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Is Psychology A Science?


PhDwannabe
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fMRI, EEG, etc can all help with noting the differences of structure and function of the brain between normal/abnormal subjects.

That is certainly true, but Divagreen made the following statement, which I think is false:

 

"Emotions are easier to read on an EEG ... " {in post 21}

 

I wish to know if Divagreen's claim has a foundation.

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prove it with objective, verifiable and purely scientific arguments!

 

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/160/9/1693

http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/60/6/585

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2143298

http://www.asdinfo.org/documents/files/Glutamate_neurontransmitter_abnormalities.pdf

http://www.asdinfo.org/documents/files/Brain_structural_abnormalities_in_ASD_kids.pdf

It goes on and on

 

the only "ways" to discern whether there problems or not in this field, are sets of questions and answers arbitrarily set by a bunch of people for no objective and scientific reason... science is not about that

 

In what way are the questions and answers arbitrary. And is this purely about clinical psych or psych in general. Either way I don't see how you are saying the questions asked are unscientific.

 

 

I didn't say that only people who are undereducated/unintelligent get psychological help or that psychologists try to take advantage of them... what I really wanted to say is that psychotherapy tends to work better with less intelligent people, that is, with people with lower IQs (education is not really a factor, because there are many university graduates that don't posses extraordinary thinking skills)

and here's why: first of all, people with lower IQs tend to think less and also tend to be in error with regards to certain facts more often than people with higher IQ, thing that sometimes leads to various problems, which problems might somehow lead to psychological counseling... in this case, the psychologist, can convince the individual that he is wrong, using logical argumentation or other techniques... another aspect of those with lower IQs, is that they are more likely to take for granted the words of those whom they perceive as being "authorities" on the subject and rarely question the word of the "perceived experts"

as for who get helps, people with lower IQs tend to live in more rigid circles people, where conformance and adherence to customs, tradition, "moral" values and so on is important... as such, these people are sometimes pressed by family members, friends, colleagues, etc. to seek "help" if they don't conform to the expectations of the group and "deviate" from what others do in similar circumstances... people with high IQs far less often get fooled and are rarely in error with regard to certain facts, logical argumentation usually doesn't work because they already understand the logical aspects of their situation, they're usually more independent and tend to care less about what others say about their conformance or non-conformance to group/societal values as long as it's not outright illegal what they do

 

You realize everything you just discussed has been studied and proven by *drum roll* Psychology.

 

the problem with drugs, is that they can be used to "help" any kind of so called "symptom" from political or religious beliefs to relationships, sexuality and so on... the essence of the problem is the fact that these symptoms are arbitrarily established, without any objective criteria, because social constructs can't be objective... and to give you an extreme example, drugs can be used in such a way that people can be made to accept outright harm as normal: just give them the right amount of anti-psychotics so they no longer protest (show "symptoms") when they are raped or some other type of harm is being done to them...

 

Clinical psychologists aren't released to give drugs. And the situation you describe is a highly unethical situation that ANY doctor with the ability to write prescriptions could do, that doesn't make it not a science.

 

 

of course I looked through the dsm, this subject is not new to me at all... the definition is a mishmash of subjective and relative terms that don't mean much... besides there are arbitrary exceptions, like "culturally sanctioned responses to various events", extreme religious or political views, etc. oh, and there are other definitions, like that in the ICD, that hints to "brain lesions" and other physical stuff that has never been proved to exist

 

Brain lesions don't exist? Do you know what a Brain lesion is?

 

as I said, I have yet to see one single single brain scan that conveys some scientific information... they're all done without respecting the scientific method and rely on arbitrary interpretations... brains are different, and their appearance can be affected by many things... activity in certain regions proves literally nothing... unless we understand the detailed functioning of the brain, such scans are literally useless!

 

Though you're wrong about brain scans, how about attaching electrodes to certain areas of the brain then stimulating those areas to see what reactions they cause.

 

Here are some examples

 

it isn't!

 

Then biology isn't a science either?

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I personally believe that there are many more sciences than most people think. I would in fact call Economics, biology, Psychology, Geology and many more Sciences, sciences. It is just researching a subject through certain means, then consolidating them into easily (some not so much) understanable rules, laws and theories.

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That is certainly true, but Divagreen made the following statement, which I think is false:

 

"Emotions are easier to read on an EEG ... " {in post 21}

 

I wish to know if Divagreen's claim has a foundation.

 

Allow me to clarify...this is one of my sources:

 

The differentiation of basic emotions by means of EEG power spectra has been discussed extensively by Machleidt et al. (1989). The present contribution concentrates on the interhemispheric coupling of different EEG-signals as depending on the modulation of these emotions. In the first part the estimation and interpretation of squared coherence spectra is outlined. Results from this technique are presented in the following section. Intention, Aggression and Joy are mainly characterized by an increase of alpha-coherence, whereas a decrease is seen for Anxiety and Sorrow. These effects showed a widespread distribution.

 

Cite: International Journal of Psychophysiology

Volume 13, Issue 3, December 1992, Pages 225-232

 

Please allow me to restate that the chemical reactions in the brain that relate to the corresponding emotions assigned may be observed via EEG. And when I say emotions I am talking about anger, pain and pleasure. It has been observed that certain parts of the brain become more active under the influence emotions.

 

So when I said that, "emotions are easier to read on an EEG" I was speaking within the context of, "Can you not use Psychology to learn how the brain works? For example what part does what?" and attempting to provide some input on the relevance of Psychophysiology in response to your question. I think that we are coming at this from different angles...

 

Reasons I doubt is you have no way to know what "emotion," if any, is being experienced, except verbal humans can give a self report, which may or may not be truthful and even if it is truthful, may not be correct.

 

What IS easy and readily confirmable is body movements.

 

I think that I might be understanding where you are going with this...I have worked on clients where their bodies are visibly flinching, the muscles that I am palpating are tensing, their eyes slightly dilate and they may break out into a sweat...all indications of a pain response. I would be willing to bet an EEG would confirm this. But if asked, "Is this pressure okay?", I may receive the answer, "Yes, it feels great".

