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Issues and Debates – The Replication Crisis

4. The Challenges of Validity

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About this Lecture


This fourth lecture explores how psychology has been challenged on the idea of validity. The first issue raised is that of quantifiable experimentation, using Freud’s Oedipus complex as an example of where psychology has failed in this way. Bringing a more modern perspective is Karl Rogers’ focus on talking therapy and humanism, however, this is highlighted as still having the same issue of being untestable in a quantifiable way. The next issue that Dr Bouguettaya addresses is that 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. The example given is that of the ‘Big-Five’ personality test, remaining mostly unchanged despite being found to be largely unapplicable to people in developing countries. In the last example, Daryl Bem’s precognition study is 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. 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can predict outcomes, theories that can be disproven by quantifiable experimentation, and theories that are altered or withdrawn in the light of new findings.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 - The Challenges of Validity [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

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