Is Murphy’s Law Related to Psychology? or is it just Coincidental that things “Just Happen”

A Murphy's Law saying you can never tell which way the train went by looking at the track. Used in the article Is Murphy's Law related to Psychology

Is Murphy’s Law a Part of Psychology?

I don’t believe so but, let’s see what some experts say.

Murphy’s law states that “everything that can go wrong will, and probably at the worst possible time”.

It is often used as an excuse for something gone pear shaped.

Where as Murphy’s law usually has something to with something going wrong in the physical or environmental sphere, Psychology is everything about human behaviour.

For instance:

  Q. If Murphy’s law was true exactly 50% of the time would it still be true? Or would it just be that people remember the incidents where Murphy’s law was true more than the incidences where Murphy’s law failed? In other words- Does Murphy’s law boil down to psychology?

A. When things go wrong, Murphy’s law is working. When things don’t go wrong, that shows that Murphy’s law is not working. 
It has nothing to do with psychology, your mood and stress levels, have everything to with psychology.
According to Google: Psychology is defined as the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting human behavior in a given context.

Murphy’s law is commonly attributed to engineering/scientific situations, where not all events can be anticipated, but one can be prepared to deal with events, one did not expect, if they are factoring in a “worst case scenario” (usually).

Murphy's law rules used in the articleIs Murphy's Law Psychology,

 According to many psychological studies,Stress and mood are two crucial elements that play a role in shaping the cognitions of this bias

In psychology this is known as the self-fulfilling prophecy effect. A prediction that causes itself to come true.

A self fulfilling prophecy could be you thinking negatively about something.

You have an exam next week, and you think you will fail for whatever reason.

And you do! That had nothing to do with Murphy’s law and everything to do with your thinking.

Maybe it could be classified as superstition!

Experts tell us:- There is no metaphysical power of thought over matter, but there certainly is an influence of attitude over mindfulness.

Is Murphy’s Law Scientific?

What we now call Murphy’s law was in an earlier form an engineer’s observation, that with enough trials a possible failure will certainly happen.

According to the physicist: The mathematical statement of Murphy’s Law, as used in scientific communities, is tremendously complex. But the common form, “everything that can go wrong will”, is fairly accurate and more than sufficient for most applications. The short answer is: yes, Murphy’s Law is real.

The mathematician

So when something does goes pear shaped it is just referred to as Murphy’s Law, or to put it another way… “s**t happens”.

Is Psychology a Science?

A lined page with Approaches to Psychology as the hedline and then a series of headings down the page. Used in the article Is Murphy's Law Related to Psychology

Yes. It is considered a social science. Not to be confused with Sociology!

Mathematical models and psychology are sometimes combined.

A commonly math/psychology combination used among the stock traders on wall street is known as “Technical Analysis”, of which there are numerous different patterns.

Gann, Elliot Wave, Fibonacci, Point and Figure, candle sticks, head and shoulders, and cups and saucers among a few dozen others.

Economics also combines psychological/ideology, and mathematical assumptions.

Both are often incorrect more times than they are correct. But, some would argue otherwise.

Psychology is such a varied field covering hundreds of different aspects of human behaviour, it is hard to pidgeon-hole it, unlike say an engineering discipline. Take a look at the Q&A below.

Q. How many Branches of Psychology are there?

A. It has got to the stage where just about every major company, or arm of government has a psychological test you must pass to get a job. Plus there are Forensic, Consumer, School, Counselling, Clinical and Criminal psychologists (among others).
For instance to get a job in Aviation, Military, Child care, even driving machinery you will have to undergo a psychological test to see if you are suitable for the job.
Of course the outcomes are not perfect.
Forensic Psychology

Examples of Psychology Helping People.

This is like a “Where do you start where do you end?” question.

Murphy's Law saying Nothing is as easy as it looks. Everything takes longer than you expect written in Old English text Used in the article Is Murphy's Law Related to Psychology?

Psychology is being used by people who have issues at work.

For instance: This message I received from a friend a couple of days ago.

Get this. You ain’t gonna believe this one. Our project has just hired the 3rd deputy project manager, but this latest one comes with an emotional support dog.”

Life can be tough in the world of communication engineering.

If you have read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and followed those principles then that is one part of psychology.

There are numerous other self help books around, read by all sorts of people.

As well there are numerous short courses people can avail themselves of.

Are Psychology Qualifications Accepted Everywhere?

A banner asking what can you do with a Psychology Degree, Used in the article, Is Murphy's Law related to Psychology.

Not really. Every country has different requirements.

The U.S. and Canada are the only countries that require a doctoral degree to be a licensed psychologist. The rest of the world may want additional information.”

For a psychologist to have a doctoral degree he would have spent 8-10 years studying.

However, most psychiatrists treat patients primarily by prescribing medication, while psychologists mainly rely on providing talk and/or behavioral therapy.
The difference in treatment is obvious if you look at the message I received above. The Deputy Project Manager is being treated by a Psychologist.

If she were being treated by a psychiatrist she would most likely be on some medication.

You can see the differences between Psychologist and Psychiatrist here.


Murphy’s Law could be related to anything or nothing.

A common list of Murphy’s Laws.

  • Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
  • Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
  • Nothing is as easy as it looks.
  • Everything takes longer than you think.
  • If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.
    • Corollary: If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.
  • If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
  • If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
  • If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
  • Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
  • Every solution breeds new problems.

Thanks for reading. Have fun.

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