 

I think that it is the context and expectations of the communication involved that can best provide the validity of the response... :D

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I can't see one single valid study that proves anything... those studies either conclude absolutely nothing, either use terms like "suggest" "provides further support for" and all are based on the very old mistake: correlation=causation... however, they're at least wary enough not to make very bold statements so as to suggest that any of these studies proves anything definitively... people like you on the other hand, interpret those studies as scientific facts that undoubtedly show the existence of "mental illnesses"

 

one of the studies you mentioned is from 1990... if from 1990 until this day no one, ever, anywhere used any type of brain scan for "diagnosing mental illnesses" then maybe you should at least suspect that something is wrong/incomplete/unclear with all these brain scans and correlations... but, no, you selectively take for granted whatever fits your preconceived ideas..

 

as others have said, brain scans related to psychiatry and psychology are a form of high-tech phrenology:

 

in order to understand better what's wrong with fMRI and other brain scans I recommend these articles:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-new-phrenology

http://rsl.stanford.edu/nis/deb_articles/dobbs_sciamerican.pdf

 

and, as a bonus, take a look at some already acknowledged pseudo-sciences (don't worry, psychiatry will follow somtime in the future) that use fMRI to justify their "scientific" relevance in exactly the same way psychiatry and psychology do:

 

http://www.frtcm.org/neuroimaging.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12202090

http://www.academyforguidedimagery.com/annualconference/detailed/page4/page4.html

http://www.santeplus.se/reflexologyresearch.html

 

 

In what way are the questions and answers arbitrary. And is this purely about clinical psych or psych in general. Either way I don't see how you are saying the questions asked are unscientific.

The questions and answers are arbitrary because they are not the result of some scientific research and conclusions, but they're simply invented by the psychiatrists that propose the illnesses in cause to be voted into existence... they only fit the beliefs of those who invent them and correspond to what they believe that should be right (normal) or what should be wrong (abnormal) ... this differs radically from ordinary medicine! In reality no single real diagnosis can be made by questions and answers, but by some type of real medical investigation like laboratory tests for blood, saliva, etc., biopsies, all sorts of scans from x-ray to CT, PET, MRI, etc. and many other things that deal with the real, physical world... some try to counter this because in some cases ordinary medicine doctors (try to) "diagnose" people by asking questions... this is false, because these are not real diagnoses but rather educated guesses and happen usually in circumstances like the following: some symptoms (explained by the patient) hint to extremely common medical conditions like for example the common cold (though this sometimes involves a bit of physical examination) and are treated with medicine that is generally not harmful - on the other hand no one diagnoses cancer by asking questions... and real diseases have the symptoms assigned because they're scientifically established and directly linked to the corresponding diseases... in the case of psychiatry they're literally invented in a subjective way and are often extremely relative (how could "not listening to adults repeatedly" or "being defiant to authorities" be a real symptom of a real disease? LOL! and how is non conformance to those many and stupid a sign of "mental illness" ... on the other hand why are excepted extreme religious manifestations? just because they want so it seems..)

 

 

Clinical psychologists aren't released to give drugs.

No, they're free to persuade other people that are wrong, based on the teachings of the psychiatric bible... do you really find ethical any of the following:

- trying to convince a kid to listen to his parents, whose parents want him to learn religious teachings, although he doesn't want (it's not very uncommon for some parents, especially those who do "homeschooling" to try "treat" their kids for their resistance against subjects like religion - I don't know how psychiatrists react, but I guess they have their own opinions about this)

- trying to convince a mother of a baby that she has to go out with the baby and do shopping and other things, to breast-feed and so on (I know one case where a husband tried and eventually, threatening with divorce, managed to convince his wife to see a psychiatrist because she only wanted to go out with a 6 month old baby on the streets relatively close to their house, but refused to go to supermarkets, to the mall, etc with the baby... also she wanted a bit of free time

 

that doesn't make it not a science.

no, it makes it non-medical! the fact that people can be drugged to the point that they no longer behave in some ways, is not new at all.... but this has nothing to do with medicine...

 

Brain lesions don't exist? Do you know what a Brain lesion is?

a brain lesion in a general context is just a lesion that occurs on/in the brain... a brain lesion in the context of that definition, is a lesion that leads to the "mental illnesses" listed by the IDC - only that those particular lesions that supposedly lead to the corresponding mental conditions have never been proven to exist...

 

Though you're wrong about brain scans, how about attaching electrodes to certain areas of the brain then stimulating those areas to see what reactions they cause.

 

Here are some examples

that's the field of neurology, not psychiatry or psychology... and that looks more like random messing with the brain than sensible research..

 

Then biology isn't a science either?

biology is a science, but like in many other fields, certain aspects are not too scientific... the same holds true for the string theory in particle physics, for the bing bang theory, dark matter/dark energy and many other things in astronomy, for the assertion that anthropomorphic global warming is an absolute certainty in climatology and so on...

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I can't see one single valid study that proves anything... those studies either conclude absolutely nothing, either use terms like "suggest" "provides further support for" and all are based on the very old mistake: correlation=causation... however, they're at least wary enough not to make very bold statements so as to suggest that any of these studies proves anything definitively... people like you on the other hand, interpret those studies as scientific facts that undoubtedly show the existence of "mental illnesses"

 

I never said it was 100% proof, but showing strong correlation does constitute evidence towards there being a relationship. The fact that I only gave ones that correlated with mental handicaps was because that's what you specifically asked for. Mental illness is not the focus of the entirety of psychology.

 

 

one of the studies you mentioned is from 1990... if from 1990 until this day no one, ever, anywhere used any type of brain scan for "diagnosing mental illnesses" then maybe you should at least suspect that something is wrong/incomplete/unclear with all these brain scans and correlations... but, no, you selectively take for granted whatever fits your preconceived ideas..

