The Importance Of Knowledge In Psychology

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“The desire of knowledge, like the thirst of riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it.” (Laurence Sterne) . It is commonly said that two sources of acquiring knowledge are through passive observation and active experiment. When we simply inspect and record phenomena which occur around us in the ordinary course of nature, we are said to passively observe. When we change the course of nature, or the course of ourselves, and thus potentially produce unusual conditions, we are said to actively experiment. In both cases, we most certainly employ our senses to some extent to gain knowledge and follow it up with reason to interpret the information we are acquiring. But how can we know if knowledge acquisition is either an active or passive process? This knowledge question will be addressed through an examination of passive observation and active experiment in three areas of knowledge: Human Sciences (Psychology), Natural Sciences, and Religion. It will also be approached from a different perspective by examining another form of knowledge acquisition unrelated to the two mentioned: intuition.

Passive observation has shown to be the fountain of knowledge for many new discoveries in the study of humans, past and present. As an IB Psychology student, I discovered that a significant portion of Psychology relies on gaining knowledge about human behavior through observational methods without any intervention of the researcher. A famous figure in Social Psychology who

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