Psychology is an academic or applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. Psychologists study such phenomena as perception, cognition, emotion, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Psychology also refers to the application of such knowledge to various spheres of human activity, including problems of individuals' daily lives and the treatment of mental health problems.
Psychology differs from the other social sciences (e.g., anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology) due to its focus on experimentation at the scale of the individual, as opposed to groups or institutions. Historically, psychology differed from biology and neuroscience in that it was primarily concerned with mind rather than brain, a philosophy of mind known as dualism. Modern psychological science incorporates physiological and neurological processes into its conceptions of perception, cognition, behavior, and mental disorders.
The word psychology comes from the ancient Greek ψυχή psyche ("soul," "mind") and -λογία - ology ("study").
Persecution of stepfather or stepmother
by children of single parent families
The first use of the term "psychology" is often attributed to the German scholastic philosopher Rudolf Goeckel (Latinized Rudolph Goclenius), published in 1590. More than six decades earlier, however, the Croatian humanist Marko Marulić used the term in the title of a work which was subsequently lost. This, of course, may not have been the very first usage, but it is the earliest documented use at present.
The term did not fall into popular usage until the German idealist philosopher, Christian Wolff (1679-1754) used it in his Psychologia empirica and Psychologia rationalis (1732-1734). This distinction between empirical and rational psychology was picked up in Diderot's Encyclopedie and was popularized in France by Maine de Biran.
The root of the word psychology (psyche) is very roughly equivalent to "soul" in Greek, and (ology) equivalent to "study". Psychology came to be considered a study of the soul (in a religious sense of this term) much later, in Christian times. Psychology as a medical discipline can be seen in Thomas Willis' reference to psychology (the "Doctrine of the Soul") in terms of brain function, as part of his 1672 anatomical treatise "De Anima Brutorum" ("Two Discourses on the Souls of Brutes"). Until about the end of the 19th century, psychology was regarded as a branch of philosophy.
Early modern era
In 1879, Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), known as "the father of psychology", founded a laboratory for the study of psychology at Leipzig University in Germany. The American philosopher William James published his seminal book, Principles of Psychology, in 1890, laying the foundations for many of the questions that psychologists would focus on for years to come. Other important early contributors to the field include Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850–1909), a pioneer in the experimental study of memory at the University of Berlin; and the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), who investigated the learning process now referred to as classical conditioning.
Auguste Rodin's The Thinker, bronze cast by Alexis Rudier,
Laeken Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium.
Meanwhile, during the 1890s, the Austrian physician Sigmund Freud, who was trained as a neurologist and had no formal training in experimental psychology, had developed a method of psychotherapy known as psychoanalysis. Freud's understanding of the mind was largely based on interpretive methods and introspection, and was focused in particular on resolving mental distress and psychopathology. Freud's theories became very well-known, largely because they tackled subjects such as sexuality and repression as general aspects of psychological development. These were largely considered taboo subjects at the time, and Freud provided a catalyst for them to be openly discussed in polite society. Although Freud's theories are only of limited interest in modern academic psychology departments, his application of psychology to clinical work has been very influential.
Partly in reaction to the subjective and introspective nature of Freudian psychology, and its focus on the recollection of childhood experiences, during the early decades of the 20th century, behaviorism gained popularity as a guiding psychological theory. Founded by psychologists such as John B. Watson and Edward Thorndike (and later, B.F. Skinner), behaviorism was grounded in studies of animal behavior. Behaviorists argued that psychology should be a science of behavior, not the mind, and rejected the idea that internal mental states such as beliefs, desires, or goals could be studied scientifically. In his paper "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It" (1913), Watson argued that psychology "is a purely objective [emphasis added] experimental branch of natural science," that "introspection forms no essential part of its methods", and that "the behaviorist recognizes no dividing line between man and brute."
Behaviorism reigned as the dominant model in psychology throughout the first half of the 20th century, largely due to the creation of conditioning theories as scientific models of human behavior, and their successful application in the workplace and in fields such as advertising and military science.
However, it became increasingly clear that although behaviorism had made some important discoveries, it was deficient as a guiding theory of human behavior. Noam Chomsky's review of Skinner's book Verbal Behavior (which aimed to explain language acquisition in a behaviorist framework) is considered one of the major factors in the ending of behaviorism's reign. In his theory of Generative Grammar Chomsky demonstrated that language could not be learned purely from conditioning, because people could produce sentences unique in structure and meaning that couldn't possibly be generated solely through experience of natural language — implying that there must be internal states of mind that behaviorism rejected as illusory. Similarly, work by Albert Bandura showed that children could learn by social observation, without any change in overt behavior, and so must be accounted for by internal representations.
