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Psychology is a soft science (split from Childhood hyperactivity; what makes it a bad thing?)


Agent Smith
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Psychology is, at the end of the day, a soft science, a very, very soft science. Some say much of its findings can't be replicated which is a serious setback to any field wanting to claim the IS A SCIENCE badge.

If I'm way off the mark, please someone do kindly educate me!

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1 hour ago, Agent Smith said:

Psychology is, at the end of the day, a soft science, a very, very soft science.

It's dealing with humans - how hard should it be? It's difficult to replicate experimental results when you're not allowed to drop subjects off high buildings, freeze and thaw and dissect them. And juvenile humans - they're more unpredictable than weather!  ADHD is not really a lot fun to live with, either for the patient or for the family. You can't study; you can't sit through a movie; you can't read a book or listen to symphony. You make people nervous with the fidgeting and jumping up every few minutes and you make them angry, interrupting and getting distracted while they're talking to you; they don't like to be around you. It's hard to play games, make friends or go on a date. And you scare yourself, wondering all the time if you'll suddenly do something impulsive and dangerous, cause an accident, hurt somebody. You're not in full control - and that's an awful feeling.

  A good deal of work has been done on ADHD, so that the management of symptoms is improving. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html  

 

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1 hour ago, Peterkin said:

It's dealing with humans - how hard should it be? It's difficult to replicate experimental results when you're not allowed to drop subjects off high buildings, freeze and thaw and dissect them. And juvenile humans - they're more unpredictable than weather!  ADHD is not really a lot fun to live with, either for the patient or for the family. You can't study; you can't sit through a movie; you can't read a book or listen to symphony. You make people nervous with the fidgeting and jumping up every few minutes and you make them angry, interrupting and getting distracted while they're talking to you; they don't like to be around you. It's hard to play games, make friends or go on a date. And you scare yourself, wondering all the time if you'll suddenly do something impulsive and dangerous, cause an accident, hurt somebody. You're not in full control - and that's an awful feeling.

  A good deal of work has been done on ADHD, so that the management of symptoms is improving. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html  

 

Interesting take ...

ADHD is classified as a disability last I heard. There are so many ways it can disrupt an afflicted person's life that it's not surprising at all that psychologists have given it some much attention. 

Gracias for the link. 

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6 hours ago, Agent Smith said:

Psychology is, at the end of the day, a soft science, a very, very soft science. Some say much of its findings can't be replicated which is a serious setback to any field wanting to claim the IS A SCIENCE badge.

If I'm way off the mark, please someone do kindly educate me!

Your opinion about psychology is VERY polite, IMHO.. ;)

ps. +1 to reset neg..

 

5 hours ago, Peterkin said:

ADHD is not really a lot fun to live with, either for the patient or for the family. You can't study; you can't sit through a movie;

..you can try to analyze and compare brain activity (MRI?), blood/fluids content (e.g. to check presence of neurotransmitters), when somebody has change in mood/attack..

 

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4 hours ago, Sensei said:

you can try to analyze and compare brain activity (MRI?), blood/fluids content (e.g. to check presence of neurotransmitters), when somebody has change in mood/attack..

In order to catch that moment of change, the subject would have to literally live in the laboratory with electrodes on his scalp (unless he's a rhesus monkey, in which case the electrodes would be shoved inside his skull) so not that many volunteers available. Yes, MRI is being tried, though not strictly within the purview of psychology. Work is also being done on the chemical front. So, far, no single definitive diagnostic tool, and unfortunately, no cure in sight. But they haven't given up.  

The reason psychology continues a soft science is that its subject matter is so elusive. ADHD is particularly elusive : it presents in almost as many guises as there are patients and frequently co-exists with other, more readily-identifiable conditions, such as substance dependency, which may, in fact, be due to the pre-existing disorder it masks. Jaundice is easy to define and pin down; ADD is complicated. 

And this - a situation I have encountered personally. https://ct.counseling.org/2011/08/the-challenge-of-diagnosing-adhd/ 

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6 hours ago, Sensei said:

Your opinion about psychology is VERY polite, IMHO.. ;)

ps. +1 to reset neg..

