How to Make Psychology a Genuine Science of Behavior: Comment on Dolinski’s Thoughtful Paper


  • Klaus Fiedler


In this comment to Doliński’s (2018, this issue) challenging paper, I express my agreement with his basic ideas and with his concerns about the alienation of social psychology. However, I also present some critical thoughts that amount to a slightly different diagnosis of the present situation. Rather than concluding that our discipline has ceased to study real behaviors, I provide positive counter-examples of substantial behavioral science and argue that the major problem is not to distinguish between measures of “real” and “non-real” behaviors. The problem core, rather, lies in the widespread tendency to mistake statistical and technical indices (latencies, model parameters, fMRI indices, etc.) for measures of meaningful behavior. When technical means become ends in themselves, Doliński’s metaphor applies that “the tail wags the dog”.