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Psychology as non-science : an alternative approach
The philosophical, theoretical and methodological limitations of the scientific method of research as used in psychology are discussed; the conclusion being drawn that the scientist has failed to provide information about reality. The scientist tries to explain the whole by taking it to pieces, failing to realize that in the case of human beings, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The subject in the laboratory experiment is stripped of all the social and individual characteristics which make him human, thereby assuring that the results of the laboratory experiment will almost certainly be trivial and useless. Problems in theory generation and methodology of the laboratory experiment are also discussed. Laboratory research attempts to manipulate the independent variable, measure changes in the dependent variable, control as many extraneous variables as possible and ignore the rest. Scientists fail to realize that these ignored variables and their hidden interactions may nullify or reverse the effect of the independent variable in the real world. Thus the information provided often proves to be trivial. An alternative to the scientific method, as a way of understanding other human beings, is proposed. Psychology is no longer to be considered a science, and the laboratory research method is abandoned. There is a return to more simple non-quantifiable techniques and a recognition of the human being as a dynamic, ever changing system rather than the rigid, static system of the scientist.