At my very empirically and behaviorally oriented psychology college department, psychology was most often defined as a social science aiming to describe, explain, predict and control behaviour. I’ve always had a problem with this control part, or manipulate, as it was sometimes put. Do we really aim to manipulate all the “non-psychologists”, as we sometimes call them? If so, who decides what people should or shouldn’t do, what’s desirable and what’s unacceptable behavior?
Stairs at Vatican Museum; photo by Giorgos~ (moving to Google+)
For me, manipulation means leading someone to do something you want them to do (but they don’t). On the contrary, I see my role as helping people do things they want, but for different reasons don’t succeed.