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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


MUSTACA, Alba Elisabeth  y  FRANCO, Paul. Perception of students and graduates on status of Psychology in Argentina. Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2018, vol.35, n.2, pp.327-340. ISSN 1668-7027.

One of the fundamental goals of education is for people to learn to differentiate scientific knowledge from the one derived from common sense and pseudoscience. Learning to thinks cientifically is considered an easy task. It is not natural to humans; it requires changing certain structures of knowledge towards notions that need reflection, and an important transformation of some conceptual networks that are involved in the information processing mechanisms natural of all living organisms. In the case of psychology, the conceptual change from folk psychology (or common sense) and pseudos-cience to psychological science is also difficult to teach, perhaps even more so than in physics or biology, as the latter are more developed, more remote from human problems and there are less epistemological controversies about their methodology. There is evidence of differences between students and graduates on their views about the scientific basis of psychology. In this paper, the perception of psychology's status was evaluated among psychology students and graduates from universities in Argentina using the Psychology as a Science Scale (Friedrich, 1996PAS). It's comprised of 20 items with a 7 point Likert style response ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). It is divided into three factors. F1: psychology can be considered as a science similar to biology or physics (4 items, e.g. A degree in psychology should be a Bachelor of Science rather than one in Arts or Humanities); F2: research conducted in controlled laboratory environments is essential for the understanding of everyday behavior (5 items, e.g. Being able to do experiments is as important to psychology students as for chemistry, physics or biology students); and F3: behavior is predictable (6 items, e.g. Although each person is unique, it is possible for science to find general laws to explain human behavior). It also has 4 filler questions (FR) to hide the objectives of the survey and control social desirability (eg. An introductory course in psychology should encompass the widest range of possible topics). Friedrich (1996) reported that the scale has an internal consistency coefficient alpha of .71 for a sample of students and Holmes (2014), reported alpha of .74 for graduate / teachers. For the sample presented, Cronbach's alpha was .74 for all items. The Spanish translation was done by the authors of the study and evaluated by two experts in psychology and English proficiency. Then it was administered to a group of psychology students to confirm the understanding of the items. The survey was administered both through an online system and in person. The main results show that students have significantly lower score than graduates in the three factors of interest. However, graduates who identify with a cognitive-behavioral framework or with an integrative-eclectic approach strongly agree or agree with the scientific status of psychology as measured in F1, F2 and F3, unlike students and psychoanalysts who scored significantly less in F1 and F3. Moreover, students of the first years of study have a significant minor score than students of the last years on F1 and F3(p < .05). This work has as limit that the sample is not representative and the questionnaire was not validated in its version in Spanish. However, the results are similar to those of other countries, although it was the first that discriminated the opinion of the graduates in function of the theoretical orientation. Future research confirms these results. These results are discussed in relation to studies in other countries and to the teaching of psychology.

Palabras clave : Teaching of Psychology; Science; Students; Graduates.

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