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Discussion 1: Theory. Definition. a scientific theory is a set of related assumptions that allows scientists to use logical deductive reasoning to formulate testable hypotheses . Components of the definition. a set of related assumptions a set of related assumptions

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Definition
Definition

  • a scientific theory is a set of relatedassumptions that allows scientists to use logical deductive reasoning to formulate testable hypotheses.


Components of the definition
Components of the definition

  • a set of related assumptions

  • a set of related assumptions

  • a set ofrelated assumptions

  • logical deductive reasoning

  • testable


Example
Example

  • cognitive dissonance theory

  • cognitive dissonance: uncomfortable feeling or stress caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously.

  • "dissonant" vs. "consonant"

  • the theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a fundamental cognitive drive to reduce this dissonance by modifying an existing belief, or rejecting one of the contradictory ideas.


A set of relevant assumptions
A set of relevant assumptions

  • 1)the introduction of a new cognition that is dissonant with a currently held cognition creates a state of "dissonance"

  • 2) the magnitude of the “dissonance” relates to the relative importance of the involved cognitions

  • 3) dissonance can be reduced either by eliminating dissonant cognitions, or by adding new consonant cognitions.

  • 4) the maximum possible dissonance is equal to the resistance to change of the less "resistant cognition"; therefore, once dissonance reaches a certain level, one of the dissonant cognition will be changed or eliminated, and dissonance will be reduced.

  • Q: Are they relevant? Are they directly testable?


Logical deductive reasoning
Logical deductive reasoning

  • human beings, when persuaded to lie without being given sufficient justification, will carry out the task by convincing themselves of the falsehood, rather than telling a bald lie

  • Q: Does it flow from the previous assumptions? Is it testable?


Test through empirical research
Test: through empirical research

  • Festinger’s experiment

  • students were made to perform tedious and meaningless tasks

  • participants rated these tasks very negatively.

  • after a long period of doing this, students were told the experiment was over and they could leave.


  • however, the experimenter then asked the subject for a small favor.

  • the participant was asked to fill in as a research assistant and try to persuade another subject that the dull, boring tasks the subject had just completed were actually interesting and engaging.

  • some participants were paid $20 for the favor, another group was paid $1, and a control group was not requested to perform the favor.



More than one testable hypotheses
More than one testable hypotheses $1 group rated them more positively than those in the $20 group and control group.

  • other ways of forming the hypotheses

  • people who feel dissonance will seek information that will reduce dissonance and avoid information that will increase dissonance

  • people who are involuntarily exposed to information that increases dissonance are likely to discount that information, either by ignoring it, misinterpreting it, or denying it.


Why different theories
Why different theories? $1 group rated them more positively than those in the $20 group and control group.

  • alternate theories exist because the very nature of a theory allows the theorist to make speculations from a particular point of view.

  • observations are colored by the individual observer’s frame of reference, so there may be many diverse theories.


What makes a theory useful
What makes a theory useful $1 group rated them more positively than those in the $20 group and control group.

  • generates research: generates a number of hypotheses that can be investigated through research.

    • descriptive research

    • hypothesis testing

  • organizes data into a meaningful structure, provides an explanation for the results, and help ask further questions.

    • Integrate knowledge into an intelligible framework

    • shape as many bits of information as possible into arrangement


What makes a theory useful1
What makes a theory useful $1 group rated them more positively than those in the $20 group and control group.

  • falsifiable: can be confirmed or disconfirmed

    • be precise enough

    • negative research results: refute the theory; suggest discard or modify it

  • guides action: provide the practitioner with a guide to action

  • internally consistent

    • components logically compatible

    • consistent use of language

  • parsimonious: be as simple as possible


Dimensions of personality
Dimensions of personality $1 group rated them more positively than those in the $20 group and control group.

  • determinism vs. free choice

  • pessimism vs. optimism

  • causality vs. teleology

  • conscious vs. unconscious determinants of behavior

  • biological vs. social influences on personality

  • uniqueness vs. similarities


Personality assessment
Personality assessment $1 group rated them more positively than those in the $20 group and control group.

  • personality inventories

    • reliability: does it yield consistent result?

    • validity: does it measure what it intends to measure?

      • Construct validity: the extent to which an instrument measures some hypothetical construct such as intelligence, extraversion, etc.

        • Convergent validity

        • Divergent validity

        • Discriminant validity

      • Predictive validity: the extent that a test predicts future.


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