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Issues and Debates – The Replication Crisis

2. Reliability

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About this Lecture


This second lecture focuses on reliability, starting by exploring three key issues which face psychology as a science: quantifiable measures, theories that cannot be disproven, and unrefined theories. The first issue, quantifiable measures, originated with Immanuel Kant in 1786, who proposed that human thoughts could not be quantified. This was later challenged by Wilhelm Wundt in the mid-to-late 1800’s, who’s practice of introspection centred around self-reporting internal thoughts in a quantifiable way. The latter part of this lecture introduces the fact that psychological vocabulary doesn’t always align with its use in lay terms, outlining the definition of reliability as it is used within and outside of psychology.


Reliability – The consistency of a study or measure at providing the same results under the same conditions and sample.


In this course, Dr Ayoub Bouguettaya (University of Birmingham) explores a key shortcoming in the field of psychological science – replication. The course starts by introducing the concept of replication and defining 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can predict outcomes, theories that can be disproven by quantifiable experimentation, and theories that are altered or withdrawn in the light of new findings. Lecture two explores reliability and outlines three core issues facing psychological science: quantifiable measures, theories that cannot be disproven, and unrefined theories. Lectures three and four explore the definition of validity, its variety of forms, and the challenges associated with formulating valid research. The fifth lecture highlights 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. The sixth and final lecture addresses the ways in which the field of psychology is tackling these problems and concludes 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. His research centres around social psychology and how knowledge from that field can be applied to others, particularly health. Dr Bouguettaya is interested in how we can apply social identity theory to societal problems, as well as investigating the different perspectives one might taken on those issues. His recent publications have spanned a breadth of topics including social identification, eating behaviours, conspiracy theories, and behavioural economics.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

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

MLA style

Bouguettaya, Ayoub. "Issues and Debates – The Replication Crisis – Reliability." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 30 Nov 2021,