By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 1 Psychology: A Scientific Discipline students can recall all the concepts quickly.

Maharashtra State Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 1 Psychology: A Scientific Discipline

The word science is derived from the Latin word ‘Scientia’ which means ‘knowledge’. Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world, following a systematic methodology based on evidence.

The key features of science are:

  • Empirical evidence – It refers to acquiring information through direct observation or experiments. Scientific knowledge is based on verifiable evidence.
  • Objectivity – This refers to the ability to observe and accept facts as they exist, setting aside all sources of expectations, values, prejudices, etc.
  • Scientific causality – Science aims to establish a cause-effect between the variables under consideration, i.e., the effect of the Independent Variable on the Dependent Variable.
  • Systematic exploration – Science adopts a sequential procedure for studying various phenomena. It includes scientific steps like formulating a hypothesis, collection of facts, scientific generalisation etc.
  • Replication – Scientific knowledge can be replicated under the same circumstances as the original experiment. This ensures reliability of results towards establishing a scientific theory.
  • Predictability – Science involves describing and explaining phenomena as well as to make predictions accordingly.

Maharashtra Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 1 Psychology A Scientific Discipline 1

Maharashtra Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 1 Psychology: A Scientific Discipline

History Of Psychology As A Science:

  • Psychology did not emerge directly as a science. It was earlier a branch of philosophy. In 1879, at the University of Leipzig (Germany), Wilhelm Wundt established the first psychological laboratory. This led to psychology as a separate scientific discipline.
  • Structuralism advocated by Wundt and Titchener is regarded as the first school of thought in psychology. Functionalism was advocated by William James. Psychoanalysis was proposed by Sigmund Freud.
  • In the early 20th century, John Watson advocated a new school of thought in psychology, i.e., Behaviourism. It focused on the study of observable behaviours.
  • In the later half of the 20th century, Humanistic Psychology was advocated by Carl Rogers. It focused on the power of free will towards self-actualization.
  • American Psychologist, Ulric Neisser, is considered as the founder of Cognitive Psychology which focuses on cognitive processes.
School of thought Main contributors Focus
(1) Structuralism Wilhelm Wundt, Titchener Method of Introspection
(2) Functionalism William James Human Consciousness
(3) Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud Unconscious mind
(4) Behaviourism John Watson, Ivan Pavlov Observable behaviour
(5) Humanistic Psychology Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow Free will, self-actualization
(6) Cognitivism Ulric Neisser, Jean Piaget Cognitive processes

Research Methods In Psychology:

Experimental Method – The systematic observation about a certain problem under controlled laboratory conditions is called an experiment.

The steps involved in an experiment are:

  • identifying the problem,
  • formulating a hypothesis,
  • selecting an experimental design,
  • conducting the experiment and data collection,
  • data analysis,
  • drawing conclusions.

The features of the experimental method are :

  • it is the most objective and scientific method of studying behaviour
  • it helps to establish cause-effect relationship between two or more variables
  • the findings of an experiment are verifiable.
  • The limitations of this method are :
  • it may not be possible to control all intervening variables,
  • it has a limited scope, i.e., there may be ethical constraints or risk factors
  • experimenter’s expectations or participant attitude may influence the conclusions.

Maharashtra Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 1 Psychology: A Scientific Discipline

Survey Method – A survey is a research method used to collect data from a pre-determined group of respondents, i.e., a sample. It is used to obtain information about the preferences, opinions, etc., of the ‘sample’ population making use of tools like questionnaires, checklists, interviews, etc.

Survey method is employed by social psychologists, industrial psychologists, etc. The researcher must ensure that the sample of respondents is representative of the population.

Observation Method – It is a research method that is employed in conditions where experiments may not be possible or even necessary. Observation method is used by child psychologists and social psychologists. It may be carried out in a natural setting, for e.g., observing candidates waiting their turn for an interview or may be done in controlled conditions.

It is a time-consuming, subjective method. It needs to be carried out in a systematic manner for it to be considered as scientific.

Case Study Method – It is a qualitative research method employed by clinical psychologists. It provides intensive, descriptive information about an individual from multiple sources such as family, peers, school, etc.

This helps to assess the person’s level of psychological and social functioning. Researchers employ techniques like observation, interviews, psychological tests, etc.

