanities person, but I can assure you that for me, my girlfriends Pscyology A level she is currently doing is a lot harder than my physics A level I did 3 years ago.

    As I said, even in maths you didn't need to understand things. It was mainly memorisation. As long as you could remember the formulas and remember roughly what order you needed to do things in (which could be memorised from examples), then you were able to get decent marks.

    Actually, the memorisation thing is even more true in History, yet because it is a more "traditional" subject, no one cares.
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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.

    'Proper' scientists I would expect, or at least hope, to be knowledge-seeking.

    A knowledge-seeking person would take an interest in the science of the human mind, particularly because the findings can often be useful in a multitude of practical ways which can benefit society.

    I studied Biology and Psychology at A-level and got good grades in both. I know a lot of people who did the same. In truth, statistically, i'm not sure if you have any basis for your generalization..you may do, but isn't that more of a cultural behavior and not good basis for assuming that Psychology is rubbish?

    I think you're being silly, I suspect your probably are just an A-level student who doesn't actually know any respected scientists. You're just a mindless drone regurgitating what the media and people around you have fed you. Get some facts or GTFO.
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    (Original post by WelshBluebird)
    Maybe its because I am more of a mathsy person than a humanities person, but I can assure you that for me, my girlfriends Pscyology A level she is currently doing is a lot harder than my physics A level I did 3 years ago.

    As I said, even in maths you didn't need to understand things. It was mainly memorisation. As long as you could remember the formulas and remember roughly what order you needed to do things in (which could be memorised from examples), then you were able to get decent marks.

    Actually, the memorisation thing is even more true in History, yet because it is a more "traditional" subject, no one cares.
    Ahh yes, but psychology is PURELY memorisation. the only part that makes it a science is they chuck a little statistics in there, even then, they test for statistical knowledge based on whether you can recognise a psychological experiment as being one tailed / two tailed / independent groups design / matched pairs etc and picking the appropriate test. there is no maths involved and it simply memorising which test goes with which design
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    I currently do AS Bio,chem, psychology and history. And tbh im finding psych the hardest so far, believe it or not.
    I mean i like studying bio so its not much of a bother, for chem it gets easier with practice there's not alot of memorising you just need to know how things work , mechanisms etc , history ..i like the subject and source analysis is fairly easy. But psychology ,,memorising 15 most dullest studies ever half the stuff which is complete BS is not fun...makes you wana bash your head on the desk continously...
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    (Original post by cor_fortis)
    Ahh yes, but psychology is PURELY memorisation. the only part that makes it a science is they chuck a little statistics in there, even then, they test for statistical knowledge based on whether you can recognise a psychological experiment as being one tailed / two tailed / independent groups design / matched pairs etc and picking the appropriate test. there is no maths involved and it simply memorising which test goes with which design
    But what I am trying to say is that you can treat Maths and Physics as purley memorisation too and still get good grades.

    And as I said, History and Geography are both very similar in that they are mostly / all memorisation. Yet because they are "traditional" subjects, no one cares.

    So my view is that the only reason psychology is viewed as "soft" is because in terms of school / sixth form subjects, it is quite new. That is the only reason.
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    (Original post by WelshBluebird)
    Actually, the memorisation thing is even more true in History, yet because it is a more "traditional" subject, no one cares.
    This is a fair point actually, and I find history my hardest subject by far. But then the amount of information I have to memorise is probably triple that of psychology... even so there is still something fundamentally harder in history when it comes to arguing your point effectively and sounding intelligent. I mean, reading back on my psychology essays that have gained me full marks I use a pretty basic writing style; in history if I used the same and cut out unnecessary long words or whatever then my essay would probably get a much lower mark. In psych you can just list off points one by one and tick all the boxes, in history you have to formulate the whole structure and argument in the 2 minutes you're given in the time limit before you have to start writing.

    I'm not sure how much I'm sticking to the thread here, but I suppose the whole 'memorisation' argument isn't the whole picture as to why psychology is considered soft, must partly be to do with marking and the depth of understanding required by the candidate as well as the way you're expected to manipulate the material you memorise (i.e not really at all).
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    Threads like these tend to get hi-jacked by the following types of people, with no facts to back up what they are saying, and so we see a 'going back and forth' effect :teehee: :

    1) young people who take culturally thought of 'hard' a-levels, but suck at them, so rip on 'soft' subjects to make themselves feel better.

    2) An A-level student like the above, but just plain ignorant.

    3) People who are studying at science at a <top 20 uni, are ignorant & lazy and will never become a 'respected scientist' themselves and need a reason to feel important.

    C'mon now people, this website is meant to represent the views of intelligent students. Don't behave like ignorant buffoons, back up what your saying with facts please.
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    (Original post by Noodlzzz)
    In fact, go read about the origins of consciousness in the cerebral cortex where it's possibly derived from modalities within the visual and olfactory system and the binding of information through neural oscillations of synaptic threshold in action potential localising within the cerebral cortex. Then tell me if a) you even understand and b) psychology is not a science.
    That is... kind of... neuroscience, though, isn't it? I'd say psychology is scientific, but not a science. And I wouldn't say it's as 'academic' as a science. In my first year at uni studying neuroscience, I took an optional unit in psychology and I have to say, apart from looking at a few pictures of neurones near the end, it wasn't much 'science' and was poles apart from my other lectures. It was by far the easiest unit I have done at university. But having said that, I don't do easy units anyway, and I do very much respect psychology and do really like it and am interested in it. But there is a distinction between psychology and neuroscience. If you was science of the brain, you want neuroscience, really.
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    (Original post by connor ellis)
    Scientists take it as a joke.
    Lmao. How many scientists do you know, little school boy?
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    (Original post by cor_fortis)
    I understand your point that other subjects involve memorisation at one point or another however, with psychology, no understanding is involved. you can read the text book, memorise the information, take the exam, spew out the information appropriately and pass. whereas with chemistry, physics and maths you have to understand concepts, manipulate them, and apply you understanding to novel situations.

    In psychology, the only application of knowledge is (at AS level) where you are given a scenario such as 'Sally finds herself repeatedly washing her hands for 15+ hours a day.....blahblahblah....' - Outline and evaluate the successive stages after attending a psychiatrists meeting.

    In this case. you get one mark for writing down the patients name. this is neither understanding nor manipulation.
    Would you mind linking the paper that question is from? I was just going through the AQA marking scheme (2010) and was unable to find any examples of stating the subject's name being awarded a mark.
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    (Original post by LemonPi)
    But there is a distinction between psychology and neuroscience. If you was science of the brain, you want neuroscience, really.
    Good luck solving consciousness, memory, attention, vision etc etc etc etc without the cognitive sciences. Pure cellular neuroscience will not be able to solve these problems. You need computational and cognitive neuroscience which in turn needs cognitive psychology (e.g. behavioural models and theories, established experimental paradigms etc).

    Good luck pinning which field cognitive neuroscience belongs to. As you are someone studying neuroscience, I'm rather disappointed to see this post.
 
 
 
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