It's weird how I really like psychology, but I never find myself talking about the subject that much. I guess all those research papers in college wore me down. Everything I want to talk about... I've probably already written about in an essay somewhere. I find myself thinking a lot about the topic though.
So in an effort to keep material fresh in my mind, I'll try to write about it consistently. I've never really been that organized with my LJ, so I tend to rewrite a lot of the things I've already written about in the past... which really frustrates me to no extent. Anyway, this is just a little experiment. I'm going to try writing a bit more about psychological topics in this journal. Hopefully I can keep it up. ^^; Most of the writing will probably be dense and dry though in comparison to how I usually write. But I don't know.. is my writing already dense and dry? x_x Or maybe not? Or maybe it's really boring...
*wonders about that....*
I guess the big thing on my mind is how psychology is such a broad topic that's so easily accessible to everyone nowadays. We have shows like "Dr. Phil" and a giant selection of self-help books to choose from. This may or may not be a good thing. Another thing is that psychology seems like a very intuitive science. We observe things happening in our friends and family, and we make (sometimes rash) decision that we can apply those cases to the rest of society. Heck, it seems almost anyone can do it. For example, I've heard someone say something along the lines of "The men in my family and my boyfriend love sports, so that means all males must love sports!" This is really bad case of logical fallacy. Just because we observe specific behavior in a group of subjects DOES NOT MEAN we can apply this to the general population. Another example would be... "Well, I saw the look in her eyes, and everytime I see that look on a person, I KNOW that person is lying." Again, just because it's true in certain cases DOES NOT MEAN it's true in every case. Perhaps because of this, we have a lot of people calling themselves "psychologists" when they really have no clue about the topic. They analyze their friends and family based on what they intuitively know and learned rather than basing it on the science.
One more example would be the fundamental attribution error, in where we notice a trait about a person and generalize it towards other aspects in their lives. This is one error that I see used the most by others. "Oh, that person is a doctor, so he's smart, rich, good looking, and successful." Although these things can be associated with one another, those conclusions should not be reached just because the person is a doctor... Once again, as I mentioned in a previous post... I think this is due to the fact that the culture I live in is individualistic, placing value on the importance of the individual. We attribute personal success and failure to the individual rather than to their circumstance or anything else. Earlier today, I heard the popular argument about homeless people, in the idea that they're lazy and they don't want to work for a living. Again, there's a tendency to attribute things to the individual... even if it isn't their fault.
I'm really in no position to judge others about this though. I can understand how easy it is to want to make a conclusion about something, especially when it's staring you in the face. We all do this from time to time. Intuitively, things can make sense... but I've learned that scientifically, things may not be the way they seem.
In psychology, nothing is ever definite. It's a science about people, but people are not always that easy to predict. That's why everything is usually analyzed statistically at a 95% alpha rate, and not at 100%. I guess that's why I like to respectfully challenge the standard ways of thinking... because there's always another way to look at things, even if it's just a tiny 5% of the time. I'll always give the other side/argument consideration, even if I don't agree with it.
My main point out of all this is that psychology is open to everyone now, but the scientific thinking behind it isn't. People don't usually come with the ability to think critically or methodologically about things, so they make rash judgements and attribute ideas that shouldn't be attributed in the first place. In my classes, I was taught to always keep an open mind and to always question my own conclusions. This was something that was natural to me before, but it was only through psychology that I figured out how to apply these things. I guess this all makes psychology look like a psuedo-science, as nothing is ever set in stone. Even some of my professors question how much of a science it really is. Hey, 95% is still a good number, don't you think? It's probably as good a number as we'll ever get studying the mind of people.