Humanistic psychology emerged in the 1950s and has continued as a reaction to positivist and scientific approaches to the mind. It stresses a phenomenological view of human experience and seeks to understand human beings and their behavior by conducting qualitative research. The humanistic approach has its roots in existentialist and phenomenological philosophy and many humanist psychologists completely reject a scientific approach, arguing that trying to turn human experience into measurements strips it of all meaning and relevance to lived existence.
Some of the founding theorists behind this school of thought were Abraham Maslow who formulated a hierarchy of human needs, Carl Rogers who created and developed Client-centered therapy, and Fritz Perls who helped create and develop Gestalt therapy.
The rise of computer technology also promoted the metaphor of mental function as information processing. This, combined with a scientific approach to studying the mind, as well as a belief in internal mental states, led to the rise of cognitivism as the dominant model of the mind.
Links between brain and nervous system function were also becoming common, partly due to the experimental work of people such as Charles Sherrington and Donald Hebb, and partly due to studies of people with brain injury. With the development of technologies for accurately measuring brain function, neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience have become some of the most active areas in contemporary psychology. With the increasing involvement of other disciplines (such as philosophy, computer science and neuroscience) in the quest to understand the mind, the umbrella discipline of cognitive science has been created as a means of focusing such efforts in a constructive way.
Mind and brain
Psychology describes and attempts to explain consciousness, behavior and social interaction. Empirical psychology is primarily devoted to describing human experience and behavior as it actually occurs. In the past 20 years or so psychology has begun to examine the relationship between consciousness and the brain or nervous system. It is still not clear in what ways these interact: does consciousness determine brain states or do brain states determine consciousness - or are both going on in various ways? Perhaps to understand this you need to know the definition of "consciousness" and "brain state" - or is consciousness some sort of complicated 'illusion' which bears no direct relationship to neural processes? An understanding of brain function is increasingly being included in psychological theory and practice, particularly in areas such as artificial intelligence, neuropsychology, and cognitive neuroscience.
Schools of thought
Various schools of thought have argued for a particular model to be used as a guiding theory by which all, or the majority, of human behavior can be explained. The popularity of these has waxed and waned over time. Some psychologists may think of themselves as adherents to a particular school of thought and reject the others, although most consider each as an approach to understanding the mind, and not necessarily as mutually exclusive theories.
Psychology is an extremely broad field, encompassing many different approaches to the study of mental processes and behavior. Below are the major areas of inquiry that comprise psychology, divided into fields of research psychology and fields of applied psychology. A comprehensive list of the sub-fields and areas within psychology can be found at the list of psychological topics and list of psychology disciplines.
Fields of research psychology
Research psychology encompasses the study of behavior for use in academic settings, and contains numerous areas. It contains the areas of abnormal psychology, biological psychology, cognitive psychology, comparative psychology, developmental psychology, personality psychology, social psychology and others. Research psychology is contrasted with applied psychology.
Abnormal psychology is the study of abnormal behavior in order to describe, predict, explain, and change abnormal patterns of functioning. Abnormal psychology studies the nature of psychopathology and its causes, and this knowledge is applied in clinical psychology to treating patients with psychological disorders.
In the study of abnomal behavior, it can be difficult to define the line between which behaviors are considered normal and which are not. In general, abnormal behaviors must be maladaptive and cause an individual subjective discomfort (signs of emotional distress). Generally, abnormal behaviors are classified as:
Image of the human brain, red arrow indicates
the position of the hypothalamus
Biological psychology is the scientific study of the biological bases of behavior and mental states. Because all behavior is controlled by the central nervous system, it is sensible to study how the brain functions in order to understand behavior. This is the approach taken in behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, and neuropsychology. Neuropsychology is the branch of psychology that aims to understand how the structure and function of the brain relate to specific behavioral and psychological processes. Often neuropsychologists are employed as scientists to advance scientific or medical knowledge. Neuropsychology is particularly concerned with the understanding of brain injury in an attempt to work out normal psychological function.
The approach of cognitive neuroscience to studying the link between brain and behavior is to use neuroimaging tools, such as fMRI, to observe which areas of the brain are active during a particular task.
