Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Positivism, philosophy: modern positivism represents the demand to trace back statements with a claim to explanation to differences which can be ascertained in the objects of investigation. What is ascertainable is, in this case, relativized to a framework theory and its methods. This is intended to exclude foreign and non-verifiable statements. See also empiricism, internal/external, truth, provability.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
Upton I 9
Positivism/Psychological theories/Upton: An underlying assumption in this traditional scientific approach is that there is an objective reality in the world that can be observed, measured and categorised. This is sometimes referred to as a positivist approach and has been used widely in developmental psychology since the study of human development began.
VsPositivism: in traditional lab-based research, development is being studied outside a meaningful social context. The findings may therefore lack ecological validity, which means that they may no longer hold true when people are behaving naturally in their everyday settings. It is also argued that people’s behaviour during a research study may also be changed because of other factors, such as the uneven power relationship between the researcher and the participant. It has also been suggested that researchers may impose on participants their own ideas of what is being measured, by the research tools that they use and the way they design the study. Thus a participant’s behaviour during the study may not be completely natural but may, in part, be an artefact of participating in the research.
VsTradition: studies have been carried out to investigate the influence of context on people’s behaviour, but using traditional experimental methods.>Margret Donaldson (1978)(1)
Development/language/environment/Donaldson, Margret: Donaldson which looked at how children’s cognitive performance changed according to the language used and the meaningfulness of the situation.
Upton I 10
Subjectivism/VsTradition: Other psychologists reject the idea that human thought and behaviour can ever be studied objectively. This is because they argue that there is no single objective reality. >Subjectivism/Psychological theories.

1. Donaldson, M. (1978) Children’s Minds. London: Croom Helm.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Psychological Theories
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011

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