 

Why would they use brain scans to diagnose? That would be extremely expensive, like using CAT scans to diagnose a headache.

 

 

as others have said, brain scans related to psychiatry and psychology are a form of high-tech phrenology:

 

in order to understand better what's wrong with fMRI and other brain scans I recommend these articles:

http://www.scientifi...-new-phrenology

http://rsl.stanford....sciamerican.pdf

 

Of course fMRI aren't exact and of course a single area of the brain can be in use for many different functions, but studying the brain is like studying DNA right now. Although we can't say with exact accuracy what function each little part does or how many interacting parts it does to carry out a single function we are getting closer and closer to figuring these things out.

 

 

and, as a bonus, take a look at some already acknowledged pseudo-sciences (don't worry, psychiatry will follow somtime in the future) that use fMRI to justify their "scientific" relevance in exactly the same way psychiatry and psychology do:

 

http://www.frtcm.org/neuroimaging.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/12202090

http://www.academyfo...age4/page4.html

http://www.santeplus...gyresearch.html

And Deepak Chopra has used quantum mechanics to 'prove' his theories, does that make physics not a science? Just because a tool can be used by quacks doesn't mean the tool is totally ineffective.

 

The questions and answers are arbitrary because they are not the result of some scientific research and conclusions, but they're simply invented by the psychiatrists that propose the illnesses in cause to be voted into existence... they only fit the beliefs of those who invent them and correspond to what they believe that should be right (normal) or what should be wrong (abnormal) ... this differs radically from ordinary medicine! In reality no single real diagnosis can be made by questions and answers, but by some type of real medical investigation like laboratory tests for blood, saliva, etc., biopsies, all sorts of scans from x-ray to CT, PET, MRI, etc. and many other things that deal with the real, physical world... some try to counter this because in some cases ordinary medicine doctors (try to) "diagnose" people by asking questions... this is false, because these are not real diagnoses but rather educated guesses and happen usually in circumstances like the following: some symptoms (explained by the patient) hint to extremely common medical conditions like for example the common cold (though this sometimes involves a bit of physical examination) and are treated with medicine that is generally not harmful - on the other hand no one diagnoses cancer by asking questions... and real diseases have the symptoms assigned because they're scientifically established and directly linked to the corresponding diseases... in the case of psychiatry they're literally invented in a subjective way and are often extremely relative (how could "not listening to adults repeatedly" or "being defiant to authorities" be a real symptom of a real disease? LOL! and how is non conformance to those many and stupid a sign of "mental illness" ... on the other hand why are excepted extreme religious manifestations? just because they want so it seems..)

 

Why do you keep talking about psychiatrists? They are not psychologists, they are M.D.s. Why is it you think the whole of psychology is about mental illness?

 

No, they're free to persuade other people that are wrong, based on the teachings of the psychiatric bible... do you really find ethical any of the following:

- trying to convince a kid to listen to his parents, whose parents want him to learn religious teachings, although he doesn't want (it's not very uncommon for some parents, especially those who do "homeschooling" to try "treat" their kids for their resistance against subjects like religion - I don't know how psychiatrists react, but I guess they have their own opinions about this)

- trying to convince a mother of a baby that she has to go out with the baby and do shopping and other things, to breast-feed and so on (I know one case where a husband tried and eventually, threatening with divorce, managed to convince his wife to see a psychiatrist because she only wanted to go out with a 6 month old baby on the streets relatively close to their house, but refused to go to supermarkets, to the mall, etc with the baby... also she wanted a bit of free time

 

Again psychiatry. Also, where are your sources that something like this happened? Or are you just making up situations to appeal to emotion?

 

a brain lesion in a general context is just a lesion that occurs on/in the brain... a brain lesion in the context of that definition, is a lesion that leads to the "mental illnesses" listed by the IDC - only that those particular lesions that supposedly lead to the corresponding mental conditions have never been proven to exist...

 

 

What? Are you saying brain damage doesn't cause mental conditions?

 

 

that's the field of neurology, not psychiatry or psychology... and that looks more like random messing with the brain than sensible research..

 

So you're saying that people who study brains shouldn't mess with brains in their research? How is it that these brain studies are not related to psychology, the study of the mind?

 

biology is a science, but like in many other fields, certain aspects are not too scientific... the same holds true for the string theory in particle physics, for the bing bang theory, dark matter/dark energy and many other things in astronomy, for the assertion that anthropomorphic global warning is an absolute certainty in climatology and so on...

Where are you getting that these theories are not scientific? What is not scientific about them? Do you have to agree with the theories for it to be science?

 

 

 

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Science has reduced us to being nothing more then chemicals reactions

I'm afraid we're a bit more than chemical reactions... science tries to explain the physical world, including ourselves... however science can only give answers only when there's enough information and only when the hypothesis is tested in rigorous way... until then, only non science can give (often false) answers.. and unfortunately we know very little about ourselves, much less so about our brain..

 

Negative chemical reactions

uhm... what are those?

 

chemical in-balance in their brains

how do we know about that if no one ever bothers to measure such things when they make a diagnosis? psychiatrists only know one thing: questions and answers, questions and answers, questions and answers...

 

they need tools to gain some control over their behavior.

I'm afraid in some cases (not few unfortunately) it isn't the patient that gains any control, but others gain control over the patient...

 

Our society that we interact with on a daily basis sets the standards of behavior so therefore this science is extremely valuable for human survival.

if the society sets the "standards" of behavior, does it mean that we are born with a brain that makes us like the rules set by societu or that our brains modify themselves in a "correct" way when society creates or modify the "standards of behavior", so that it may make sense to consider non-conformance a mental illness? We can take for example the case of Iran... before 1979, many things were allowed... after 1979, tons of islamic restrictions were introduced so that the life o many people became a hell... were those people crazy because they didn't like the new rules set by society?

