“Should psychology be written for the layman or should science be exclusively for scientists????”

I believe strongly that psychological , journals, articles and reports should be written for individuals thus making them accessible by the general public. yes some of the words used would be the psychology specific but the statistics and evaluations of the results should be accessible to all walks of life thus written in a straight forward fashion , explainable to an individual outside the field.

The statistics element is often shown  in adverts or in journals use statistic in order to illustrate their point . One example of this is “the Virginia twin study “: this study tested 1412 pairs of  caucasian twins on how genetics and the environment  can impact on their development during adolescence. The statistics in such studies help the reader to quickly grasp the findings in order to make sense of the possible impact they may have on the world or he selves  as statistics shown as percentages  are an easy, reliable, straight forward way for individuals to engage with the present findings. 


Further more as psychology is somewhat a social science and not just a neural science  i believe that i is in psychologists best interests to pass on their knowledge  to others thus creating an accessible platform where information can be recieved freely.


6 thoughts on ““Should psychology be written for the layman or should science be exclusively for scientists????”

  1. ryan1392 says:

    I agree that in some cases the public shoud be made aware of scientific discoveries, however i dont think it would do much good as i think if an individual has to be edjucated to really understand what to do with the information. otherwise the information could be taken in a different way and used inappropriately.

  2. sarric says:

    If we were living in an ideal world, I would agree that scientific findings should be accessible to everyone, of all backgrounds. However in reality this is just not possible. You mention the use of percentages being a particularly effective way of easily understanding data. However they are only easy if you understand how percentage works. Some people in the world will not have the skill set to comprehend such a phenomena. What is “easy” is only easy if you have the tools and knowledge to know what to do! For scientists, the results of ANOVA’s and T-Tests are easy, but for others interpreting these outputs are difficult. Therefore the divide between a scientists and a layman’s knowledge, is not as clear cut as first thought. Displaying results in a standardized format, for example including means, standard deviations and p values, reduces any ambiguity between readers. If you were to write results statements without any statistics at all, but just in words instead, i see how it could be argued as more simplistic. However to explain every single finding and concept as if the reader had no prior knowledge, would take a long time and make journals 3 times as long. The saying “a picture paints a thousand words” can be applicable to statistical statements!

    So i do not think psychology is specifically stopping the everyday person understanding science because everything is easy once you know how. Trying to simplify down statistical statements could result in a lack of clarity and very long journals!

    • psych31 says:

      yes but i have read psychology today psychology and these magazines greatly simplify concept an findings and make them fun ad accessible to most people…. i am not therefore suggesting that psychology does this i just think as a social pseudo science it should strive to bring knowledge to the layman who may be interested in what the feel explores and not make them feel isolated due to the way data is written and presented.

    • psych31 says:

      As my blog stated the file drawer problem is a huge issue in the scientific community as it hinder the evolution of research in certain areas thus constraining the information field to past research which agrees with the initial view point.

      Robert. G. Orwin conducted research into the file drawer phenomena by using Rosenthal’s (1979) fails safe N as a way to solve the file drawer problem. Class in 1979 found that the use of Cohen’s D as a measure of effect size could help to standardized the difference between treatments and comparisons thus creating an effect size for this phenomena and as a result minimizing this problem.http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1164923?uid=18882&uid=3738032&uid=2&uid=3&uid=5910784&uid=67&uid=18880&uid=62&sid=55884257823

      The file drawer hinders research as it creates sampling bias to some extent. Research conducted on infant day care, attachment and ‘the file drawer problem’ showed that statistical techniques which analyse such correlations are themselves subject to this phenomena as past research is often unavailable to compare due to this very problem. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1994.tb00827.x/abstract

  3. Terrance says:

    To the point of this thread, can someone explain this statement (analogies would be appreciated):

    Statistically significant but practically unimportant results are common with large samples. Some psychologists have responded with an increased use of effect size statistics, rather than sole reliance on the Fisherian p < .05 significance criterion (whereby an observed difference is deemed "statistically significant" if an effect of that size or larger would occur with 5% -or less- probability in independent replications, assuming the truth of the null-hypothesis of no difference between the treatments).

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