The Perception of Psychology as Unscientific: The Cognitive Mechanisms Underlying The Perception That Psychology Is Not A Science

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Morgan, Lindsay




While psychology can be straightforwardly shown to be scientific, many do not perceive it to be a science. Although researchers have examined this phenomenon (e.g., Lilienfeld, 2011), they have yet to empirically identify the cognitive mechanisms responsible for it. One possibility is that a dual-process account of cognition might explain the paradox; that is, while individuals may understand that psychology is a science, they may not implicitly associate psychology with science. The goal of this thesis is to explore this possibility using a discrete free association task (Nelson et al., 2004) for academic disciplines that included the natural sciences and psychology. The results demonstrated that psychology was found to be conceptually different from science and the natural sciences. Based on the results, suggestions are provided to assist in improving the perception of psychology as genuinely scientific.


Psychology - Cognitive




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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