 

Behavior modification is by no means limited to people suffering from mental issues but to the entire human race. Happier, well adjusted beings will interact more cooperatively with other beings and this is the foundation that is critical for human survival.

well, then we should convice our politicians to legalize marijuana... and perhaps other drugs... :)

 

Please allow me to restate that the chemical reactions in the brain that relate to the corresponding emotions assigned may be observed via EEG. And when I say emotions I am talking about anger, pain and pleasure. It has been observed that certain parts of the brain become more active under the influence emotions.

1. are you sure that eeg measures "chemical reactions?"

2. how do you know that "chemical reactions" relate in any way to the observed emotions?

 

It has been observed that certain parts of the brain become more active under the influence emotions.

so what does that mean and why?

 

In a response befitting the self-correcting nature of science, Iacoboni’s U.C.L.A. colleague Russell Poldrack and 16 other neuroscientists from labs around the world published a response three days later in the Times, explaining: “As cognitive neuroscientists who use the same brain imaging technology, we know that it is not possible to definitively determine whether a person is anxious or feeling connected simply by looking at activity in a particular brain region. This is so because brain regions are typically en­gaged by many mental states, and thus a one-to-one mapping between a brain region and a mental state is not possible.”

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-new-phrenology

 

 

I would be willing to bet an EEG would confirm this. But if asked, "Is this pressure okay?", I may receive the answer, "Yes, it feels great".

no type of brain scan can "confirm" any emotion... what worse, people like you tend to trust more pseudo-scientific instruments than what the pacient says... oh, and "bodies are visibly flinching, the muscles that I am palpating are tensing, their eyes slightly dilate and they may break out into a sweat" are not indications of pain...

 

I never said it was 100% proof, but showing strong correlation does constitute evidence towards there being a relationship. The fact that I only gave ones that correlated with mental handicaps was because that's what you specifically asked for. Mental illness is not the focus of the entirety of psychology.

a correlation by itself, no matter how strong, never proves anything and is not evidence for anything... for example, during summer year after year people eat more ice cream and at the same time more people get drowned... this is a very strong correlation that proves nothing and there are many others situations with similar correlations but it's not obvious at all that something is wrong...

 

Mental illness is not the focus of the entirety of psychology.

It's not, but other areas of psychology also use correlations to prove various things, which things are equally invalid... for example, some try to use correlations to prove that violence and sex in the media are harmful to kids, or that fatherless kids become criminals...

 

Why would they use brain scans to diagnose? That would be extremely expensive, like using CAT scans to diagnose a headache.

brain scans are used sometimes to detect brain tumors or perhaps other things... so that they may be used to detect "mental illnesses" in certain cases - for example when the patient would deprived of his freedom and rights, or when the situation is extreme... but no "mental illnesses" are detected by brain scans... it would be indeed ridiculous to detect by brain scans lesions/malformations/whatever that probe that kids don't listen to their fundamentalist christian or islamic parents due to their brain lesions

 

we are getting closer and closer to figuring these things out.

with the wrong method I'm afraid it's not possible... however, if these things ever become clear and certain, only then should we profess to know what we claim to know.. until then it's a murky area and no sensible conclusions can be drawn...

 

And Deepak Chopra has used quantum mechanics to 'prove' his theories, does that make physics not a science? Just because a tool can be used by quacks doesn't mean the tool is totally ineffective.

the problem is not necessarily the tool (fMRI) - although it doesn't do what many think, but the way the conclusions are drawn... almost all of those who use this tool make tons of assumptions that have no real basis (that the brain is compartmentalized/modular etc) and the way they infer what they see

 

Why do you keep talking about psychiatrists? They are not psychologists, they are M.D.s. Why is it you think the whole of psychology is about mental illness?

Again psychiatry. Also, where are your sources that something like this happened? Or are you just making up situations to appeal to emotion?

1. whenever I hear terms like "mental illness", "mental disorder", "personality disorder" I think of psychiatry, because I'm afraid that's the field that deals with these things

2. people I know... I have no reason to make anything up... you can find tons of examples (especially in the US) where people are forced to go to counseling or for psychiatric evaluations for very trivial things...

 

What? Are you saying brain damage doesn't cause mental conditions?

No, I'm not saying that, but when such a thing appears, it's no longer the field of psychiatry/psychology but rather neurology. And I'm saying that the arguments the individuals at the APA or WHO bring are null. Those from the WHO suggest that the mental illnesses listed by them are caused by corresponding brain lesions, just that such lesions have yet to be detected. If what they say were true, any mental illness listed by them would be easily identified by brain scans. But that's not the case.

 

 

 

So you're saying that people who study brains shouldn't mess with brains in their research? How is it that these brain studies are not related to psychology, the study of the mind?

The things done in those studies aren't related to the mind in any way... they just applied randomly some electrical current and got some neurological responses... when they manage to change someone's taste in, let's say, cars - let me know! :)

 

 

Where are you getting that these theories are not scientific? What is not scientific about them? Do you have to agree with the theories for it to be science?

It's not that the theories are not scientific, it's that they have never been tested and proven. As such, their assumptions cannot be regarded as scientific facts.

 

It seems that you're a bit new to (real) science... :)

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  • 4 months later...

I wouldn't consider it a science at all. My defining criteria is that same or similar input should result in same or similar output. Such as in chemistry a specific combination of elements results in a specific reaction. Wherein psychiatry/psychology which to a large extent relies on self reporting or the reporting of a close family member is entirely subject to human error and misconception and weither the doctor has had coffee yet Thus I believe results in a diagnosis which is nothing more than "best guess"

 

The same scenario with a different explanation of symptoms can and quite often does result in a different diagnosis as well 2 or more doctors could also interpret the information differently and arrive at 2 entirely different and contradictory diagnosis for the same patient.

 

Show me consistent repeatability and maybe it'll pass for a science but nope not yet. The DSM is open to interpretation as much as the Christian bible and that hinders repeatability. But then what do I know I'm a diagnosed schizophrenic.

