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Thread: What are some weaknesses of social psychology?

  1. #1

    What are some weaknesses of social psychology?

    I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the weaknesses of social psychology, namely its scientific research.

    Positives are welcomed, too. But I am here for confirmation bias.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    related bettypop's Avatar
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    It's not scientific. A persons psych is beyond human understanding and cannot be scientifically understood.

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    Noble Asshole Horatio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bettypop View Post
    It's not scientific. A persons psych is beyond human understanding and cannot be scientifically understood.
    This doesn't even make sense.

    Neither does psychology. It just strikes me as a feeble attempt to classify an all-too-fuzzy, irrational subject for mere lack of a better solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio View Post
    This doesn't even make sense.

    Neither does psychology. It just strikes me as a feeble attempt to classify an all-too-fuzzy, irrational subject for mere lack of a better solution.
    Psychology doesn't make sense is the point I was making. It is not scientific, no way to understand the psych.

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    Meatlord BarIII's Avatar
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    Part of it is stats. It's not all theory. I assume the theory would be somewhat based on facts. It's weak to the extent that it's not based on enough facts and the scientist isn't good on theory.
    I will accept no further friend requests. This doesn't mean I don't love you or anything so don't be offended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky balbotox View Post
    I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the weaknesses of social psychology, namely its scientific research.
    My favorite social experiment of all time is Jane Elliot's Anti Racism Experiment. The author of the experiment, dubbed as a "race relations expert" by none other than Oprah Winfrey herself, is a personal hero of mine because she was a pure master at exercising her authority, putting people down and making them cry, meaning that I found her to be truly awe inspiring whenever I saw videos of her in action. If you have the time to watch the video it's truly breath taking and I would be so proud of myself if I could come anywhere close to mimicking her effect.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAE3UqxIhfE



    The problem is that many of its conclusions depend on extrapolating data obtained from a relatively small and non-diverse sample. In other words, certain types of people are never going to be tested because 99% of these experiments, from the anti racism experiment to Zimbardo's prison experiment, rely heavily upon the use of impoverished psychology students. With the promise of bonus points or course credit there can be incentive to participate but there's usually no incentive on how to participate. For an example, there's been research to suggest that a person will be more likely to provide a wrong answer to a seemingly simple question if consecutive individuals before them all provided the same wrong answer, thus giving rise to "conformity" theories. When there's no tangible incentive to act one way or the other it might be tempting to "go with the flow" as a default option, but does anyone really think people would be getting obvious answers wrong if they were getting paid to provide right answers?

    To say nothing of the questionable nature of how the data is extrapolated, the conclusions in general seem to have virtually no practical value whatsoever, and unlike the experiments conducted with hard sciences, social psychology experiments are often difficult to replicate with consistency, as I know Jane Elliot was not able to reproduce the results when she deviated from students to paid participants on a BBC special, and the results of Zimbardo's prison experiment can never be replicated because it would be considered way too "unethical."
    Last edited by Deprecator; 07-23-2017 at 02:20 AM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Deprecator View Post
    but no there's usually no incentive on how to participate.
    Bingo. I've run several studies and the participants just bullshit their way through them because fuckitwhynot. Also, as you've mentioned, obsequiousness bias. I've got my panties in a wad over a lot of studies which use false dilemmas, but I'm going to form a blog about that.

    Interesting though, Jane Elliott.

    "It won't help much to be prepared to face Jane Elliott. This elderly woman will tear down any shield. Even we, the spectators in BLUE EYED, can't get rid of this feeling of uneasiness, embarrassment, anxiety and utterly helpless hatred when she starts keeping people down, humiliating them, deriding them, incapacitating them. No doubt about this: for three quarters of the time in this documentation Jane Elliott is the meanest, the lowest, the most detestful, the most hypocritical human being hell has ever spit back on earth. But she should be an example for all of us". - Stuttgarter Zeitung

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky balbotox View Post
    Bingo. I've run several studies and the participants just bullshit their way through them because fuckitwhynot. Also, as you've mentioned, obsequiousness bias. I've got my panties in a wad over a lot of studies which use false dilemmas, but I'm going to form a blog about that.
    I'd love to hear about the studies you've conducted because like you mentioned, what's the point of taking the study seriously if you can just BS your way through it and the incentive is the same either way? Either way I think the conclusions of various social psychology studies try and encourage you to reconsider how you'd react to a hypothetical stimuli by saying "hey, look at all these other people who responded negatively to authority! What makes you think you'd be any different?" and I just don't buy it.

    And who are you trying to convince when pointing out the weakness of psychology? I consider the belief in psychology to be very similar to the belief of religious dogma, and at the end of the day even the most rational of arguments wouldn't be enough to dissuade a true believer of christian or islamic faith. The efficacy of psychology and religion remind me of lie detectors... they have no scientific validity whatsoever but they can still "work" if people believe them to be true.

    Quote Originally Posted by rocky balbotox View Post
    "It won't help much to be prepared to face Jane Elliott. This elderly woman will tear down any shield... She is the meanest, the lowest, the most detestful, the most hypocritical human being hell has ever spit back on earth"
    Yep her troll level was well over 9000... she was truly amazing and I would have loved the opportunity to personally test whether or not she could in fact tear down any shield. And as inspiring as her conduct can be, something tells me that her and I would not have gotten along very well if we had ever met.

    "White people's number 1 freedom in the United States of America is the freedom to be totally ignorant about those who are other than white. The number 2 freedom is the freedom to deny that we're ignorant." She kills me every time.
    Last edited by Deprecator; 07-23-2017 at 02:29 AM.

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    I think there might be problems when trying to generalise study results to the whole population. I haven't looked much into this, so it's just a vague idea I have.

    For example there might be some kind of test that shows the study participants were more productive in the morning. Study concludes that to be more productive you should wake up early. But there's a kind of implicit assumption that everyone belongs to some same class / group. Whereas I'd say it's more complicated, and maybe more realistic to say people belong in different groups.

    I think that more reputable studies probably are more careful with that. But I would suspect that a lot of studies still make those mistakes, which lead to people believing certain rules apply equally everywhere.

  10. #10
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    The main weakness of social psych is that when you have the best controls and the best isolation of factors for your experiments, you're most removed from a real-life context.

    The other weakness is that most experiments validate a sociological view on morality and behaviour rather than a philosophical one...where our actions and thoughts are all basically relative, and rational cognition is a weak mitigator against conditioning and manipulation. Social psych doesn't really empower us to be less naive, as much as it simply empowers us to take advantage of each others' naivety. It seems to entrench us in this state of 'being subject to', rather than to elevate us to a state of greater awareness wherein the findings of social psych do not apply any longer(because we know what they are, and we can opt to act contrarily by virtue of having said awareness).
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

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