I have previously written about the ‘point’ or usefulness of Psychology, coming to the conclusion that Psychology is no less of a science: it works just as succinctly as any other, but now I feel it is necessary for me to consider the fight against claiming Psychology as a ‘real science’.
One objection that followers of other sciences might say is that Psychology has brought little to the practical application. If one looks at a situation with the eye of the Evolutionary Psychologist, Biology seems at the heart of every explanation, such as that being the survival of the species. Psychology only seems to reinforce what Biology has already said, and, one might argue, in this way, it is only Biology that is generating new ideas and giving ways to deal with problems to society.
On the same premise, Chemistry is creating products all the time to improve our way of life. Just look at plastic! Physics is splitting the atom to generate energy and applying laws to form a better way of living – aeroplanes are only in the sky because of Physicists. What, then, has Psychology done for us?
It has created five approaches, but each have had their terms. The Cognitive and Psychodynamic approaches are the least like any other science (in that they deal with the thought-processes behind the actions) and, indeed, have coined Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy. My point is that the Evolutionary approach cannot be applied to humans for everything that we do, as it is an approach that disregards the human condition and the way we strive beyond the survival that other animals solely acknowledge.
However, it could be argued that not everything can be explained with cognitive elements, whilst can be by evolutionary elements and thus Biology.
What is behind our thoughts? Literally: Neurochemistry. Can this explain the difference between the creative instincts that humans possess and the purely survival instincts that animals possess? No – and that is what makes two things more valid: the fact that we do not act upon evolution alone and the science of Psychology.
Now, I am inclined to support the Cognitive approach in Psychology. It is my belief that thought enable us to be who we are; there have been cases of those brain-damaged who not only lost the ability to use cognitions (that is, to sustain memory, to calculate, to process information) but also had their emotions affected. Yes, this is down to Biochemistry once more, but emotional intelligence is a level that Biology has not yet delved down into, mainly for the reason that it cannot be accurately measured. Perception, for instance, may be unique to each individual, but there is little way for Biology to attempt to test this.
Although I have fought both sides, I feel it necessary to conclude that, though I have previously seen Psychology as a humanity, it is more of a science nowadays. Psychology is not meaningless or uninformed. It uses a combination of the other three sciences to look beyond the physical side of what we are able to read (in brain scans for instance) to reasons behind these acts and emotions. Introspection is not pointless guess-work. Without introspection, we would not have first thought about and made the connections between the neurochemistry of thoughts and the behaviour of humans. The exact fact that Psychology deals with the big debates, such as nature-nurture, free will-determinism, shows that it is not so rooted in one answer than a combination of different answers; those combinations of factors make us who we are, not the DNA or the experience alone.