Neural network with two layers
The nature of thought is another core interest in psychology. Cognitive psychology studies cognition, the mental processes underlying behavior. It uses information processing as a framework for understanding the mind. Perception, learning, problem solving, memory, attention, language and emotion are all well researched areas. Cognitive psychology is associated with a school of thought known as cognitivism, whose adherents argue for an information processing model of mental function, informed by positivism and experimental psychology.
Cognitive science is very closely related to cognitive psychology, but differs in some of the research methods used, and has a slightly greater emphasis on explaining mental phenomena in terms of both behavior and neural processing.
Both areas can use computational models to simulate phenomena of interest. Because mental events cannot directly be observed, computational models provide a tool for studying the functional organization of the mind. Such models give cognitive psychologists a way to study the "software" of mental processes independent of the "hardware" it runs on, be it the brain or a computer.
Comparative psychology refers to the study of the behavior and mental life of animals other than human beings. It is related to disciplines outside of psychology that study animal behavior, such as ethology. Although the field of psychology is primarily concerned with humans, the behavior and mental processes of animals is also an important part of psychological research, either as a subject in its own right (e.g., animal cognition and ethology), or with strong emphasis about evolutionary links, and somewhat more controversially, as a way of gaining an insight into human psychology by means of comparison or via animal models of emotional and behavior systems as seen in neuroscience of psychology (e.g., affective neuroscience and social neuroscience).
How do infants experience the world
Mainly focusing on the development of the human mind through the life span, developmental psychology seeks to understand how people come to perceive, understand, and act within the world and how these processes change as they age. This may focus on intellectual, cognitive, neural, social, or moral development. Researchers who study children use a number of unique research methods to make observations in natural settings or to engage them in experimental tasks. Such tasks often resemble specially designed games and activities that are both enjoyable for the child and scientifically useful, and researchers have even devised clever methods to study the mental processes of small infants. In addition to studying children, developmental psychologists also study aging and processes throughout the life span, especially at other times of rapid change (such as adolescence and old age). Urie Bronfenbrenner's theory of development in context (The Ecology of Human Development - ISBN 0-674-22456-6) is influential in this field, as are those mentioned in "Educational psychology" immediately below, as well as many others. Developmental psychologists draw on the full range of theorists in scientific psychology to inform their research.
Personality psychology studies enduring psychological patterns of behavior, thought and emotion, commonly called an individual's personality. Theories of personality vary between different psychological schools. Trait theories attempts to break personality down into a number of traits, by use of factor analysis. The number of traits have varied between theories. One of the first, and smallest, models was that of Hans Eysenck, which had three dimensions: extraversion - introversion, neuroticism - emotional stability, and psychoticism. Raymond Cattell proposed a theory of 16 personality factors. The theory that has most empirical evidence behind it today may be the "Big Five" theory, proposed by Lewis Goldberg, and others.
A different, but well known, approach to personality is that of Sigmund Freud, whose structural theory of personality divided personality into the ego, superego, and id. Freud's theory of personality has been criticized by many, including many mainstream psychologists.
Quantitative psychology involves the application of statistical analysis to psychological research, and the development of novel statistical approaches for measuring and explaining human behavior. It is a young field (only recently have Ph.D. programs in quantitative psychology been formed), and it is loosely comprised of the subfields psychometrics and mathematical psychology.
Psychometrics is the field of psychology concerned with the theory and technique of psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and personality traits. Measurement of these unobservable phenomena is difficult, and much of the research and accumulated knowledge in this discipline has been developed in an attempt to properly define and quantify such phenomena. Psychometric research typically involves two major research tasks, namely: (i) the construction of instruments and procedures for measurement; and (ii) the development and refinement of theoretical approaches to measurement.
A crowd of people in Shibuya, Tokyo
Social psychology is the study of the nature and causes of human social behavior, with an emphasis on how people think towards each other and how they relate to each other. Social Psychology aims to understand how we make sense of social situations. For example, this could involve the influence of others on an individual's behavior (e.g., conformity or persuasion), the perception and understanding of social cues, or the formation of attitudes or stereotypes about other people. Social cognition is a common approach and involves a mostly cognitive and scientific approach to understanding social behavior.
Fields of applied psychology
Applied psychology encompasses both psychological research that is designed to help individuals overcome practical problems and the application of this research in applied settings. Much of applied psychology research is utilized in other fields, such as business management, product design, ergonomics, nutrition, law and clinical medicine. Applied psychology includes the areas of clinical psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, human factors, forensic psychology, health psychology, school psychology, community psychology and others.
