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Psychology and statistics: the importance of probabilities in the science of behavior

Psychology and statistics: the importance of probabilities in the science of behavior

June 25, 2022

Mathematics is an important part of science and psychology, as a science that is, makes use of them to achieve its objectives of predicting and controlling human behavior. For this purpose, the use of probability is important, which allows scientists to have greater certainty when predicting how people act.

Psychology and statistics

The use of maths has been an important part of the sciences since they emerged as such at the beginning of the modern era, to the point where the great influence of numbers on what we call today is undeniable. scientific knowledge. Francis Bacon proposed a strong role for mathematics as part of his new method, while Galileo he conceived mathematics as the language with which God wrote nature (Fraile, 2000).


In that way it is completely reasonable that the psychology , as a science that is, use mathematics in one way or another in your studies, either as an auxiliary or as part of the hypothetical deductive method. This method has been the subject of one of the constant controversies among psychology theorists (Silva, 2013).

What are the aims of psychology as a science?

Now, in order to understand the importance of probability in psychological science, it is necessary to understand the aims of psychology. Regarding this, Coon and Mitterer (2010) tell us that psychology pursues four purposes , namely: the description, understanding, prediction and control of behavior and mental processes.


It is important, however, to understand well what is meant by the concepts prediction Y control . By prediction the ability to foresee a behavior with certainty is understood, while for control it will simply be understood as the ability to modify the conditions that affect behavior (Coon and Mitterer, 2010: 15).

The moment when the odds come into play

Having understood the above, it can be said that the probability helps just achieve the third objective and it is, in a way, the foundation of the fourth point. In other words, for psychology to be able to predict and / or control behavior at the time, it is necessary to be able to make all the particular data obtained through research be able to be generalized and hence inferred, with a rate of enough certainty, a behavior, action or situation.


Probability and statistics are used, on the one hand, as a way to obtain, interpret and generalize the data , and on the other, to be able predict from there certain future events . This can be clearly seen in the fact of the use of the poll, the studies correlational and case studies as research methods. The survey serves to obtain data used to collect information from a representative sample of a population, while correlational studies look for the relationship that may exist between two variables, which are not necessarily cause of one another. Finally, the case study that allows to study a single subject or situation in a high degree of detail. (Halguin and Krauss, 2008).

Statistics: a key element to infer results

As expected, all these methods (and even the experimental method) require the probability to infer results . But it goes beyond just numbers, touches issues that once applied can affect the people who are treated, for example, in a psychological office or in the workplace or school, for example.

The issues dealt with in these three areas directly affect the lives of people and therefore it is important to consider on the one hand the chances of success that are taken in therapy , or in the job interview or at school, so that a more accurate and efficient intervention can be given that can really help people and give them effective tools to achieve their objectives in the best possible way.

In the end, what is sought with the probability, from a scientific point of view, will be the predictability of an event. But from a personal point of view, and not infrequently existential of many people, what is sought is a certainty that gives meaning to the reality we live.

Bibliographic references:

  • Bologna, E. (2011) Statistics for Psychology and Education. Córdoba: Ed. Brujas
  • Coon, D. and Mitterer, J. (2010) Introduction to Psychology. Mexico: Cengage Learning
  • Fraile, G. (2000) History of Philosophy III: From humanism to the Enlightenment. Madrid: BAC.
  • Halguin, R. and Krauss, S. (2008) Psychology of Abnormality. Mexico: Mc Graw Hill
  • Silva, A. (2013) Philosophical foundations of Psychology. Mexico: PAX

Intro to Psych Statistics (June 2022).


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