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Is Conceptual Critiques Relevant For Psychology?

1157 words - 5 pages

In the arena of Psychology, is Conceptual Critiques essential? Scientific methods can be classified into three core clusters of activities ( (Machado & Silva, 2007). The first cluster is identified as Experimentation, which involves the measures taken by the Psychologists to generate theories and validate hypotheses. The second cluster is identified as Quantification, which involves the examining of data and formulating theories, laws and models with reference to empirical evidences and previous knowledge. The third cluster is identified as Conceptual Analysis, which involves the actions of the Psychologists engage in when they evaluate the language of their science.
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In this essay I will discuss how Conceptual Critiques can be used in Psychology to improve its theoretical works and to prevent future complications and condemnation. Subsequently, I would also discuss how Conceptual Critiques might be a drawback too.
Firstly we shall consider Piaget’s theory of Cognitive Development as one type of example of Conceptual Critiques (Huitt & Hummel, 2003). His theory states that cognitive development was a gradual restructuring of mental processes as an outcome of one’s biological maturation and environmental experience. Therefore, children initially develop an understanding of the world around them, following that, they experience inconsistencies between what they already acquired and what they find out in their environment.
There was study conducted by Spelke (1991), based on Piaget’s theory of Cognitive Development in infancy. As mentioned earlier, in Piaget’s view, young infants perceive the things happening in their world as coming from their own actions. Therefore this study was based on 4 to 6 months old infants’ response of watching is habituated by recurrent demonstrations of a ball dropping from a certain height. In the likely event, the ball drops and then stops when it touches a solid surface; in the unlikely event, these infants see the ball passing through the solid surface. The results showed that the response of watching at the moving ball dishabituates more to the unlikely event, although obviously its visual appearances were closer to the start of the display. To further elaborate, the 4 to 6 months old infants make inferences with reference to the input data. These inferences are then compared with the actual events and then, the differences that are observed surprise the infants. Hence, the infants spent more time looking at unlikely event in comparison to the likely event in the experiment.
Inferring from the above experiment, Piaget’s theory is subjected to a number of Conceptual Critiques. The concepts on whether the infant’s mind can ever go wrong when drawing inferences and what would be considered as going wrong were uncertain. Apart from the infant’s behavior, there wasn’t any clear evidence that the inferences were properly performed. There is a possibility of other theoretical explanations. For instance, that the infant’s brain is hardwired, such that when there is a certain set of stimulus activated, inference occurs. However, this kind of explanations on brain properties of the infants and its behaviors ends up as an additional complication to this theory. Furthermore, the issues on infant’s brain mechanism malfunction and the ability to make inferences accurately might arise. This questions the credibility of the theory that when the behavioral reaction is absent, in this case,...

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