Discussion and Results Chapter: Psychology's Rodney Dangerfield Problem

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Psychology's Rodney Dangerfield Problem

The essence of psychology's Rodney Dangerfield problem is that this particular academic discipline and science incurs a definite lack of respect as compared to that of other sciences. The public view of psychology and of those who practice it is not on par with its view of other scientific disciplines, such as physics or chemistry, which are generally viewed as being more substantiated in hard facts and official scientific processes and methodologies. Psychology, however, is generally viewed as being a lot more subjective and given to individual interpretation. As a result, psychological findings and conclusions are a lot more likely to be received with skepticism, cynicism, and in some instances, frivolity (Stanovich, 1997, p. 15).

There are several factors that can account for this regard of psychology, some of the most important of which directly shape the public's perception of this field. Oftentimes, psychology is wrongfully confused with the proliferation of self-help books and guidance, the latter of which is very rarely based on scientific processes and is quite deserving of the public's general perception of psychology. Additionally, there are a number of pseudosciences that are viewed as extensions of and subsets of true psychology, which helps to further blur the line between unadulterated psychology and its methodology and that of fraudulent quacks. Lastly, the media also plays an active role in propagating an erroneous view of psychology towards the masses. Not only is the media actively propounding the notion that much of the aforementioned self-help guidance and pseudosciences are in fact the work or results of formal psychology, but it also is noted for sensationalizing the statements of (in certain instances) what may be questionable sources regarding psychological findings, as opposed to quoting an esteemed psychologist who is hesitant about giving a definite statement about whatever the topic in question happens to be (Stanovich 1997, p. 179).… [END OF PREVIEW]

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