 

..you can try to analyze and compare brain activity (MRI?), blood/fluids content (e.g. to check presence of neurotransmitters), when somebody has change in mood/attack..

 

:P I only wrote what I read but what I read could've been biased. So yeah.

The issue, to the extent I can tell, is the greater degree of subjectivity involved in psychology as compared to the other subfields of medicine. For instance there's no lab value from (say) a blood test that could zero in on an ADHD patient.

That said, I must confess my ignorance of the accuracy and reliability scores of the staple of psychology, to wit psychometrics.  

 

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56 minutes ago, Agent Smith said:

That said, I must confess my ignorance of the accuracy and reliability scores of the staple of psychology,

Welcome to the club with the most prominent "professors" of psychology.. ;)

 

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1 hour ago, Agent Smith said:

the accuracy and reliability scores of the staple of psychology, to wit psychometrics.  

I wouldn't characterize psychometrics as the staple of psychology; I would rather call it a branch.

Psychology was not born as a science; it's more a convergence of medicine (as medicine grew and became more sophisticated and compartmentalized in the 20th century) and ministry (spiritual guidance, usually provided to a community by its shaman or religious guardian). 

People have always suffered from disturbances of the mind, but these were not always considered medical conditions. They are insubstantial - no boil to lance, no rotten tooth to yank; no fever, shooting pains or vomiting;  no spots or rashes or lumps to examine. They manifest in ordinary behaviours in what is considered inappropriate situations - except what is considered appropriate and inappropriate varies by culture and situation. It manifests in moods and feelings that are normal in some situations, in some degree and duration, but are considered abnormal in excess - except that the assessment of excess is also cultural and situational. It manifests in distress felt only by the patient, but judged by other people, who cannot see, touch or feel it themselves.

Consider the range of intelligence, sensitivity, temperament and resilience of human beings. Project that onto a big white wall. Superimpose the range of normal emotions, reactions and ideation of which beings are capable. Superimpose the range of philosophies and attitudes of societies to what is considered 'normal'. Superimpose the range of parenting style, influences, expectations and circumstances of childhood. Superimpose the list off the 'aberrant' behaviours people display. Superimpose the symptoms of exposure to chemicals in food, the environment, therapeutic and recreational substances. In front of that great big busy wall, put one young man who says: "Help me. I'm afraid to go to sleep."  Where do you start?  

Trying to address that kind of dis-ease, to classify, codify, diagnose, trace to its cause and alleviate it is never going to be a slide-rule kind of problem. 

Edited by Peterkin
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  Sometimes people get psychology, which remains a mix of art and science, confused with neuroscience, which is more the scientific approach.  Seems like there are branches that are closer to neuroscience, like psychopharmacology, where they draw on disciplines like biochemistry, genetics, etc.  Other branches, like Jungian analysis, tend more towards an intuitive art of observing a human psyche.  

There are interdisciplinary categories like behavioral science or cognitive science which, as their names imply, lean more towards the array of techniques called "the scientific method."

There's a fairly wide spectrum in how all these branches work, with counselors whose primary tool is empathy at one end, and neuroscientists whose primary tools are technology, clinical studies, and rigorous data sifting, at the other.

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2 hours ago, Peterkin said:

Yes, and in a liberal, accessible clinical environment, they all learn from one another.

Paraphrasing: "in a liberal, accessible environment, one astrologists learn from one another"..

3 hours ago, TheVat said:

Other branches, like Jungian analysis, tend more towards an intuitive art of observing a human psyche.  

..just like observing the stars in the sky and drawing conclusions..

 

(but there are very few stars visible to the naked eye)

2 hours ago, Peterkin said:

So the landscape of psychotherapies keeps changing, just as the social landscape in which the problems appear keeps changing. 

Scams come and go when they are abused too often and people get used to them..

(they even managed to compromise global warming and make money on it.. and COVID-19 and make money on it)

 

It used to be that people called a priest to listen to their whining, now they call their "psychotherapists".. funny..

