Doubts towards Psychology
I have had doubts about personality psychology’s ability to define traits because of the difficulty in controlling for situational factors as well as, more recently, the methodologies that social psychology has been using, or not using, which has resulted in a replication crisis. But to say it is pseudoscience is not only discouraging honest inquiry into a field that asks important questions about our nature but is also, quite frankly, interesting enough in its own right to write about.
I am reminded of the time I was schooled by someone on the field of medicine as being the “hard” science whereas psychology was the “soft” science if one at all. The contemptuous tone and smug face made it all the more memorable which served to not just stoop my posture but also to taunt me. I was hoping for rational discourse but instead provoked a reaction that I have no doubt seen before when challenging others, and I soon realized that I was engaging in tribal warfare guise as truth-seeking.
Not Judging Just Saying
I am guilty too of using contempt as some of my posts have been described as “vitriolic” and “scornful”. But I’m more careful now in how I present topics so that issues can be discussed without severing our prefrontal cortex. To be clear, I am not judging those who use contempt but instead am offering analysis on the emotion of contempt. I would like to understand it and assess if the benefits of its use – stoking our own egos and bolstering our tribe’s beliefs – outweigh the costs.
By discussing psychology’s progress towards understanding our emotions, part I, we will be able to say at the very least that the field attempts to be a science since it asks questions on how things work and accumulates a body of knowledge, and at the very most, part II, we can say it meets the five criteria often cited to qualify an endeavor as a science.
Furthermore, the question should not be framed in terms of absolutes, as that only serves the victor when disparaging it, but rather to what degree does it adhere to these five criteria.