Should Psychology be written for the layman or should science be exclusive for scientists?

The topic of my blog this week is in regards to wether or not I believe the field of Psychology should be modified when necessary in order to simplify certain concepts in order to allow the population who do not pursue an interest in social science to obtain a deeper understanding. As a student that’s been studying Psychology for the last year and a half, I now feel like I can read a psychological journal and understand exactly what the study involved and what findings the results section demonstrate. However if I would not have experienced that year and a half of practice I do not believe I would have the slightest idea on how to make sense of the paper due to the complex psychological terms, statistical inferences and the structure in which it would have been written.

Personally I believe that it is important for people who do not necessarily study or expertise in Psychology to have a general understanding of what the field involves. Furthermore I believe that the results that are obtained by some research studies can be generalised to the general population and therefore by obtaining a stronger knowledge about the basic concepts of Psychology, the general public would benefit. For example, Asch (1951) demonstrated an increase in the likelyhood of conformity in an environment where a large number of peers were also present. These findings can be generalised to the vast population and therefore if an ordinary individual was to take the findings of this research experiment into consideration, it could possibly have a positive influence in the sense that the individual would have a deeper understanding of his/her behaviours and actions.

To conclude although I do agree that as a Psychology student, scientific writing and follwing guidelines such as the APA is very important in the sense that it gives every student a structure in which to base research reports upon, I also believe that simplified versions of ground-breaking research studies such as Asch’s study on conformity were to be available in order for the general public to read and fully understand. I believe that understanding and obtaining explanaitions of why different behaviours and actions occur can only be beneficial regardless of wether the individual in question was an aspiring psychologist or not.

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10 thoughts on “Should Psychology be written for the layman or should science be exclusive for scientists?

  1. Hello, you have written a very interesting blog and also put some strong points across on this topic. I very much agree with you that following guidelines such as APA is important in order to keep the research papers the same structure. To answer the topic this week I agree with you that psychology should be kept in a simple language so that anyone wishes to can read it. To refer to your point that studies such s Asch (1951) should be simplified for everyone, I think that this shows that a study such as that one is popular because it was interesting and not because it was in a complex language and a research can be simple and be successful as long as it is interesting (Peterson, 2010).

    Thank You

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  3. Hello! I think you have given your opinion across very well with evidence to back up your points. For example, you mentioned Asch’s (1951) conformity study because it increased the public’s knowledge about their behavior due to the fact that we were able to read the paper clearly. Another example of this was Milgram’s (1963) obedience study which also contributed greatly to our knowledge about human behavior today. If these papers were not written in a way that we understood, we would not know much detail about human behavior today. Although I think that papers should be written in a simple way for everyone, I also agree with your comment about the APA guidelines. This would ensure that psychologists’ research papers would have the same structure.

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  5. Hi your blog is very interesting and well written. I agree with you that if psychology papers were simpler and written in better layman terms the general public would benefit as it is one of Helsinki’s 5 basic principle that everyone should benefit and have access to research reports. This shows us how important it is for research to be simplified as at the minute they don’t benefit from research (Hill & Payne, 1953). I also believe that following APA is important as it gives our work structure and make sure everyone’s work is written in the same way to ensure it doesn’t get confusing. Thank you.

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  7. Hey there, I found your blog very interesting however, maybe you should put some more evidence to back up your opinion. I agree with you by saying that if you did not have the year and half of experience in reading report you would not understand. I also believe that if the public is taking part in the study like most experiment then they should be able to understand the outcomes of the experiments. Really good blog, Thank you.

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  9. This was a good blog as you put your views across effectively but felt more references could have been used in order to strengthen your argument. You raised some interesting points and I agree with your point that studying psychology has improved my ability to understand what is put across in research papers.

  10. Hi, this was a very good blog, however I do not agree that research studies should be simplified for the wider public as this then interferes with the communication skills between researchers language. This is important to keep the scientific grammar similar in order for scientists to understand the article, hence the APA (2010) guidelines. I agree that we are now getting the grasp of the language as psychologists due to reading the scientific language in the articles. Jenkins, Styne & Wysocki (1995) found this during their research as people find the meannings of words better, and this is apart of our course which the general public are’nt paying to complete. We could simplify the research by making documentaries, like Dr Zuberbuler as mentioned in my blog in order for the layman to understand. We could also use the abstract part of the research more simplified for the layman to understand the key concept of it also.That is why I do not agree with you however it is still a very good blog! 🙂

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