What started as a random choice for a year 11 course because there was it or physics and low level maths on the same turned into my favourite subject. Only school subject that I have ever found interesting.
anyway for others interested in the subject, how about we discuss your favourite, craziest and stupid psychologists theories.
sorry if this is the wrong section. I have a habit of putting threads in the wrong sections.
Being a math, philosophy, and logic guy, I like learning about all the different ways that our brains trick our conscious minds into believing stuff, or how we have a really bad tendency to believe logically flawed arguments.
I love psychology, and the developmental theories particularly fascinate me, particularly those of Erikson, Piaget, and Kohlberg. I actually did my science fair project drawing connections between cognitive and moral development of 8th graders based on the theories of Piaget and Kohlberg. (It was supposed to be an entire school, K- 8th grade, but they forgot to hand out the surveys )
No matter how crazy some of his theories are, I find Freud fascinating. And I love the story of Rat Man.
Freud was basically am empirical void, but he sparked modern movements in psychology, and does an excellent job at making you feel gross about yourself.
Zimbardo is probably my favorite psychologist I've studied, due to his Stanford Prison Experiment and being an expert witness in the Abu Graib trials. if y'all ever get a chance, his TED Talk on evil is terribly fascinating. i'm fortunate enough to study at the university he's a professor emeritus at.
I remember in psych we listened to an interview with that guy. He was rather interesting. If people didn't do these unethical experiments in the past we wouldn't know what we know now. For that i thank the psychologists and the participants.
Freud was a fraud. A very successful fraud, and he quite possibly believed what he said, but he might as well have been rolling dice to diagnose things. He never did any studies, his theories could justify anything ("Ah, you have traumatic memories? They drive your psychoses!" "Ah, you can't remember anything traumatic? You must have repressed your memories, leading to psychoses!") and I may never forgive him for getting every English professor out there to insist that Shakespeare wrote Hamlet as having a non-existent Oedipus complex.
On the plus side, at least he got people talking about psychological problems. It's just a shame he got everyone to think about them wrong and still has a massive influence on how people think of the human brain.
I usually laugh at his theories and think how people could have believed him but than again i think thats all they had to believe. I am not a fan of maslow and rodgers theories either because they has assumptions that are open to dispute. I mean i don't believe everyone is striving to reach their potential. I am in favor of behavioral theories and trait theories.
It's only very, very, recently that psychology (and, for that matter, psychiatry) has even begun to take a scientific approach to things. Experiments, control groups, null hypothesis, selection bias...many things that other branches of science dealt with for centuries were originally ignored in the mental health fields.
And lots of these theories got established back then, and now hang around as accepted, despite little-to-no proof supporting them. They get all the credibility of rigorous science without the work.
Fortunately, things are improving, but it eesh.
Another field with that problem is nutrition. You know why what's "healthy" seems to change from month to month? There's almost no science there. Lots of theories, but very few properly controlled studies, due to how difficult they are to properly do.
By way of example: There's been lots of evidence found recently that Diabetes causes weight gain, not vice-versa: Your body sequesters the sugars it can no longer process in fat to try and keep things running. Since it does this as soon as insulin levels drop you see a person gain weight and then get Diabetes, so the obvious conclusion is that the first caused the second. However, that's a logical fallacy, but due to lack of valid research it's only being questioned now.
It's frustrating because true science is incredibly powerful, but people see all these stupid headlines about how carbs/vitamins/no-carbs/no-vitamins/dairy/no-dairy/whatever will kill you, or about how people who vote for one political party have been scientifically shown to be smarter than people who vote for the other, or whatever, and they lose trust in the parts that actually work, due to the imposters.