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Social Sci LibreTexts

7.4: Does the field of psychology have meta-theories?

  • Page ID
    10026
  • Does the field of psychology have meta-theories?

    During different historical periods, specific meta-theories dominated the field of psychology. For example, during the 1940s and 1950s, behaviorism held sway. In the 1960s, Piaget’s theories were introduced to the United States and captured the field’s attention. When a specific meta-theory governs the field, it becomes very difficult for researchers from opposing meta-theories to work—they have trouble getting funding, they have trouble getting their research findings published, and they are marginalized by other researchers. For example, when the area of motivation was dominated by behaviorists (who believed that all behavior was motivated by rewards and punishments), it was very difficult for researchers to study and publish research on intrinsic motivation.