The Guardian of the 29th of August 2015 reports on a paper in the journal ‘Science’ which tells of attempts to replicate experiments in psychology. It seems that the investigation was initiated in response to ‘rising concerns over the reliability of psychology research’.
The research into the research, so to speak, which was on a large international scale, showed that the 270 scientists involved ‘could reproduce only 36% of the original findings.’ This is lamentable!
A distinction is made between cognitive and social psychology. It is reported that about half of the cognitive research is not replicable whereas the failure rate for social psychology is at a staggering 75%. Comments by workers in the field temper dismay at the findings by adopting a ‘must do better’ response but Alphomism proposes that the problem is not procedural but inherent.
Alphomism holds that as the complexity and dynamism of entities increase so does the level of freedom and hence willpower. If minds were entirely machine-like then the replication of experiments would not be a problem but only a small part of brain activity is controlled by scientific laws. The part played by mental factors means that psychology is only on the fringes of science. It might be better to categorise it, along with economics and sociology, as a ‘social science’.
The route to predictability in social sciences comes not from external forces but from mindful human decision and regulation. In this aspect of being we will not be discovering order but creating it.