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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The View of Russian Students on Whether Psychology is a Science

  • Author(s): Aleksandrova-Howell, Maria V.;
  • Abramson, Charles I.;
  • Cota, Lisa D.;
  • Braches, Douglas A.;
  • Karitsky, Igor N.;
  • Antonenko, Irina V.;
  • Mazilov, Vladimir A.
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

The Psychology as Science Scale (Friedrich, 1996) was administered to 525 psychology students from nine Russian universities to assess their beliefs about the nature of the discipline. About half of students (49.6%) generally agreed that psychology may be called a scientific discipline. Specifically, 71. 5% of the students agreed that psychology is a natural science, similar to biology, chemistry, and physics, 39. 9% of students agreed that psychological research is important and training in psychological methodology is necessary, and 43.1% of students agreed that human behavior is highly predictable. Students who took three methodology courses shared significantly stronger beliefs in the need for psychological research and the importance of training in methodology compared to students who did not take any methodology courses. Furthermore, students with a specialist degree had significantly stronger beliefs that psychology is a science compared to students who have just finished school. In terms of the effect of students’ career aspirations, students who wanted to be academic psychologists and clinicians had significantly stronger beliefs that psychology is a science compared to students who did not have clarity about their future careers. Regardless of the study limitations, these findings have potential implications for Russian psychology instructors.

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