Research Topic

From “Modern” to “Postmodern” Psychology: Is There a Way Past?

About this Research Topic

Psychological science is – for pragmatic considerations – mostly oriented towards positivism, which is perceived as a “modern” but not “postmodern” epistemology. “Postmodern” psychology has not yet arrived in mainstream psychology.

“Postmodern” psychology – what do we mean by it? Postmodernism is ...

Psychological science is – for pragmatic considerations – mostly oriented towards positivism, which is perceived as a “modern” but not “postmodern” epistemology. “Postmodern” psychology has not yet arrived in mainstream psychology.

“Postmodern” psychology – what do we mean by it? Postmodernism is associated with (post)modern constructivism, deconstructivism, relativism, and art. Postmodernism has a taste of arbitrariness and manifoldness. To our knowledge, there is no overarching or established definition of postmodernism because this is a relatively new social development that different areas have discovered for themselves at different times, each using their own definitions.
We do not insist on the term “postmodernism” but rather want to use it to describe societal developments that transcend established practices in psychology and other sciences. These developments are characterized by interdisciplinarity, relativism, constructivism as well as a systemic and complex understanding of human problems. Here, by “postmodern” psychology, we mean the integration of these lessons learned into an enlarged body of psychological knowledge.

Academic mainstream psychology has not yet fully considered “postmodernism”. But psychological science is changing, be it in confrontation with the replicability crisis and all the attempts to reduce this problem, in the contributions to enhance validity through stricter use of different methods, or the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. We argue that these developments are symptoms of a – wanted or unwanted – movement away from modern towards a “postmodern” science, although generally recognized rules of “postmodern” science do not yet exist.

Various contributions are already dealing with these problems. For example, some scholars point out that, in inductive inference, p-values should be interpreted in a heuristic way. Others show us, from a metrological point of view, which crucial criteria of measurement in psychological science have been ignored so far. Still others highlight what quantitative approaches should learn from qualitative approaches, and vice versa, or point out the use and misuse of pre-registration in psychological science. These contributions open up new avenues for enhancing the quality and validity of psychological science.

How can psychology move on from “modern” towards a “postmodern” science, and is this really necessary or useful? This Research Topic aims at collecting potential solutions rather than problem descriptions. We are looking for:
(a) contributions proposing solutions on epistemological and conceptual levels,
(b) contributions offering solutions on the levels of methodology and methods, including an innovative treatment of statistical information, such as statistics as heuristics,
(c) contributions exploring how, apart from the main discussion about replicability crises and the need for more transparency, the meaning of replicability may change when moving from “modern” to “postmodern” science, or how replicability and validity do relate to each other, but also
(d) contributions that may argue against a need to move towards “postmodern” science in psychology.


Keywords: epistemology, methodology, measurement, qualitative-quantitative, replicability, validity


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30 April 2021 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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