Monday, June 14, 2010

Random Train of Thought for the Day - Freudian Psychoanalysis

Just started an intro to psychology course and something in the first unit really bugged me. The first third of the chapter defines psychology, what it is, its goals and methods, with an emphasis on the fact that it is a science. The second third is the history and development of psycholgy and the last third is on the scientific method applied to the study of psychology. Right in the middle is this little gem: "Part of the reason that Freudian concepts are so enduring is the lack of any scientific way to test them and, therefore, show them to be either useful or useless. Nevertheless, despite the lack of testability, Freud’s theory continues to appeal to many modern theorists.”...Wait, what? Follow this train of impeccable logic with me. A) Psychology is a science, any system of explaining human behavior not based on scientific evidence is defined as pseudopsychology (ex. Astrology). B) Freudian psychoanalysis is one of the most enduring forms of psychology and is still popular today. C) The reason Freudian principals are so popular is because they are not scientifically testable and cannot be shown to either be useful or useless. Now tell me, does that make sense? If what the book says is true, and Freudian psychoanalysis cannot be tested or shown to be accurate, how then can we call it a system of psychology? By that definition it should be classified as a pseudopsychology, right up there with Astrology.