The Pursuit of Objectivity in Psychology

“Replication of the vast majority of research findings fails, the field is plagued by a bewildering methodological sloppiness and several cases of outright fraud have surfaced.”

This book has been written by Mattias Desmet, a professor at Ghent University in Belgium.

The publishers say:

“For about a decade, academic psychology finds itself in a crisis. Replication of the vast majority of research findings fails, the field is plagued by a bewildering methodological sloppiness and several cases of outright fraud have surfaced.

This book argues that one of the major causes of the crisis in psychology is situated at the level of measurement methods. While myriads of research papers claim that the validity of the measurement instruments used is ‘acceptable’, ‘good’ or even ‘excellent’, every thorough analysis of validity and reliability of nomothetic measurement procedures leads up to profound skepticism.

For a long time, the use of numbers gave psychology an aura of sophistication and exactness, but now it rather puts psychology at risk to become a pseudoscience. The author illustrates that a variety of factors not-intended-to-be-measured impacts on measurement outcome, which renders most types of statistical inference ineffective. He concludes that a reorientation towards single case research, a reappraisal of narrative and qualitative description, and a measurement paradigm centred on quantification of formal characteristics of language might attune psychological methods better to the complex and dynamic nature of its subjects. Ultimately, such a reorientation might contribute to a true overcoming of the replicability crisis. ”

You can find out more from here and here.

The Pursuit of Objectivity in Psychology
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1 Comment

  1. Valerie

    Guys, you have to read this book. I went to a lecture of the author and then I bought the book. I always knew there was something wrong with mainstream, academic psychology, but now I know exactly why. The examples in the book are crystal clear. There is one example comparing psychological measurement with a carpenter measuring the windows of a house. It’s absolutely hilarious!!! And then the examples on the use of outcome measures in clinical practice. I think this book could really be a turning point for psychology. The last part of the book is a bit difficult. I had to read it twice but for the rest, it’s quite easy to read. Read it and spread it!!!

    Reply

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