Clinical psychology is the application of psychological science and research to the understanding, treatment, and assessment of health problems, particularly emotional, behavioral and mental health problems. It has traditionally been associated with psychological treatment and psychotherapy, although modern clinical psychology may take an eclectic approach, including a number of therapeutic approaches. Typically, although working with many of the same clients as psychiatrists, clinical psychologists do not prescribe psychiatric drugs. Some clinical psychologists may focus on the clinical management of patients with brain injury. This area is known as clinical neuropsychology.
In recent years and particularly in the United States, a major split has been developing between academic research psychologists in universities and some branches of clinical psychology. Many research psychologists believe that many contemporary clinicians use therapies based on discredited theories and unsupported by empirical evidence of their effectiveness. From the other side, these clinicians believe that the research psychologists are ignoring their experience in dealing with actual patients. The disagreement resulted in the formation of the Association for Psychological Science by the research psychologists as a new body distinct from the American Psychological Association.
The work performed by clinical psychologists tends to be done inside various therapy models. A popular model is the Cognitive-Behavioral therapy (CBT) framework. CBT is an umbrella term that refers to a number of therapies which focus on changing cognitions and/or behaviors, rather than changing behavior exclusively, or discovering the unconscious causes of psychopathology (as in the psychodynamic school). The two most famous CBT therapies are Aaron T. Beck's cognitive therapy and Albert Ellis's rational emotive behavior therapy (with cognitive therapy being, by far, the most extensively studied therapy in contemporary clinical psychology).
A related area is community psychology, which examines psychological and mental health issues on the level of the community rather than using the individual as the unit of measurement. "Sense of community" has become its conceptual center (Sarason, 1986; Chavis & Pretty, 1999).
Counseling psychology is a psychology specialty that facilitates personal and interpersonal functioning across the lifespan with a focus on emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns. Counseling psychology differs from clinical psychology in that it is focused more on normal developmental issues and everyday stress rather than serious mental disorders. Counseling psychologists are employed in a variety of settings, including universities, schools, businesses, private practice, and community mental health centers.
The emerging field of relationship counseling, which characterizes ordinary human relationship successes and failures in concrete terms, has the specific appeal of avoiding psychology's practice of ascribing pathology to individuals who seek assistance. Current health insurance reimbursement for psychological services commonly involves the assignment of mental disease nomenclature (a feature that potential clients may find offensive, and that could potentially be iatrogenic).
Relationship counseling, also referred to as "relationship education", includes psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. It is based on decades of university-based research, drawing on knowledge gained through close observation and analysis of both successful and unsuccessful marriages and family units.
Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. The work of child psychologists such as Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget and Jerome Bruner has been influential in creating teaching methods and educational practices.
Psychology and Law
Together, Forensic psychology and Legal Psychology compose the area known as Psychology and Law.
Most typically, forensic psychology is practiced by clinical psychologists, and involves a clinical analysis of a particular individual and an assessment of some specific psycho-legal question. Typically, referrals to forensic practices constitute assessments for individuals that have ostensibly suffered neurological insult(s). These patients have sought legal recourse, and the job of the forensic psychologist is to demonstrate that there is or is not (depending on their employment by either the prosecution or defense) a cause-and-effect relation between the accident and the subsequent (again, ostensible) neurological change.
Legal psychology is a research-oriented field populated with researchers from several different areas within psychology (although Social Psychologists are typical).
Health psychology is the application of psychological theory and research to health, illness and health care. Whereas clinical psychology focuses on mental health and neurological illness, health psychology is concerned with the psychology of a much wider range of health-related behavior including healthy eating, the doctor-patient relationship, a patient's understanding of health information, and beliefs about illness. Health psychologists may be involved in public health campaigns, examining the impact of illness or health policy on quality of life or in research into the psychological impact of health and social care.
Human factors psychology
Human factors psychology is the study of how cognitive and psychological processes affect our interaction with tools and objects in the environment. The goal of research in human factors psychology is to better design objects by taking into account the limitations and biases of human mental processes and behavior.
Industrial and organizational psychology
Industrial and organizational psychology (I/O) is among the newest fields in psychology. Industrial Psychology focuses on improving, evaluating, and predicting job performance while Organizational Psychology focuses on how organizations impact and interact with individuals. In 1910, through the works and experiments of Hugo Munsterberg and Walter Dill Scott, Industrial Psychology became recognized as a legitimate part of the social science. Organizational Psychology was not officially added until the 1970s and since then, the field has flourished. The Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology has approximately 3400 professional members and 1900 student members. These two numbers combine to make up only about four percent of the members in the American Psychology Association but the number has been rising since 1939 when there were only one hundred professional I/O psychologists.
