5 Timeless Debates in Psychology – Psychology Today

tjevans / Pixabay

Source: tjevans / Pixabay

Understanding human behavior is tricky business. We should be wary of anyone who claims to have it all figured out. To add to this complexity, note that across the history of the behavioral sciences, there have been consistent instances in which multiple explanatory concepts are completely at odds with one another. In a sense, the field of psychology is a field of contrasts. As is true with many intellectual areas, psychology is full of debate. 
This post is designed to put a face to five of the timeless debates in the field, to help people understand the many nuances that surround the science of psychology.

To explicate these debates, let’s consider the following example: 

Trevor is an average high school student who is hoping to make it into college and possibly be a pilot someday. In his biology class, he finds himself having no clue what the difference is between meiosis and mitosis. Fortunately for him, he has the definitions of these terms written on the palm of his left hand. Unfortunately for him, his teacher catches him cheating and reports him to the principal. His parents are called in and it turns into quite an ordeal.

The simple question from a behavioral science perspective is this: Why did Trevor cheat?

Five Timeless Debates

As summarized in my recent book Own Your Psychology Major! A Guide to Student Successany question of behavior can be thought of through various