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Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 10:45:04 -0500
Archived: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 11:59:43 -0400
Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>From: Cathy Reason <Cathym.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 12:58:24 +0100
>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2012 12:48:23 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>The fact that there is such a thing as the DSM IV that is the
>>ultimate guide to mental disorders available to all the
>>professionals yet we still have the results of those experiments
>>shows that the process is breaking down with the psychologists
>>and psychiatrists themselves.

>Actually the DSM IV is not regarded as the ultimate guide to
>mental disorders outside of the United States. In Europe, for
>example, clinicians tend to use the International Classification
>of Diseases (ICD 10).

For sure! My point was that all the professionals have access to
a manual or guide and we should be seeing some significant
degree of consistency, at least geography wise, but the results
of the experiments referred to by Ray indicate otherwise.

>>The experimental psychologists (and there have been lots of them
>>who were quite competent and who both understood proper
>>scientific methodology and applied same) have devised and
>>conducted many outstanding experiments and conducted much
>>excellent research. A lot of their data has come from
>>reproducible experimentation and results are often confirmed by
>>more than one completely different type of experiment - each of
>>which were designed to test something from different angles.

>It's been my experience that the reproducibility of experiments
>in psychology is generally rather poor. However I don't have any
>figures on this, so if anyone else has any reliable figures it
>would be interesting to know what they were.

>There are quite a few reasons why I disagree with your
>contention that psychology is a science. Here are just a few:

>Psychologists regularly confuse operational notions of
>measurement with proxy notions of measurement. An operational
>measure should be defined in such a way that the outcome of the
>operation of measurement is identical with what is being
>measured. However psychologists routinely start out by defining
>some measure as an "operationalization" and then proceed to treat
>that measure as a proxy for some other quantity (or assumed
>quantity) which cannot be directly measured.

>The statistical methodology used in most psychological research
>is such that most psychological hypotheses cannot be falsified
>even in priniciple, since all negative results are automatically
>deemed to be insignificant.

>Experiments that are published in the academic literature as
>"predictive tests" of some theory all too often turn out to be
>modifed versions of pilot studies from which the original theory
>was derived - in other words, not predictions at all. A clear
>giveaway that this is happening is when the theory and the
>predictive test are both written up by the same author(s) - and
>often in the same paper.

>Most modern psychological research is based on the doctrine of
>Cognitivism, which rests on a large number of assumptions. These
>assumptions are not generally tested (or even acknowledged) by
>psychologists themselves - but research in other disciplines
>(such as neuroscience) has tended to undermine many of them
>pretty throroughly over the last thirty years or so.

>Many of the findings which are atrributed to psychological
>research (such as the notion that human perception is
>systematically unreliable) turn out to be identical with
>Cognitivist assumptions on which the research was based in the
>first place. In other words, garbage in - garbage out.

>There's a good few more I could list but that should be enough to
>be going on with.

Finally someone posting in regard to this thread seems to know a
fair amount in regards to psychology rather than making
uninformed proclamations.

Yes, most psychological research today is based on the doctrine
of Cognitivism. Thanks to individuals such as Noam Chomsky,
Cognitivism has become dominant. He did a number on
Behaviouralism, with the end result that Cognitivism has become
the main attraction over such fields as Functionalism,
Structuralism, Humanism, Psychoanalysis, Gestalt, Behaviourism.

The reasons you have listed as a reason to discount psychology
as a science reflect a deep understanding of how psychological
researchers proceed. But it simply boils down in the end to what
you accept as being science.

The research that is conducted in psychology is done according
to the standards of the scientific method, using either
qualitative or quantitative methods or both. It makes extensive
use of induction, deduction, and abduction (the three modes of
inference). It uses controlled experimentation in laboratories,
observation in natural settings, computational modelling, and
neuropsychological methods to name but a few.

What it essentially boils down to is whether or not you accept
quantitative (statistical) methods such as analysis of variance,
multiple linear regression, structural equation modelling, as
being scientific. Whether or not you see methods such as cross-
sectional studies, longtitudinal studies, and case-control
studies as being valid science. It boils down to whether or not
you see qualitative methods such as participant observation and
interviewing as valid science.

I recognize these as all being valid methods of obtaining data.
I see them as conforming to the standards of the scientific
method. You apparently do not. I guess we will have to agree to
disagree on this because we can argue it until the cows come
home but at the end of the day you will still not see it as
science and I will. My intent was not to get into a long debate
as to which methods held to be conforming to standards of the
scientific method actually do so or not. It was to point out
that psychology has made valid discoveries and that these are
often relevant to the studies of ufos. Also, that all
psychologists and psychiatrists are not criminals, liars, or

As to your statement regarding neuroscience as undermining many
of the tenets of cognative psychology, that may depend again as
to what side of the fence you are standing on. Neuro- science
may be misinterpreting a lot of its data. Neuroscience contends
that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the brain. That is the
accepted view in neuroscience. Yet several of its best
researchers, including the eminent Wilder Penfield after a life
time of studying it, concluded that consciousness was diffuse
outside the body. Neuroscience contends that the NDE (near death
experience) is generated wholly by the brain, that it is caused
by factors such as anesthesia, low oxygen levels, and high CO2
levels. Yet most of the researchers truly specializing in NDE
research say the data indicates otherwise. These factors produce
a confused, groggy, totally disoriented patient yet those who
claim to have had the experience report enhanced lucidity during
the event.

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