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Humanistic psychologists rejected a rigorous scientific approach to psychology because they saw it as dehumanizing and unable to capture the richness of conscious experience. In many ways the rejection of scientific psychology in the s, s and s was a backlash to the dominance of the behaviorist approach in North American psychology. In certain ways everyone is a psychologist.

This does not mean that everyone has been formally trained to study and be trained in psychology. People have common sense views of the world, of other people and themselves. These common sense views may come from personal experience, from our upbringing as a child and through culture etc. Common-sense views about people are rarely based on systematic i. Racial or religious prejudices may reflect what seems like common sense within a group of people.

However, prejudicial beliefs rarely stand up to what is actually the case.

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Common sense, then, is something which everybody uses in their day-to-day lives, guides decisions and influences how we interact with one another. But because it is not based on systematic evidence, or derived from scientific inquiry, it may be misleading and lead to one group of people treating others unfairly and in a discriminatory way.

Despite having a scientific methodology worked out we think , there are further problems and arguments which throw doubt onto psychology ever really being a science. Limitations may refer to the subject matter e. Science assumes that there are laws of human behavior that apply to each person. Therefore science takes both a deterministic and reductionist approach. Science studies overt behavior because overt behavior is objectively observable and can be measured, allowing different psychologists to record behavior and agree on what has been observed.

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This means that evidence can be collected to test a theory about people. Scientific laws are generalizable, but psychological explanations are often restricted to specific times and places. Because psychology studies mostly people, it studies indirectly the effects of social and cultural changes on behavior. Psychology does not go on in a social vacuum. Behavior changes over time, and over different situations. These factors, and individual differences, make research findings reliable for a limited time only. Are traditional scientific methods appropriate for studying human behavior?

When psychologists operationalize their IV, it is highly likely that this is reductionist, mechanistic, subjective, or just wrong. Experiments are keen to establish that X causes Y, but taking this deterministic view means that we ignore extraneous variables, and the fact that at a different time, in a different place, we probably would not be influenced by X. There are so many variables that influence human behavior that it is impossible to control them effectively. The issue of ecological validity ties in really nicely here. Objectivity is impossible.

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It is a huge problem in psychology, as it involves humans studying humans, and it is very difficult to study the behavior of people in an unbiased fashion. Moreover, in terms of a general philosophy of science, we find it hard to be objective because we are influenced by a theoretical standpoint Freud is a good example of this.

The observer and the observed are members of the same species are this creates problems of reflectivity. A behaviorist would never examine a phobia and think in terms of unconscious conflict as a cause, just like Freud would never explain it as a behavior acquired through operant conditioning.

This particular viewpoint that a scientist has is called a Paradigm Kuhn, Kuhn argues that most scientific disciplines have one predominant paradigm that the vast majority of scientists subscribe to. Anything with several paradigms e. With a myriad of paradigms within psychology, it is not the case that we have any universal laws of human behavior, and Kuhn would most definitely argue that psychology is not a science. Verification i. It could be disproved at any moment. The main driving force behind this particular grumble is Karl Popper, the famous philosopher of science and advocator of falsificationism.

Take the famous Popperian example hypothesis: "All swans are white". How do we know for sure that we will not see a black, green or hot pink swan in the future? So even if there has never been a sighting of a non-white swan, we still haven't really proven our hypothesis.

Popper argues that the best hypotheses are those which we can falsify - disprove. If we know something is not true, then we know something for sure. Testability: much of the subject matter in psychology is unobservable e.

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The fact that there are so many variables that influence human behavior that it is impossible to control the variables effectively. So, are we any closer to understanding a what science is, and b if psychology is a science? There is no definitive philosophy of science, and no flawless scientific methodology. When people use the term "Scientific" we all have a general schema of what they mean, but when we break it down in the way that we just have done, the picture is less certain. What is science? It depends on your philosophy.

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Is psychology a science? It depends on your definition. So - why bother, and how do we conclude all this? If we abandon our search for unified methods, we'll lose a sense of what psychology is if we knew in the first place. McLeod, S. Psychology as a science. Thus, Archaea may have more similarity to Bacteria or Eucarya than both of them have to each other, in good agreement with the finding that archaea exhibit a mixture of eucaryal and bacterial traits at the molecular level.


The existence of an archaeal branch has often been a topic of hot debate. Indeed, the nature of this branch indicates that archaea are probably monophyletic, all of them share a specific common ancestor Fig. In contrast, if this branch were split into two or more branches, each one of them. James Lake of the University of California, Los Angeles, is a strong advocate of the paraphyletic hypothesis.

He also proposed a new dichotomy of the living world in which halophilic, methanogenic, and some thermophilic archaea Euryarchaea according to Woese are grouped with bacteria, whereas other thermophiles now in Archaea eocytes according to Lake, Crenarchaea according to Woese are grouped with Eucarya Fig. In fact, two molecular features strongly support the notion that Archaea is monophyletic. The first such feature is the stereochemistry and chemical structures of glycerolipids.

Members of Archaea contain dextrorotatory ether-linked glycerolipids with aliphatic chains made of phytanol, whereas members of Bacteria and Eucarya contain levorotatory glycerolipids most of them ester linked based on fatty acids. The other feature is found in archaeal RNA polymerases and was discovered by W. In Eubacteria and Eucarya , one of the large RNA polymerase RNA pol subunits is a single homologous polypeptide, whereas this component is split into to two polypeptides in all archaea.

During the last five years, investigators have analysed a large number of protein sequences from Archaea, furnishing many more representative examples from each domain to consider. At first, these new trees were expected to support the idea of a tripartite division of the living world.

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Instead, much of the new information made matters even more confusing. The relationships among the three domains seem to differ from one protein marker to another. The various protein trees seem to represent a wide range of possible geometries geometry referring to the relative length of the three branches. As data accumulate, two drastically different pictures emerge, suggesting either the tripartite division of the living world or that organisms from the different domains have intermixed see the table.

In cases where the tripartite division dominates, either the protein tree resembles the rRNA trees or it often has a long bacterial branch with Archaea close to Eucarya. In cases where this tripartite division is not apparent, one or several domains can be paraphyletic or one domain may be included in another. For example when a student from our laboratory, Nadi Benachenou, cloned and analyzed an archaeal glutamate dehydrogenase GDH , it grouped wit GDH from mammals, whereas the fungal enzyme clustered with the enzyme from bacteria Fig.