Psychiatry & Psychology--General/psychological


I've been reading some scientific psychological studies. Many of them use difficult mathematical statistics. How important are statistics in understanding psychology? Should statistics be such a big part of psychology? It is much easier and interesting to read popular science.  
I am not saying that statistics doesn't help but that it seems to be too important in modern psychology.
What is your view on this?
And it seems that psychology is too much into abstract theories rather than the concrete reality. What is your view on this?

Statistics are a basic tool of all science, Anders. Your doctor prescribes a treatment for a problem. What is the evidence that the treatment will work? Without research-based statistics, there would be guesswork only.  Stats is written in almost a foreign language, but basically, most of them say, "According to the analysis, this is how confident we can be that the research results were due to our treatment effect, as opposed to random fluctuation or chance."

You're driving along a deserted road and your car stops. Before you can try to get it going, you need to have an understanding or explanation of what's going on. That's what a theory is. For instance, if you theorize that the engine god is angry, you might sacrifice a chicken on the hood. Without theories we have no way of grasping what's happening. In fact, there's nothing less abstract and more concrete than a good theory. But I admit that some theories, such as many of the early psychoanalytical ones, are not only abstract, but unsubstantiated and no longer accepted.

Thanks for raising these two interesting issues (and in perfect English), and I hope you have a better understanding.


Psychiatry & Psychology--General

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Alan Auerbach


Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

©2016 All rights reserved.