 

 

1335495905_WestworldHopkins.png.04f56504692bf4bb0eeb26a670716184.png

(Westworld was too filled with "AI psychology" even for me ;) )

 

Edited by Sensei
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On 11/26/2022 at 1:37 AM, Sensei said:

Welcome to the club with the most prominent "professors" of psychology.. ;)

 

🙂

On 11/26/2022 at 1:38 AM, Peterkin said:

I wouldn't characterize psychometrics as the staple of psychology; I would rather call it a branch.

Psychology was not born as a science; it's more a convergence of medicine (as medicine grew and became more sophisticated and compartmentalized in the 20th century) and ministry (spiritual guidance, usually provided to a community by its shaman or religious guardian). 

People have always suffered from disturbances of the mind, but these were not always considered medical conditions. They are insubstantial - no boil to lance, no rotten tooth to yank; no fever, shooting pains or vomiting;  no spots or rashes or lumps to examine. They manifest in ordinary behaviours in what is considered inappropriate situations - except what is considered appropriate and inappropriate varies by culture and situation. It manifests in moods and feelings that are normal in some situations, in some degree and duration, but are considered abnormal in excess - except that the assessment of excess is also cultural and situational. It manifests in distress felt only by the patient, but judged by other people, who cannot see, touch or feel it themselves.

Consider the range of intelligence, sensitivity, temperament and resilience of human beings. Project that onto a big white wall. Superimpose the range of normal emotions, reactions and ideation of which beings are capable. Superimpose the range of philosophies and attitudes of societies to what is considered 'normal'. Superimpose the range of parenting style, influences, expectations and circumstances of childhood. Superimpose the list off the 'aberrant' behaviours people display. Superimpose the symptoms of exposure to chemicals in food, the environment, therapeutic and recreational substances. In front of that great big busy wall, put one young man who says: "Help me. I'm afraid to go to sleep."  Where do you start?  

Trying to address that kind of dis-ease, to classify, codify, diagnose, trace to its cause and alleviate it is never going to be a slide-rule kind of problem. 

Spoken like a true psychologist. In me haste I failed to recognize the complexity of the subject and give due credit to the dedication and brilliant work of psychologists the world over. Gracias.

I'm not as up-to-date with psychological techniques as I'd like to be. I'm sure there are well-tested methods in use in the diagnosis & management of mental illnesses. Do you know of any, other than psychometrics?

On 11/26/2022 at 2:47 AM, TheVat said:

  Sometimes people get psychology, which remains a mix of art and science, confused with neuroscience, which is more the scientific approach.  Seems like there are branches that are closer to neuroscience, like psychopharmacology, where they draw on disciplines like biochemistry, genetics, etc.  Other branches, like Jungian analysis, tend more towards an intuitive art of observing a human psyche.  

There are interdisciplinary categories like behavioral science or cognitive science which, as their names imply, lean more towards the array of techniques called "the scientific method."

There's a fairly wide spectrum in how all these branches work, with counselors whose primary tool is empathy at one end, and neuroscientists whose primary tools are technology, clinical studies, and rigorous data sifting, at the other.

An excellent observation. It'll be interesting to watch how neuroscience will get along with psychology. 

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1 hour ago, Agent Smith said:

I'm not as up-to-date with psychological techniques as I'd like to be. I'm sure there are well-tested methods in use in the diagnosis & management of mental illnesses. Do you know of any, other than psychometrics?

Actually, that is the branch of which I'm most skeptical. I have never been particularly well versed in clinical psychology; my only experience is in counselling college students. The heavy stuff, I only know at second hand, from the patient's side: two close friends with long-standing mental issues who have tried a number of approaches over the years. Approaches, rather than treatments; it's really not like mainstream medicine. I understand hardware pretty well; I'm comfortable in most hospital departments. The psych ward, though, behind the closed doors with heavy wire mesh panels... that's another country - which, I suppose, is why so many people are reluctant to acknowledge it.

The more interesting condition to me is chronic depression. It's a bitch of an illness: it turns bright, talented, interesting people into morbid slugs. And I'm glad somebody's willing to help them - I don't care if it's a priest, a psychiatrist or a voodoo mambo!  Not every approach works - not by a long chalk! And what works for one person might be no use to somebody else. There are some constants, but successful therapies are usually arrived-at through trial and error.