I/O psychologists are employed by academic institutions, consulting firms, internal human resources in industries, and governmental institutions. Various universities across the United States are beginning to strengthen their I/O Psychology programs due to the increase of interest and job demand in the field.
Industrial organizational psychologists look at questions regarding things such as who to hire, how to define and measure successful job performance, how to prepare people to be more successful in their jobs, how to create and change jobs so that they are safer and make people happier, and how to structure the organization to allow people to achieve their potential.
School psychology is the area of discipline that is dedicated to helping young people succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. School psychologists collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students that strengthen connections between home and school. They are trained to be experts in educational and behavioral assessment, intervention, prevention, and consultation, and many have extensive training in research. Currently, school psychology is the only field in which a professional can be called a "psychologist" without a doctoral degree, with the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recognizing the Specialist degree as the entry level. This is a matter of controversy as the APA does not recognize anything below a doctorate as the entry level for a psychologist. Specialist-level school psychologists, who typically receive three years of graduate training, function almost exclusively within school systems, while those at the doctoral-level are found in a number of other settings as well, including universities, hospitals, clinics, and private practice.
Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt was a German psychologist, generally
acknowledged as a founder of experimental psychology
Research in psychology is conducted in broad accord with the standards of the scientific method, encompassing both qualitative ethological and quantitative statistical modalities to generate and evaluate explanatory hypotheses with regard to psychological phenomena. Where research ethics and the state of development in a given research domain permits, investigation may be pursued by experimental protocols. Psychology tends to be eclectic, drawing on scientific knowledge from other fields to help explain and understand psychological phenomena. Qualitative psychological research utilizes a broad spectrum of observational methods, including action research, ethography, exploratory statistics, structured interviews, and participant observation, to enable the gathering of rich information unattainable by classical experimentation. Research in humanistic psychology is more typically pursued by ethnographic, historical, and historiographic methods.
The testing of different aspects of psychological function is a significant area of contemporary psychology. Psychometric and statistical methods predominate, including various well-known standardized tests as well as those created ad hoc as the situation or experiment requires.
Academic psychologists may focus purely on research and psychological theory, aiming to further psychological understanding in a particular area, while other psychologists may work in applied psychology to deploy such knowledge for immediate and practical benefit. However, these approaches are not mutually exclusive and most psychologists will be involved in both researching and applying psychology at some point during their career. Clinical psychology, among many of the various disciplines of psychology, aims at developing in practicing psychologists knowledge of and experience with research and experimental methods which they will continue to build up as well as employ as they treat individuals with psychological issues or use psychology to help others.
When an area of interest requires specific training and specialist knowledge, especially in applied areas, psychological associations normally establish a governing body to manage training requirements. Similarly, requirements may be laid down for university degrees in psychology, so that students acquire an adequate knowledge in a number of areas. Additionally, areas of practical psychology, where psychologists offer treatment to others, may require that psychologists be licensed by government regulatory bodies as well.
B.F. Skinner, pioneer of experimental psychology and behaviorism
Experimental psychological research is conducted in the laboratory under controlled conditions. This method of research attempts to rely solely on an application of the scientific method to understand behavior and mental processes. Examples of such measurements of behavior include reaction time and various psychometric measurements. Experiments are conducted to test a particular hypothesis.
As an example of a psychological experiment, one may want to test people's perception of different tones. Specifically, one could ask the following question: is it easier for people to discriminate one pair of tones from another depending upon their frequency? To answer this, one would want to disprove the hypothesis that all tones are equally discriminable, regardless of their frequency. A task to test this hypothesis would have a participant seated in a room listening to a series of tones. If the participant would make one indication (by pressing a button, for example) if they thought the tones were two different sounds, and another indication if they thought they were the same sound. The proportion of correct responses would be the measurement used to describe whether or not all the tones were equally discriminable. The result of this particular experiment would probably indicate better discrimination of certain tones based on the human threshold of hearing.
A longitudinal study is a research method which observes a particular population over time. For example, one might wish to study specific language impairment (SLI) by observing a group of individuals with the condition over a period of time. This method has the advantage of seeing how a condition can affect individuals over long time scales. However, such studies can suffer from attrition due to drop-out or death of subjects. In addition, since individual differences between members of the group are not controlled, it may be difficult to draw conclusions about the populations.