Correlation Method – A correlation refers to a statistical tool used to measure the relationship between two or more variables.

If the change in one variable is accompanied by a change in the other variable, this interdependence is called correlation. It is measured by correlation coefficient which extends between -1.00 to +1.00.

The types of correlation are :
Positive correlation – Both variables either increase or decrease at the same time, for e.g., extent of rehearsal (revision) ↑ and recall score ↑. The value of positive correlation from 0.00 to + 1.00. It is represented as :
Maharashtra Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 1 Psychology A Scientific Discipline 2

Negative correlation – An increase in one variable is associated with a decrease in the other and vice versa. The value of the correlation is between 0.00 to -1.00, for e.g., bunking of lectures (↑) and score in exams (↓).
Maharashtra Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 1 Psychology A Scientific Discipline 3

Zero correlation – A change in one variable leads to no significant change in the other variable, for e.g., height and intelligence.

Maharashtra Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 1 Psychology: A Scientific Discipline

Challenges In Establishing Psychology As A Science:

Many criticisms of psychology as a science have been made on practical, philosophical and ethical grounds.

The challenges in establishing psychology as a science are :

  • It is in pre paradigmatic state – According to American philosopher, Thomas Kuhn, psychology is still in a preparadigmatic state as it has not succeeded in producing a cumulative body of knowledge that has a clear conceptual core. In psychology, basic paradigms on which the whole scientific inquiry can rest do not exist.
  • Issues related to objectivity and validity – Methods used in psychology such as introspection, surveys and questionnaires are subjective. Due to this, psychology lacks two criteria of science, i.e., objectivity and validity.
  • Issues related to predictability and replicability – In psychology, it is difficult to make exact predictions as people respond differently in different situations. Test results tend to be more varied and hence difficult to replicate.
  • Objectifying humans – According to some psychologists, subjecting human behaviour to experimentation amounts to objectifying human beings.

One of the significant aims of individuals is the attainment of happiness. However, in the pursuit of happiness, one should not be driven by irrational influences or compromise on social norms and ethics. Psychology helps to improving life quality by applying the concept of rationality in daily life.

According to Stanovich, “Rationality involves adaptive reasoning, good judgement and good decision making.”

According to Dr. Albert Ellis, rationality helps a person to successfully attain goals and be happy. He proposed Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT), which is a popular intervention method in counselling psychology.

According to Ellis, rational people possess characteristics such as:

  • Understanding both self-interest and social interest – Rational people understand what choices help them to grow and take responsibility for their actions. They are also careful not to violate the rights of others.
  • Self-direction – The person does not demand excessive attention or support from others as he/she assumes the responsibility for his/her own life.
  • Tolerance – It is the willingness to accept beliefs and behaviour patterns of others that may differ from our own way of thinking.
  • Flexibility – Rational people tend to be flexible and unbiased in their thoughts and actions.
  • Self-acceptance and self-responsibility – A rational person accepts him/herself unconditionally as well as takes responsibility for his/her thoughts, emotions and behaviour.

The concept of rationality can be explained as :

B (Balance) Balance between self-interest and interest of others
E (Estimate) Estimate the time, efforts, gains and losses
R (Respect) Respect oneself and others
A (Affiliate) Affiliate with others
T (Tolerate) Tolerate oneself and others
I (Integrate) Integrate personal wellbeing with social wellbeing
O (Optimize) Optimize potential fully
N (Navigate) Navigate path of success
A (Accept) Accept the limitations and overcome them
L (Live) Live life fully


→ Correlation Coefficient – A number which denotes the magnitude and direction of the relationship between two variables, it ranges between .1.00 to + 1.00.

→  Independent Variable – The variable being studied in an experiment it may change due to manipulations of the independent variable.

→ Hypothesis – A tentative explanation that can be tested to determine if it is true.

→ Independent Variable – In an experiment the variable that is systematically changed or manipulated by the experimenter in order to study its effect on the dependent variable.

→ Interview – An assessment tool for data collection involving face to face communication that can be used for diagnosis and in research.

→ Participant In a research study the individual who voluntarily participates and whose behaviour is being studied. Also called a subject or experimental participant.

→ Questionnaire – An instrument typically used in a research study that consists of a senes of questions that is used to collect information from the participants.

→ Replicability – It is the possibility to replicate a research or its findings in order to test its validity.