The other friend has ADHD, well controlled now, with a combination drug and personal routine regimen. As a child in the late 50's, he was called hyperkinetic and there was very little anyone could do for him, except the exercise I mentioned earlier. He should have become a great soccer player - except that he literally could not keep his eyes on the ball.  Since the medical and educational establishments have been taking the problem seriously, he's had considerable coaching in how to manage the symptoms himself, so that he can live a normal life.

Edited by Peterkin
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2 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

Actually, that is the branch of which I'm most skeptical. I have never been particularly well versed in clinical psychology; my only experience is in counselling college students. The heavy stuff, I only know at second hand, from the patient's side: two close friends with long-standing mental issues who have tried a number of approaches over the years. Approaches, rather than treatments; it's really not like mainstream medicine. I understand hardware pretty well; I'm comfortable in most hospital departments. The psych ward, though, behind the closed doors with wire mesh in the glass panels... that's another country - which, I suppose, is why so many people are reluctant to acknowledge it.

The more interesting condition to me is chronic depression. It's a bitch of an illness: it turns bright, talented, interesting people into morbid slugs. And I'm glad somebody's willing to help them - I don't care if it's a priest, a psychiatrist or a voodoo mambo!  Not every approach works - not by a long chalk! And what works for one person might be no use to somebody else. There are some constants, but successful therapies are usually arrived-at through trial and error.

The other friend has ADHD, well controlled now, with a combination drug and personal routine regimen. As a child in the late 50's, he was called hyperkinetic and there was very little anyone could do for him, except the exercise I mentioned earlier. He should have become a great soccer player - except that he literally could not keep his eyes on the ball.  Since the medical and educational establishments have been taking the problem seriously, he's had considerable coaching in how to manage the symptoms himself, so that he can live a normal life.

Interesting. Pathophysiological description of mental illnesses consist of many claims that could be, in principle, rephrased so to speak in terms familiar to a doctor/nurse.  This however hasn't happened. 

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1 hour ago, Agent Smith said:

Interesting. Pathophysiological description of mental illnesses consist of many claims that could be, in principle, rephrased so to speak in terms familiar to a doctor/nurse.  This however hasn't happened. 

I'm leery of words like 'claim'; it's pejorative by association, but too general to answer. Doctors and nurses working in that area have their own vocabulary, like every other professional community. Recently, the trend has been more toward naming in English, rather than Latin or German, so that it's easier to communicate with caregivers, relatives and the patient himself. Mental illness is difficult to classify and codify, yes; lots of grey areas. Cancer hasn't been cured yet, either, and nobody's picking on surgeons or radiologists. It's just harder to troubleshoot software; always will be: brains are more fragile and complicated than bones. Have you tried turning it off and on again? Sometimes that actually works. Psychology and neuroscience are still quite young, growing and adapting - but at least we no longer execute soldiers who suffer from PTSD.

Edited by Peterkin
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3 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

Mental illness is difficult to classify and codify, yes; lots of grey areas. Cancer hasn't been cured yet, either, and nobody's picking on surgeons or radiologists.

 

Cancer, at least you know you have it or not..

One of the local murderers here was a psychology student. Months spent with him by other students, professors, hours per day, and nothing.. that says a lot about this subject..

 

3 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

Cancer hasn't been cured yet, either, and nobody's picking on surgeons or radiologists.

These are methods of treatment, not detection.

 

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1 hour ago, Sensei said:

These are methods of treatment, not detection.

We have both. Up to a point.

1 hour ago, Sensei said:

Cancer, at least you know you have it or not..

Sometimes not till it's ready to kill you. Not as obvious as a broken bone, and comes in more flavours.

Lots of things cause people pain and distress. Some are obvious and easy to identify; some kill you faster than others; some are subtle and elusive; some come in clusters. To ignore any just because they're not simple is a cop-out. 