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a correlation by itself, no matter how strong, never proves anything and is not evidence for anything... for example, during summer year after year people eat more ice cream and at the same time more people get drowned... this is a very strong correlation that proves nothing and there are many others situations with similar correlations but it's not obvious at all that something is wrong...

 

This is just clinical psych since that seems to be all you are familiar with.

 

 

We could very well get full proof that you may accept, the problem is to get this proof would require highly unethical methodology. We could create lesions in areas of the brain thought to exacerbate schizophrenia, but that would be unethical. Same thing with attempting to recreate severe depression, PTSD, etc. The reason we are held back is not because psychology isn't a science, but that the ethical guidelines are very strict when working with human subjects.

 

And any good psychologist would tell you that A doesn't necessarily cause B, but there is a relationship between the two.

 

 

It's not, but other areas of psychology also use correlations to prove various things, which things are equally invalid... for example, some try to use correlations to prove that violence and sex in the media are harmful to kids, or that fatherless kids become criminals...

 

First if you are going to quote studies please cite sources, not just things the media spouts. Every study I have read on the subject doesn't say that TV causes violence, even the correlation of the TV and violence are marginal at best, but children around violence tend to become more violent. The media tends to portray this as violent TV which turns into just TV. I have yet to see anyone say that it is just the television. There are also follow up studies that have shown that it is probably more a tendency to seek out violence, even in virtual form, that shows a correlation between people watching/playing violent things and committing violent acts.

 

Same thing with the fatherless kids. It's more about the likely hood of lower Socio-economic status households tend to have a higher rate of fathers leaving as well as kids that commit crimes.

 

 

brain scans are used sometimes to detect brain tumors or perhaps other things... so that they may be used to detect "mental illnesses" in certain cases - for example when the patient would deprived of his freedom and rights, or when the situation is extreme... but no "mental illnesses" are detected by brain scans... it would be indeed ridiculous to detect by brain scans lesions/malformations/whatever that probe that kids don't listen to their fundamentalist christian or islamic parents due to their brain lesions

 

You could very well use a brain scan to determine that people are hearing voices and the like, but again it is too expensive and impractical.

 

You should really stop acting like deviance is the only requirement to having a mental illness.

 

 

with the wrong method I'm afraid it's not possible... however, if these things ever become clear and certain, only then should we profess to know what we claim to know.. until then it's a murky area and no sensible conclusions can be drawn...

 

Then please teach us what these methods could be.

 

 

the problem is not necessarily the tool (fMRI) - although it doesn't do what many think, but the way the conclusions are drawn... almost all of those who use this tool make tons of assumptions that have no real basis (that the brain is compartmentalized/modular etc) and the way they infer what they see

 

So you believe the globalization theory of mind? You really don't think, say, the occipital lobe is the main functioning area of the brain for visual input. Or that the olfactory bulb isn't used in the sense of smell?

 

 

1. whenever I hear terms like "mental illness", "mental disorder", "personality disorder" I think of psychiatry, because I'm afraid that's the field that deals with these things

2. people I know... I have no reason to make anything up... you can find tons of examples (especially in the US) where people are forced to go to counseling or for psychiatric evaluations for very trivial things...

 

psychiatry isn't psychology and illness and disorder isn't the scope of psychology; it isn't psychologists fault you are ignorant of the science.

 

I'll just act like you had real evidence supporting your second statement and say that has nothing to do with psychology being a science.

 

No, I'm not saying that, but when such a thing appears, it's no longer the field of psychiatry/psychology but rather neurology. And I'm saying that the arguments the individuals at the APA or WHO bring are null. Those from the WHO suggest that the mental illnesses listed by them are caused by corresponding brain lesions, just that such lesions have yet to be detected. If what they say were true, any mental illness listed by them would be easily identified by brain scans. But that's not the case.

 

You don't get to decide where the lines are of sciences. Not to mention that sciences almost always overlap. Saying something is neurology doesn't mean it doesn't fall into the field of psychology. There's an entire field of overlap between neuroscience and psychology, cognitive neuroscience/biological psychology/behavioral neuroscience.

 

Again, and please repeat this as many times as you like, mental illness isn't the entirety of psychology.

 

 

 

The things done in those studies aren't related to the mind in any way... they just applied randomly some electrical current and got some neurological responses... when they manage to change someone's taste in, let's say, cars - let me know! :)

 

Yes because stimulation causing reactions over and over, as well as changing behavior doesn't mean anything. Please explain how this isn't relating to the mind, or do you believe that the mind and brain are separate?

 

 

 

It's not that the theories are not scientific, it's that they have never been tested and proven. As such, their assumptions cannot be regarded as scientific facts.

 

Ya, like that long statement of psychologically proven statements you made earlier in this thread?

 

It seems that you're a bit new to (real) science... :)

 

Then please, o god of the sciences, teach me the way. . .

 

I wouldn't consider it a science at all. My defining criteria is that same or similar input should result in same or similar output. Such as in chemistry a specific combination of elements results in a specific reaction. Wherein psychiatry/psychology which to a large extent relies on self reporting or the reporting of a close family member is entirely subject to human error and misconception and weither the doctor has had coffee yet Thus I believe results in a diagnosis which is nothing more than "best guess"

The same scenario with a different explanation of symptoms can and quite often does result in a different diagnosis as well 2 or more doctors could also interpret the information differently and arrive at 2 entirely different and contradictory diagnosis for the same patient.

 

Show me consistent repeatability and maybe it'll pass for a science but nope not yet. The DSM is open to interpretation as much as the Christian bible and that hinders repeatability. But then what do I know I'm a diagnosed schizophrenic.

Mental illness is not the entirety of psychology. Not to mention this whole thing holds up the same more any medical field, so are they unscientific as well?

 

 

 

 

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Psychology is too hypothetical. there is no way to draw conclusive evidence that theories are indeed correct, Who should be able to define normal and abnormal? Why are they correct when a large portion of the general public disagrees? Diagnostic criteria is too broad so as to encompass many ailments under an umbrella term such as schizophrenia, Should a science not scrutinize and seek out causes and correalations before coming to a conclusion?

