Psychology and Statistics: The Importance of Probability in Behavioral Science

Mathematics is an important part of science and psychology, as the science that uses it to achieve its goals of predicting and controlling human behavior. To this end, the use of probability is important, which allows scientists to have greater certainty about how people act.

Psychology and Statistics

The use of mathematics it has been an important part of science since it emerged as such at the start of the modern era, to the point where the great influence of numbers on what we today call scientific knowledge is undeniable. Francis bacon he proposed a strong importance of mathematics as part of his new method, while Galileo he conceived of mathematics as the language with which God wrote nature (Fraile, 2000).

In this way, it becomes quite reasonable that the psychologyAs a science, somehow use mathematics in your studies, either as an aid or as part of the hypothetical deductive method. This method has been the subject of one of the constant controversies among psychology theorists (Silva, 2013).

What are the goals of psychology as a science?

However, to understand the importance of probability in psychological science, it is necessary to understand the heads of psychology. In this regard, Coon and Mitterer (2010) tell us that psychology pursues four heads, Namely: the description, understanding, prediction and control of behavior and mental processes.

However, it is important to understand what is meant by the concepts prediction I control. Prediction is understood as the ability to predict behavior with certainty, while control is understood simply as the ability to change conditions that affect behavior (Coon & Mitterer, 2010: 15).

When the odds come into play

Including the above, it can be said that probability just helps to achieve the third goal and this is, in a way, the basis of the fourth point. In other words, for psychology to be able to predict and / or control behavior in a timely manner, it must be able to make any particular data obtained through research susceptible to generalization and therefore to be inferred, with a sufficient degree of certainty. , a behavior, action or situation.

Probability and statistics are used, on the one hand, as a means of obtaining, interpret and generalize the data, And on the other hand, power predict some future events from here. This is clearly seen in the use of surveys, correlational studies and case studies as research methods. The survey is used to obtain data used to collect information from a representative sample of a population, while correlational studies look for the relationship that may exist between two variables, which are not necessarily the cause of one. the other. Finally, the case study which allows to study a single subject or a single situation with a high degree of detail. (Halguin and Krauss, 2008).

Statistics: a key element to be able to deduce results

As expected, all of these methods (and even the experimental method) they need probabilities to be able to deduce results. But it goes beyond the numbers, it touches on issues which, when applied, can affect those treated, for example in a psychology office or in the context of work or school, for example.

The issues addressed in these three areas directly affect people’s lives and that is why it is important to consider on the one hand the chances of success in therapy, Or during the job interview or at school, so that a more precise and effective intervention can be given, which can really help people and give them effective tools to achieve their goals in the best possible way .

Ultimately, what is sought with probability, from a scientific point of view, will be the predictability of an event. But from a personal point of view – and not rarely existentially for many people – what is sought after is a certainty that gives meaning to the reality we live in.

Bibliographical references:

  • Bologna, I. (2011) Statistics for psychology and education. Córdoba: Ed. Witches
  • Coon, D. and Mitterer, J. (2010) Introduction to Psychology. Mexico: Cengage Learning
  • Fraile, G. (2000) History of Philosophy III: From Humanism to the Enlightenment. Madrid: BAC.
  • Halguin, Ry Krauss, S. (2008) Psychology of Anomaly. Mexico: McGraw-Hill
  • Silva, A. (2013) Philosophical Foundations of Psychology. Mexico: PAX

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