Before going into the argument of the legitimacy of psychological research it is inevitable to define the word “psychology” itself. Psychology can be defined as the study of human mind and behaviour. In the definition mentioned above term “human mind” has been used. According to world’s population there are around 7 billion humans on planet, so are the minds. However each mind possesses a whole universe of its own so does it means that psychology is trying to make sense of the 7 billion universes in the world? And on what extent the field is contributing to the wellness and development of society? The legitimacy of psychological research will be discussed in this essay.
Psychology as a subject evolved in Germany in 18th century and by early 19t century until now the hub of the psychology is USA. 95% of the psychological researches are being made in the western context in general and in North American context in specific. Moreover in most researches the samples were based on the students of the university who were awarded a credit for their participation. In this scenario it is almost impossible that the studies being conduct will be legitimate because of two main flaws. One major problem is that those studies used mainly students as a sample. However humans have different roles and jobs along with study. Results can be different if the similar studies will be conducted on the other members of the community.
Other main problem with those researches is the context in which they are conducted. Influence of culture on the human experience and development of human mind has been accepted. However the majority of psychological studies are being conduct in the American context. Will they be able to replicate their results in other cultures as well, let’s say in Far East? According to recently done cross cultural studies it had shown that there are differences in the behavioural approaches and mind experiences across cultures, and the factors that are being considered universal until now might not be the universal but restricted to the specific society.
One main example is the self-esteem. It has been considered that self -esteem is a universal phenomenon and humans want to hear their praise to boost their self-esteem. However the studies conducted in Japan on the Japanese sample showed that there is another dimension of modesty and critical evaluation as an important factor in the Japanese society as compare to the boasting about oneself to increase the self-esteem.
In conclusion it can be proposed that the studies being conducted in psychology lack the validity and reliability. However the situation is getting better along with time. The cross cultures studies are being conducted recently in the field of psychology. In addition, the diverse samples are being used to find out the underlying causes of a specific behaviour. Although there are lot of problems in the research methodology being used in psychology, field itself is quite helpful in a sense that it brings insight in the people and make them able to understand themselves in general and their strengths and weaknesses in specific in a better way.