Psychology is nothing more than "best guess" No other medical profession has anywhere near the number of mis-diagnosis as psychiatry and psychology where it seems "if the shoe fits........wear it"

Maybe psychology is a science but those practicing it are poor scientists.

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Psychology is too hypothetical. there is no way to draw conclusive evidence that theories are indeed correct, Who should be able to define normal and abnormal? Why are they correct when a large portion of the general public disagrees? Diagnostic criteria is too broad so as to encompass many ailments under an umbrella term such as schizophrenia, Should a science not scrutinize and seek out causes and correalations before coming to a conclusion?

Psychology is nothing more than "best guess" No other medical profession has anywhere near the number of mis-diagnosis as psychiatry and psychology where it seems "if the shoe fits........wear it"

Maybe psychology is a science but those practicing it are poor scientists.

 

 

Do you have any sources to back up any of the claims you made? Do you think IQ, negative/positive reinforcement, change blindness, learning stages, conformation bias, etc etc are all BS and hypothetical?

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Sweet Jesus, I leave for 6 little months and it degenerates into this?

 

1) Read my first couple of posts. I spent a lot of time on them. Mostly to procrastinate. The informative public service they provide is a valuable secondary gain.

2) Critically peruse, I don't know, an intro psych textbook for, I don't know, half an hour.

3) Stop regurgitating what you read some blogger say about some other idiot's interpretation of Thomas Szasz. Worse still, stop thinking for yourself so much. Other people have puzzled out these same issues more extensively than you've had time to. You've got to pay the bills, and all. Other people are smarter than you. Seek them out and copy their halfway-reasoned ideas. It's called an education.

4) You want to criticize something? Criticize a study. They're the bricks of science, in this one or any of the others. You might have to read one first, though. Find fault with their methodology, or implications, or treatment of the existing literature. What's that? You want to fight me about treatment efficacy? Awesome. Well, open wide, baby bird, we've got a whole barrel o' treatment efficacy research we can fight over 'til the oceans boil, and psychologists are consequently far less in demand.

 

But, hey, guess what! We're not entitled to our own facts! (It distresses me far more than you'll ever know!) This sort of mouth-breathing, Cheetos-on-the-face, slurred pronouncement of "MAN, THEY CANT DO NOTHIN', 'CAUSE IT'S ALL UP FOR 'TERPRETATION, MAN" doesn't get us anywhere productive, or interesting, or fun.

 

Or, I don't know, take another lick of the non sequitur toad and keep on rambling about whatever. There. En garde.

 

 

 

I have returned.

-Douglas MacArthur / Me

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3) We can do better. We are doing better, I think--the neuroscience revolution is prompting a lot of people in my field to take a hard look at the hard-scientific rigor of their study (often because they want a piece of the sexy new neuroscience action.) The attitude of the cognitive-behaviorists over the last several decades--"hell yes you can test therapy outcomes; you can and you should!"--has broken some of the sacred bonds of the therapy room that, for much of clinical psychology's history, didn't allow in a lot of empirical investigation. Even the psychodynamic folks--whom I regard as fairly goofy anyway--want their own outcome studies now. The difficulty seems to be that, since a lot of the earlier theories frequently lack scientific rigor and falsifiability, how are we supposed to definitively prove them wrong? I don't think I can conclusively show a Freudian that classical Freudian psychodynamic theory is wrong any more than I can really "disprove" Christianity to a priest. Because they're both religions.

 

I want to say that psychology should do better to have more generalized principles, such as Laws. The level of unification in a field of science reflects the level of maturity in the branch of science.

 

 

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I want to say that psychology should do better to have more generalized principles, such as Laws.

 

We don't have laws? I had no idea. I'll be delighted to hear you prove this negative.

 

The level of unification in a field of science reflects the level of maturity in the branch of science.

 

Care to define/operationalize "unification?" Biology's totally not a science, by the way.

Acarology

 

Anatomy

 

Arachnology

 

Biochemistry

 

Bioinformatics

 

Biomechanics

 

Bionomics

 

Biophysics

 

Biotechnology

 

Botany

 

Cell biology

 

Ecology

 

Entomology

 

Evolution

 

Genetics

 

Gerontology

 

Herpetology

 

Histology

 

Ichnology

 

Ichthyology

 

Immunology

 

Limnology

 

Marine biology

 

Microbiology

 

Molecular biology

 

Mycology

 

Myrmecology

 

Neurobiology

 

Ornithology

 

Paleontology

 

Palynology

 

Parasitology

 

Photobiology

 

Phycology

 

Physiology

 

Plant physiology

 

Biological psychology

 

Radiobiology

 

Sociobiology

 

Structural biology

 

Taxonomy

 

Virology

 

Zoology

 

 

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We don't have laws? I had no idea. I'll be delighted to hear you prove this negative.

 

This is negative way to argue.

If there are general laws of psychology, please show how you can causally deduct some consequence from these laws.

 

 

Care to define/operationalize "unification?" Biology's totally not a science, by the way.

 

In my term, here is the examples about the level of unification in the fields of science, from high to low: physics, chemistry, biology, psychology.

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If there are general laws of psychology, please show how you can causally deduct some consequence from these laws.

 

"Causally deduct?" That's a distractingly placed modifier if I've ever heard one. I'm just going to replace that with "predict," and the sentence then begins to make some parsimonious sense. I'll answer it that way.

