The American Psychological Association is considering whether to approve a new “perception science” standard for psychology, which will be modeled on a concept developed by psychologists and applied to the study of prejudice and discrimination.
Perception science, or “psychoanalytic psychology,” will be part of the APA’s 2017 meeting in San Diego.
Proponents of the new standard say it will help psychologists understand how prejudice, prejudice-motivated and bias-motivating are developed.
But critics, including the American Psychological Society, say it’s too new, lacks rigor and lacks a clear set of standards for assessing prejudice.APA’s Psychological Standards Committee will meet Friday to decide on whether to recommend the standard, which it has not yet decided on.
The new standards will go into effect in 2021.
The APA does not yet have a final rule for how it will use its research, which includes surveys and fieldwork.
The committee will also decide whether to establish a new scientific standard for research, according to an APA release.
That would make the standards “the cornerstone for defining, evaluating, and reporting on psychology research,” the APAS said.
“The committee is considering the need for a clear, robust and rigorous definition of psychology and for the inclusion of psychology research in research agendas and other research activities.”
The new standards have the support of a number of professional organizations including the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychiatric Association.
They have been endorsed by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Association for Psychological Science.
But they have been opposed by psychologists, including two members of the committee, the New England Psychological Association, the Association Psychologists of America, the Psychological Association of America and the Society for Research on Attitudes and Values.
The new APA standards were written by a panel of psychologists who specialize in the study and treatment of prejudice, discrimination and bias, according the APAs website.
They are not the only such standards, but they have gained attention because of their emphasis on science and evidence and because they take into account the “perceived nature” of prejudice- and bias and prejudice-related biases, the APS said.
The APAs new standard will take a “broad approach to research design and conduct” and “reflect current knowledge about prejudice, bias, and prejudice,” the organization said.
The standards “include a clear definition of research, guidelines for the design of research designs, and a set of best practices for the conduct of research.”
In addition, the standards will include the “evidence for and a definition of prejudice,” which should include “the evidence that is presented in research and in psychology research and the degree to which the evidence for or against the hypothesized association between one or more perceived characteristics and a bias, prejudice or discrimination is supported by the available scientific evidence,” the group said.
In its announcement, the organization acknowledged that the standards are “not an exhaustive list of criteria that must be met to achieve a scientific consensus” but said that they will be “consistent with current knowledge and practice in psychology.”
It did not say how it would evaluate research.
“Perceived and non-perceived forms of prejudice are not necessarily caused by discrimination,” the standards state.
“Psychologists must also make a distinction between the types of biases, attitudes and beliefs that have been attributed to individuals based on their perceived characteristics, and those that are not.”
The APA is committed to promoting science-based decision making, including science-informed decision making that focuses on the best scientific evidence, not on an overly simplistic ‘what does it mean to be prejudiced?’ approach.”APA officials said the standards have been adopted “in an effort to provide more information to help better inform public discourse and policies.