On the Study of the Mind

One of the greatest challenges posed by psychology research is the quantification of many of the constructs we seek to study. Unlike in (most of) physics, biology, and chemistry, much of the material studied by psychology cannot be boiled down to discretely observable phenomena. Certainly we are able to evaluate facial expressions, eye movement, brain imaging, etc., but a challenge emerges when we seek to measure such abstract concepts as imagination, nostalgia, and creativity. There is a camp of psychology arguing concepts such as these should receive no study under the umbrella of science, but many others, including myself, see this as a limiting and restricting approach to understanding our minds from a comprehensive point of view. Almost anybody around the world will tell that the imagination is a very real thing. We all possess an imagination and we all feel nostalgia. Our senses only reveal to us a small part of reality. Just because we can’t directly see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Much of my study relies on self-reported measures. While self-report measures certainly have their limits, they are in many cases the best option we have to evaluate psychological constructs.

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