 

Before I do, though, a brief thought on scientific "laws" vs. "theories." Philosophy of science as I understand it still tangles about the distinction. "Theory" often seems to inhabit a continuum between loosely confirmed hypotheses and laws. I don't tend to make much of a distinction. Some people are fussy about laws, and demand that they must be absolute and universal in some way--in other words, they always predict everything about their subject matter. I don't tend to agree. Many of Newton's "laws" only work well in the comfortably nonrelativistic space around us--his understanding of gravity is, of course, just wrong. Einsteinian understandings replaced it. But that doesn't mean Newton's laws don't make really, really good empirical approximations if I, say, want to hit you with a cannonball or something. To me, they're still plenty good laws. There's some semantic and substantive debate about what these terms mean; I tend to throw up my hands a bit, and I'm going to use them interchangeably. Mostly just because I'm feeling snarky. (Nonetheless, I'd maintain even strictly defined "laws" aren't necessary for the scientific process--I'm not sold that biologists have them in a strict sense, and it doesn't make them any bit less scientists in my book.) Anyway, back to the question. You want a law? I'll give you something like it...

 

 

 

Let's take operant conditioning, a relatively powerful way of describing a sizable range of behavior. The basics of these "laws" are that behaviors which are reinforced increase, while behaviors that are punished decrease. Reinforcement and punishment gain power by--among other variables--proximity to the behavior for which the consequence is applied. Negative reinforcement (which describes the reinforcing power of the removal of a noxious or unpleasant condition, as opposed to the more familiar positive reinforcement, involving a Scooby Snack) is extremely useful in describing the set of circumstances around, for instance, phobic and anxious behavior.

 

In panic attacks, for instance, individuals characteristically avoid situations in which attacks might occur, and remove themselves from situations in which they do occur. Negative reinforcement paradigms predict this: avoidance is negative reinforcing, since it removes stimuli associated with the unpleasant attack. The behavior (that is, the attack itself) is thus made more likely. We can confirm this experimentally: when we more dramatically reinforce panic attacks by making avoidance behaviors easier, the attacks themselves become more frequent. Clinically, the most efficacious treatments fall under a paradigm loosely known as "exposure," in which we systematically restrict avoidance in the presence of the feared stimuli (for PD patients, those stimuli are often internal sensations which we have to deliberately induce for treatment--it's not the funnest thing in the world.)

 

And then what happens? The panic behavior looses its reinforcement, and fades--a process we call "extinction." The specific treatment for panic disorder, Interoceptive Exposure, is one of the most efficacious in a clinical psychologist's repertoire. It works because its nitty-gritty details are so well-predicted and explained by relatively simple laws of behavior which have been verified experimentally for decades. In the usual inductive/deductive cycle of science, these procedures, informed by the law and theory, get translated into experiments which inform the theory with new empirical details, which thus lead to new hypotheses and new empirical work.

 

There's nothing terribly distinct about psychology as a science in this process sense. I will say that our stats tend to be more complex, since the focus of our study is human beings, who carry along with themselves vast and irritating individual differences and free wills that rats, paramecia, jars of benzene, and globular clusters simply don't have in such abundance. The study of these ridiculous creatures is far from impossible, but it's statistically tricky. It also means that the certitude of our predictions is lower--I can't predict the outcome of mixing two people in a room with the same reliability as a chemist and predict the outcome of mixing two chemicals in a flask. Part of that's because some of my variables are stubbornly invisible. A lot of it's because I don't have the cash to measure all the variables necessary. When you're far away or limited in that way, your predictions have error (hear about any of those newly discovered extrasolar planets lately? You think they know the mass of them as precisely as we know the mass of earth?) That doesn't mean your predictions are meaningless, or you're not acting according to scientific laws, under the guidance of the scientific method.

 

I'll say it all over again for the back row: the theory gets informed by empiricism, and guides further empirical work which goes on to shape it. Round and round. So, yeah, pretty mundane scientific method. Move along folks, nothing to see here. If you're curious, the family of exposure methods has been rigorously and carefully investigated, and has seen a flowering of applications (you need to be well-guided by behavioral law/theory if you're going to stretch it like this) for not only panic attacks but social phobia, PTSD, OCD, and even physical health conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In most cases, its efficacy is superior to that of psychopharmacological interventions in both short-term (sometimes we're on par with the pills there) and follow-up (we more or less run the table there). Sorry, psychiatrists. Better luck next time?

 

In my term, here is the examples about the level of unification in the fields of science, from high to low: physics, chemistry, biology, psychology.

I have learned never to doubt that deep, Linnaean urge deep in all of us to make cool-sounding hierarchies. That's a beautiful and arbitrary little list you've got there (and isn't the arbitrary often beautiful?) Can't say I haven't seen it about a thousand times. I do wonder if it means anything.

 

 

N.B.: Pro tip.

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"Causally deduct?" That's a distractingly placed modifier if I've ever heard one. I'm just going to replace that with "predict," and the sentence then begins to make some parsimonious sense. I'll answer it that way.

 

 

This reaction clearly indicates how far away psychology needs to improve.

I have no intention to blame the scientists in psychology nor to depreciate this branch of science. In fact I believe this is the most complicate field of science, that is why we're working hard in this field. What I pointed out is undeniable reality which is always the challenge to us.

 

I have learned never to doubt that deep, Linnaean urge deep in all of us to make cool-sounding hierarchies. That's a beautiful and arbitrary little list you've got there (and isn't the arbitrary often beautiful?) Can't say I haven't seen it about a thousand times. I do wonder if it means anything.

 

 

Good. At least the issue about the terminology of "unification" has been dismissed.

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  • 1 month later...

This still going on? I can't wait to hear how clinical psychology is "a nonsense." Preferably, with references to:

 

1) the poster's understanding of what clinical psychology specifically is and does

2) specific empirical studies

3) the specific points laid out many months ago in the first several posts of the thread

 

 

 

Or we could just leave it there and not defend our assertions. But that would be a stupid.

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This still going on? I can't wait to hear how clinical psychology is "a nonsense." Preferably, with references to:

 

1) the poster's understanding of what clinical psychology specifically is and does

2) specific empirical studies

3) the specific points laid out many months ago in the first several posts of the thread

 

 

 

Or we could just leave it there and not defend our assertions. But that would be a stupid.

