Pragmatic Apparatus – Quantification in Experimental Psychology and Pragmatic Epistemology: Tension Between the Scientific Imperative and the Social Imperative

Cited by Lee Sonogan

Letting Go of Your Knickers…. Pragmatic Psychology in Action! - Access Blog

Abstract by Hervé Guyon1* and Camille Nôus2

This article is an opinion article that criticizes the usual practice in quantitative psychology. Our development seeks to link a (pragmatic) critique of measurement and statistical modeling, by considering that the critique must firstly focus on the current social framework of scientific production.

The mainstream of quantification in experimental psychology continues to generally use a standardized design, labeled statistical positivism (Gigerenzer, 1990b). Quantification requires quantitative measures. Most articles using such measures do so as if these attributes could be measured like the objects studied in physics. Based on these measures, statistical models are used with different problems: (1) confusion between reality, concepts, and variables; (2) errors in the analysis or interpretation of statistical models; and (3) normative vision of the model that neglects singularities and the interdependence of individuals. Criticism of the positivist claims of empirical studies in psychology has been around for a long time. Why does experimental psychology continue to proceed as if this critique did not exist? The fundamental reason is the social function of quantitative psychology. Statistical models allow researchers to publish so-called scientifically valid results (publication bias). Beyond the scientific field, scientific results in psychology contribute in the public space to what Foucault called bio-power (Foucault, 1995): the results of experimental psychology not only serve to support public health recommendations but also underpin processes of standardization, control, and regulation.

Publication: frontiers in psychology – Quantitative Psychology and Measurement (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Pub Date: 13 Jan, 2021 Doi:

Keywords: Experimental Psychology, Pragmatic Epistemology, Scientific/Social Imperative (Plenty more sections and references in this opinion research article)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.