Our speaker this month is Professor Brian Hughes of the School of Psychology, NUIG. He has outlined his presentation as follows:
Psychology is a science that impinges on mental health, education, industry, public health, applied social policy, and social attitudes. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the most popular science subjects in universities around the world. Nonetheless, psychology regularly attracts practitioners - and academics - who hold negative views about science or who lack scientific rigour.
This lecture examines the various technical risks, biases, and scientific shortcomings that undermine the capacity of psychology to assert its claim to be a rigorous scientific discipline. It will be argued that psychology is marred from within by widespread tolerance for pseudoscientific attitudes amongst psychologists. Such problems afflict all areas of psychology, including those typically identified as the ‘most scientific’.
It will also be argued that bad science in psychology impedes the general public’s understanding of all science, and undermines the dignity with which we humans – as a self-conscious species – view our own behaviour.