Psychology essay conformity

The British Psychological Society states that ‘Psychology is the scientific study of people, the mind and behaviour’ (BPS). In this essay I will be discussing what is actually meant by this and whether psychology fits into both the traditional views of a science, as well as more contemporary perspectives. It is widely suggested that Psychology is a “coalition of specialities” meaning it is multi-disciplinary (Hewstone, Fincham and Foster 2005, page 4). I will therefore examine whether it could be considered wrong to think that all parts of the discipline should neatly fit into one view of a scientific approach.
In order to be considered a science, Psychology must consequently adhere to using a scientific method. If this were, as usual, taken to mean the accumulation of knowledge through systematic observation or experimentation, Psychology would likely not have an issue in being recognised, however traditional views of a science mean most areas, with the exception of Behaviourism, would not be considered a science in their own right.
In terms of a traditional science, one key point is empiricism: a reliance on observations of behaviours instead of our logical reasoning, to further aid explanations of why humans act in certain ways (Valentine, 1992:5). In this way Psychology could be considered a science as psychologists are constantly monitoring behaviours some may perceive as common sense, for example Milgram’s study into obedience (1974). However, for an outcome of any observation to be correct, we must have faith in how it was measured. Two further questions arise from this in relation to Psychology as a scientific measure: whether Psychology doe’s mis-measure, and secondly whether, as some propose, Psychology is ordinari...


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Hewstone, M. Fincham, F. and Foster, J (2005). Psychology. Oxford: The British Psychological Society, and Blackwell Publishing. P3-23.

Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioural study of obedience. Journal of abnormal and social Psychology. 67 (4), p371-8.

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Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other porting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.

Psychology essay conformity

psychology essay conformity

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