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11 hours ago, Peterkin said:

I'm leery of words like 'claim'; it's pejorative by association, but too general to answer. Doctors and nurses working in that area have their own vocabulary, like every other professional community. Recently, the trend has been more toward naming in English, rather than Latin or German, so that it's easier to communicate with caregivers, relatives and the patient himself. Mental illness is difficult to classify and codify, yes; lots of grey areas. Cancer hasn't been cured yet, either, and nobody's picking on surgeons or radiologists. It's just harder to troubleshoot software; always will be: brains are more fragile and complicated than bones. Have you tried turning it off and on again? Sometimes that actually works. Psychology and neuroscience are still quite young, growing and adapting - but at least we no longer execute soldiers who suffer from PTSD.

I have some idea how schizophrenia was/is diagnosed.

Look for cardinal symptoms like, as per Eugene Bleuler, autism, ambivalence, inappropriate affect, loosening of association. How exactly these are determined to be present in a suspected schizophrenic is an unknown to me.

 

11 hours ago, Sensei said:

Cancer, at least you know you have it or not..

Indeed!

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3 hours ago, Agent Smith said:

I have some idea how schizophrenia was/is diagnosed.

Look for cardinal symptoms like, as per Eugene Bleuler, autism, ambivalence, inappropriate affect, loosening of association. How exactly these are determined to be present in a suspected schizophrenic is an unknown to me.

 

Indeed!

How about fear? Is that a mental illness?

If someone like Putin learns to fear, is he mental or ambivalent? 

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51 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

How about fear? Is that a mental illness?

Like every other mental illness, the problem begins with a normal emotion or idea applied in excess or inappropriately. Fear is normal and healthy in cases where an animal is aware of a imminent danger or probable threat. It becomes unhealthy when extended to situation where there is no danger. For example, fear of falling off a high place is appropriate when one is standing on a clifftop and the possibility of falling over the edge is real. When standing on an high observation platform, surrounded by steel and glass, with no possibility of falling off, it's inappropriate, but still normal, because the fear is triggered by visual association. When standing on a chair, it's neurotic: a phobia, but still manageable. When standing on solid ground, afraid to step out the door, it's a serious problem. 

I do not see the relevance of Putin.  

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4 hours ago, Agent Smith said:

How exactly these are determined to be present in a suspected schizophrenic is an unknown to me.

What the Mayo Clinic has to say.

4 hours ago, Agent Smith said:

"Cancer, at least you know you have it or not" Indeed.

You think so? For two months I was convinced I had an impacted salivary gland. An acquaintance (met while undergoing radiation) was convinced she was cancer-free following extensive treatments, only to die of an undiscovered liver metastasis a month later. Cancer can be pretty tricky, too.

4 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Do you/people fear him?

I and other people fear many kinds of threat, both imminent and remote, while failing to fear threats of which we should be aware and are not. Putin is still not relevant to mental illness or the soft science of psychology. 

Edited by Peterkin
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5 hours ago, dimreepr said:

How about fear? Is that a mental illness?

If someone like Putin learns to fear, is he mental or ambivalent? 

We'd have to first work out what mental illnesses are. Then see if fear fulfills any criteria for a particular psychiatric malady.

4 hours ago, Peterkin said:

You think so? For two months I was convinced I had an impacted salivary gland. An acquaintance (met while undergoing radiation) was convinced she was cancer-free following extensive treatments, only to die of an undiscovered liver metastasis a month later. Cancer can be pretty tricky, too.

Diagnosing physical illnesses is much easier and more precise than mental ones. 

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56 minutes ago, Agent Smith said:

Diagnosing physical illnesses is much easier and more precise than mental ones. 

Diagnosing some physical illnesses is much easier and more precise than mental ones. 

Diagnosing physical illnesses is much easier and more precise than some mental ones. 

Diagnosing physical illnesses is somewhat easier and more precise than mental ones. 

Diagnostic capability is increasing * but it's far from foolproof ; lots of physical illness is diagnosed at autopsy - so don't get too cocky!

*which incidentally moves some mental illnesses over to the physical camp

Quote

Thanks to new tools in genetics and neuroimaging, scientists are making progress toward deciphering details of the underlying biology of mental disorders.

Like I said before: medicine is still growing.

Edited by Peterkin
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