Two studies examined the possibility that instruction in psychological methodology is committed to a philosophy of science, logical positivism, that is not adequately acknowledged and is empirically problematic. Study 1 suggested that psychology departments had more courses in methodology than corresponding physics departments, and psychology departments were far more likely to offer an introductory course in general methodology. Study 2 suggested that psychology had more introductory general methods textbooks than did physics. Both studies suggested psychology still presents itself as the kind of science that was defined by logical positivism. Study 2 suggested psychology does this only implicitly in its texts and without acknowledging problematic features of that philosophy. Psychology methods texts commonly justified the importance of the scientific method by describing human cognitive fallibilities without cautioning that these same fallibilities could be seen alternatively as showing the problematic nature of the positivistic conception of scientific methodology. In several regards, texts conformed to Fleck's notion of “textbook science” and to Kuhn's description of science texts as “tourist brochures.” It was cautioned that an implicit appeal by psychology to logical positivism contradicts its claim that its methods and data are objective, transparent, and little influenced by philosophy, logic divorced from data, or authority. 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Keywords implicit logical positivism   methods textbooks   psychological methods   scientific methodology   methodology courses
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DOI 10.1037/a0021575
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