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Issues and Debates – The Replication Crisis

4. The Challenges of Validity

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we explore how psychology has been challenged on the idea of validity, focusing in particular on: (i) quantifiable experimentation, using Freud’s Oedipus complex as an example of where psychology has failed in this way; (ii) a more modern perspective being Karl Rogers’ focus on talking therapy and humanism, but which is highlighted as still having the same issue of being untestable in a quantifiable way; (iii) the issue of refining theories once they are found to be contradicted by new evidence, discussing how psychology often doesn’t progress its thinking in this way; (iv) the ‘Big-Five’ personality test, remaining mostly unchanged despite being found to be largely unapplicable to people in developing countries; (v) Daryl Bem’s precognition study, highlighted as a failing of the assumed link between ‘good’ scientific method and robust results.


In this course, Dr Ayoub Bouguettaya (University of Birmingham) explores a key shortcoming in the field of psychological science – replication. In the first lecture, we explore the concept of replication and define science in terms of three key criteria: reliable and valid theory which can predict outcomes, theories that can be disproven by quantifiable experimentation, and theories that are altered or withdrawn in the light of new findings. In the second lecture, we explore reliability and outline three core issues facing psychological science: quantifiable measures, theories that cannot be disproven, and unrefined theories. In the third and fourth lectures, we explore the definition of validity, its variety of forms, and the challenges associated with formulating valid research. Next, we think about the interrelatedness of validity and reliability, as well as returning to this idea of replication and the many famous studies which have failed either conceptual or exact replication. In the sixth and final lecture, we think about the ways in which the field of psychology is tackling these problems and conclude on two different perspectives on whether psychology can be considered a true science.


Dr Ayoub Bouguettaya is a lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham. Dr Bouguettaya’s research interests are in social psychology and how knowledge from that field can be applied to others, particularly health, including how we can apply social identity theory to societal problems, as well as investigating the different perspectives one might take on those issues. Some of Dr Bouguettaya’s recent publications include 'The relationship between gambling advertising and gambling attitudes, intentions and behaviours: a critical and meta-analytic review' (2020) and 'The Effect of a Food Addiction Explanation Model for Weight Control and Obesity on Weight Stigma' (2020).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Bouguettaya, A. (2021, November 24). Issues and Debates – The Replication Crisis - The Challenges of Validity [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Bouguettaya, A. "Issues and Debates – The Replication Crisis – The Challenges of Validity." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 30 Nov 2021,

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