There seems to be a continuous crisis of different types in social psychology as a science, for which I provide a couple of examples from literature. I find this remarkable as social psychology could be considered to have the potential to help to solve contemporary problems of world’s societies employing advanced knowledge of humans, societies, and cultures (Vaitkus, 1990).
Different facets of crisis in social psychology and suggestions for solutions
For example, Keats (2016) points to a current crisis in the ability to reproduce past social psychology research results. The difficulty in reconstructing scientific findings may also result from missing information, why Wolf, Maarten, Leen, & Gert (2015) criticize the lack of open research practices. Therefore Wolf et al. (2015) promote more transparent peer review initiatives that in their eyes would provide for improved data and methodological detail explanation sharing, which in turn would facilitate the re-performance of research.
Hales (2016) is speaking about a crisis of confidence in social psychology that is caused by research based on weak evidence and as a remedy proposes a plan how errors in future scientific work could be further reduced.
An ongoing methodological crisis that has started in the 1890s was identified in the literature by Mironenko & Sorokin (2015). As a response to the current crisis in psychology, Mironenko & Sorokin (2015) propose to focus increasingly on human beings as an ever changing species rather than a generalizable and stable natural phenomenon. Poli (2014) is estimating the theory of prospection as recently proposed by Seligman, Railton, Baumeister, & Sripada (2013) as a revolutionary shift in psychology insofar as psychology’s conception turns from the past to the future. In prospection theory, rather than the past and stimuli, expectations about the future are considered to be the determining factor shaping human behavior, as Poli (2014) is summarizing.
Maslov (n.d) is seeing a crisis that roots in the weak connection of theoretical and observational knowledge, respectively in the isolated study of different behavioral processes of biological, psychological, and social nature that is lacking the establishment of logically correct links between those processes to the real contemporary social life. Beyond the borders of psychology Osborne, Baughn, & Kriese (2007) are going when feeling the need for increased interdisciplinary understanding between the humanities and the social sciences.
As the economic market, the scientific market is difficult to predict, why a diverse portfolio of research programs would be the logical consequence as Pedersen & Hendricks (2014) argue. To bet on high expectation scientific research only risks to limit the possibility of unexpected breakthroughs and to undermine the continuation of a substantial evidence base (Pedersen & Hendricks, 2014).
As Dafermos (2015) states, the continuing crisis in social psychology as a scientific field has to do with the need to further elaborate methods and frameworks to capture and analyze the complexity and sometimes contradictory reality of human behavior in the real social life.
Dafermos, M. (2015). Rethinking the crisis in social psychology: A dialectical perspective. Social And Personality Psychology Compass, 9(8), 394-405. doi:10.1111/spc3.12187
Hales, A. H. (2016). Does the conclusion follow from the evidence? Recommendations for improving research. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 66(Rigorous and Replicable Methods in Social Psychology), 39-46. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2015.09.011
KEATS, J. (2016). The Replication Crisis. Discover, 37(7), 10.
Maslov, K. (n.d). Environment, Behaviour and Communication: The Definitive Answer or the Continuation of a Crisis?. Culture & Psychology, 16(2), 243-251.
Mironenko, I., & Sorokin, P. (2015). Culture in psychology: Perennial problems and the contemporary methodological crisis. Psychology In Russia : State Of Art, Vol 8, Iss 4, Pp 35-45 (2015), (4), 35. doi:10.11621/pir.2015.0403
Osborne, R., Baughn, N., & Kriese, P. (2007). Bridging the Gap Between the Humanities and the Social Sciences: A Crisis Resolved. International Journal Of The Humanities, 5(1), 61-65.
Pedersen, D. )., & Hendricks, V. ). (2014). Science Bubbles. Philosophy And Technology, 27(4), 503-518. doi:10.1007/s13347-013-0142-7
Poli, R. (2014). Anticipation: A New Thread for the Human and Social Sciences?. Cadmus, 2(3), 23-36.
Vaitkus, S. (1990). THE CRISIS AS A BANKRUPTCY OF TRUST: THE FIDUCIARY ATTITUDE, HUMAN NATURE AND ETHICAL SCIENCE. International Sociology, 5(3), 287.
Wolf, V., Maarten, V., Leen, D., & Gert, S. (2015). Are We Wasting a Good Crisis? The Availability of Psychological Research Data after the Storm. Collabra, Vol 1, Iss 1 (2015), (1), doi:10.1525/collabra.13