The role of behavior-behavior measurement in advancing the behavioral sciences.
This may be a time of transition for psychology. Our path as a field has led to some great advances but as it has grown it appears to have come undone at the seams.
The credibility of psychology
The public struggles to understand what we do, and how could they not? Though every field has its strong personalities and theoretical battles, psychology is one of the few fields so advanced, and yet, not even sharing a common language or understanding of fundamentals across schools of thought. Though disagreement at the level of constructs and processes, and big personalities, will certainly continue to exist – our disagreement of the fundamental level of measurement is such that we are slowly sinking our field.
Internal battles weaken us
These disagreements have contributed strongly to a crisis of replication in research. Then in an effort to reaffirm our respective view-points, we often tear apart the methods of each other’s studies on the basis of philosophical and theoretical orientation. Again, some of this is inherent in the process of science itself; however, a science that does not agree upon the very basics of measurement dooms itself. It is the Parthenon constructed on quick sand, and we are seeing the effects of this in our field now.
Practice suffers when egos over-ride workability
As clinicians, we struggle to gain reimbursement and prove our effectiveness in meaningful terms to our clients. If you’re speaking to clients in mid-level constructs, expect that you sound like a magician at best. If we are to remain a credible and effective science we must pursue deep integration from a solid foundation. From there, we can build a solid base on which to help humanity tackle its largest issues.
One way to move towards a solid foundation
Measuring at the level of behaviors in relation to other behaviors, and the contexts in which they occur, reduces the levels of assumptions we must go through, and in many ways, simplifies the science-to-practice-to-public communication gap.