 

 

Gosh, you sound quite abrupt. Was it you who minused my comment?

 

Clinical psychology was founded on the professional fraud of Sigmund Freud, who publically claimed his case study patients had been cured, while privately admitting that they were nothing of the sort in correspondence with his fiancee. What does clincial psychology specifically do? Nothing. It's founded on unproven theories and "proved" with self-validating reasoning.

 

Specific studies: Eysenck (a clinical psychologist) showed in a study that the proportion of people who improved in psychotherapy was identical to the proportion of people who improved on their own (albeit over a longer period). The American Association of Psychologists President once referenced a study at an annual meeting of their association,which showed all you needed to be a good therapist was an empathetic character. The empathetic person would be good without all the supposedly high-powered education.

 

My friend's friend is a social psychologist at Rutgers who agreed with this conclusion. Beyond empathy, he thought the rest was nonsense. Like his example: drumming your fingers on the table demonstrates a masturbatory complex. Its nonsense, but as "scientific" as anything Freud did: just the latest vogue in speculation.

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Clinical psychology was founded on the professional fraud of Sigmund Freud, who publically claimed his case study patients had been cured, while privately admitting that they were nothing of the sort in correspondence with his fiancee. What does clincial psychology specifically do? Nothing. It's founded on unproven theories and "proved" with self-validating reasoning.

 

I'm fairly certain we have all already agreed on this, and many other threads, that Freud was a quack. What theories and self-validated reasoning are you referring to? Hopefully you won't mention the psychosexual theories of Freud because that just may show your ignorance of how far psychotherapy and analysis has come. Your use of Freud is the same thing as me saying that evolution isn't true because Lamarck had a bad theory.

 

Specific studies: Eysenck (a clinical psychologist) showed in a study that the proportion of people who improved in psychotherapy was identical to the proportion of people who improved on their own (albeit over a longer period). The American Association of Psychologists President once referenced a study at an annual meeting of their association,which showed all you needed to be a good therapist was an empathetic character. The empathetic person would be good without all the supposedly high-powered education.

 

I'd have to assume you are referring to This study which, so far as I can tell, just discusses the use of Freudian techniques in comparison to other techniques (I just skimmed it so I may be wrong). Another thing to take into account is that the paper was written in 1952, before something as simple as behavior modification would be implemented.

 

About the AAP president study, please give a link to such a study so others know what it says and perhaps be able to actually have a discussion.

 

My friend's friend is a social psychologist at Rutgers who agreed with this conclusion. Beyond empathy, he thought the rest was nonsense.

 

 

I'm sure many people may agree with you, that doesn't mean your right.

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I'm fairly certain we have all already agreed on this, and many other threads, that Freud was a quack. What theories and self-validated reasoning are you referring to? Hopefully you won't mention the psychosexual theories of Freud because that just may show your ignorance of how far psychotherapy and analysis has come. Your use of Freud is the same thing as me saying that evolution isn't true because Lamarck had a bad theory.

 

Hardly. Where exactly has psychotherapy been proven to work?

 

 

I'd have to assume you are referring to This study which, so far as I can tell, just discusses the use of Freudian techniques in comparison to other techniques (I just skimmed it so I may be wrong). Another thing to take into account is that the paper was written in 1952, before something as simple as behavior modification would be implemented.

 

Hmm.. no:

 

"A survey was made of reports on the improvement of neurotic patients after psychotherapy, and the results compared with the best available estimates of recovery without benefit of such therapy. The figures fail to support the hypothesis that psychotherapy facilitates recovery from neurotic disorder. In view of the many difficulties attending such actuarial comparisons, no further conclusions could be derived from the data whose shortcomings highlight the necessity of properly planned and executed experimental studies into this important field. "

About the AAP president study, please give a link to such a study so others know what it says and perhaps be able to actually have a discussion.

 

Will search for one.

 

 

 

I'm sure many people may agree with you, that doesn't mean your right.

 

Never said it did?

 

Page 11 of this article: http://tanadineen.com/writer/articles/ForDistribution/Skeptic.pdf

 

 

Tana Dineen takes the APA's Consumer Reports claims re. effectiveness of psychotherapy to pieces. Surely they wouldn't have to resort to dishonest reporting like this if their claims were genuine?

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Clinical psychology was founded on the professional fraud of Sigmund Freud, who publically claimed his case study patients had been cured, while privately admitting that they were nothing of the sort in correspondence with his fiancee.

 

Show me your source. Actually, don't. It doesn't matter. Because no clinician I know cares about Freud, or practices a mode of psychology which would be remotely recognizable to him.

 

What does clincial psychology specifically do? Nothing. It's founded on unproven theories and "proved" with self-validating reasoning.

 

Kindly demonstrate this assertion with evidence.

 

Specific studies: Eysenck (a clinical psychologist) showed in a study that the proportion of people who improved in psychotherapy was identical to the proportion of people who improved on their own (albeit over a longer period).

 

Please cite the study, as well as some of the major responses to it.

 

The American Association of Psychologists President once referenced a study at an annual meeting of their association,which showed all you needed to be a good therapist was an empathetic character. The empathetic person would be good without all the supposedly high-powered education.

 

There is no such thing as the American Association of Psychologists. Please cite the study.

 

My friend's friend is a social psychologist at Rutgers who agreed with this conclusion.

 

That's fascinating. My cat, Punkin, has a friend named Charles, who's also a social psychologist, and heartily disagrees with you. I guess we're even on that one.

 

Like his example: drumming your fingers on the table demonstrates a masturbatory complex. Its nonsense, but as "scientific" as anything Freud did: just the latest vogue in speculation.

 

I don't believe that. No clinical scientist I know does.

 

Perhaps you could continue to attempt to demonstrate your assertions--here I'll repeat myself--

 

Preferably, with references to:

 

1) the poster's understanding of what clinical psychology specifically is and does

2) specific empirical studies

3) the specific points laid out many months ago in the first several posts of the thread

 

That'd be lovely.

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