Neuropsychology involves the study of both healthy individuals and patients, typically who have suffered either brain injury or mental illness.
Cognitive neuropsychology and cognitive neuropsychiatry study neurological or mental impairment in an attempt to infer theories of normal mind and brain function. This typically involves looking for differences in patterns of remaining ability (known as 'functional disassociation's') which can give clues as to whether abilities are comprised of smaller functions, or are controlled by a single cognitive mechanism.
In addition, experimental techniques are often used which also apply to studying the neuropsychology of healthy individuals. These include behavioral experiments, brain-scanning or functional neuroimaging - used to examine the activity of the brain during task performance, and techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, which can safely alter the function of small brain areas to investigate their importance in mental operations.
Computational modeling is a tool often used in cognitive psychology to simulate a particular behavior using a computer. This method has several advantages. Since modern computers process extremely quickly, many simulations can be run in a short time, allowing for a great deal of statistical power. Modeling also allows psychologists to visualize hypotheses about the functional organization of mental events that couldn't be directly observed in a human.
Several different types of modeling are used to study behavior. Connectionism uses neural nets to simulate the brain. Another method is symbolic modeling, which represents many different mental objects using variables and rules. Other types of modeling include dynamic systems and stochastic modeling.
Controversy as a science
Although modern psychology attempts to be a scientific endeavor, the field has a history of controversy. Some criticisms of psychology have been made on ethical and philosophical grounds. Some have argued that by subjecting the human mind to experimentation and statistical study, psychologists objectify persons. Because it treats human beings as things, as objects that can be examined by experiment, psychology is sometimes portrayed as dehumanizing, ignoring or downplaying what is most essential about being human. This criticism has come from within the field as well, particularly by existential and humanistic psychologists.
A common criticism of psychology concerns its fuzziness as a science. Philosopher Thomas Kuhn suggested in 1962 that psychology is in a pre-paradigmatic state, lacking the agreement on facts found in mature sciences such as chemistry and physics. Because some areas of psychology rely on "soft" research methods such as surveys and questionnaires, critics have claimed that psychology is not as scientific as psychologists assume. Methods such as introspection and psychoanalysis, used by some psychologists, are inherently subjective. Objectivity, validity, and rigor are key attributes in science, and some approaches to psychology have fallen short on these criteria. On the other hand, greater use of statistical controls and increasingly sophisticated research design, analysis, and statistical methods, as well as a decline (at least within academic psychology departments) in the use of less scientific methods, have lessened the impact of this criticism to some degree.
Debates continue, however, such as the questioned effectiveness of probability testing as a valid research tool. The concern is that this statistical method may promote trivial findings as meaningful, especially when large samples are used. Psychologists have responded with an increased use of effect size statistics, rather than sole reliance on the traditional p<.05 decision rule.
There is also concern from researchers about a perceived scientific gap between empirically based practices. Exponents of evidence-based approaches to psychological practice say that "over the past several decades, the fields of clinical psychology, psychiatry, and social work have borne witness to a widening and deeply troubling gap between science and practice" and "less and less of what researchers do finds its way into the consulting room, and less and less of what practitioners do derives from scientific evidence." Moreover there are many "unvalidated and sometimes harmful psychotherapeutic methods", such as neurolinguistic programming, rebirthing, and primal therapy that have been promoted within some professional bodies. The fields of clinical psychology, psychiatry, and social work have recently placed increased emphasis on evidence-based mental health practices."
LINKS and REFERENCE
Learning about Psychology
History of Psychology
Very many persons accused of assault, especially sexual assault, are either innocent or having been found guilty by a Court, are later found to have been innocent all along.
Under current legislation the accuser's identity is protected, whereas the accused is not. Where the majority of persons accused turn out to be innocent, during the period they are under suspicion, they are reported in the press, with an assumption of guilt, which usually ruins their lives: relationships and businesses. This particularly applies to Carers or Teachers, or those involved in such professions.
The man in the street is particularly vulnerable when entering into a relationship, since he or she has no body to turn to for advice and is not in any event tuned into the potential dangers. Those most at risk include males joining single parent families with children, and most especially young girls who are most likely to hurl accusations and usually where a relationship is not working or is breaking down.
(Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers)
Guidance for education staff and volunteers in schools
SOME PROMINENT MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE:
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