Avoiding the Einstein Syndrome: The Importance of Converging Evidence Presented By: Lisa Adkins Nikki McMahon
What is the Einstein Syndrome? • The Breakthrough model of scientific progress: A belief that all problems in Science are solved when a single, crucial experiment completely decides the issue and overturns all previous knowledge (Stanovich,121) • The Connectivity Principle is the way to explain both old and new research, how they connect with each other in order to make scientific advances.
The Consumer’s Rule: Beware of Violations of Connectivity • Consumers can be led to believe that “pseudoscience theories” are credible by accepting the following excuses: • The new theory is unfalsifiable, and the old data on the subject is made to look useless • Dismissing previous data on the subject by declaring it as being irrelevant
Public Misinformation • Unfortunately, the public, being exposed to pseudo-scientific theories, may have the wrong idea of true psychological advances in research. • What happens when the Connectivity Principle is broken? • Ex. Kansas Board of Education (p123)
The Great Leap vs. Gradual Synthesis • The Einstein Syndrome leads people to believe that great leaps in scientific advancement are due to perfectly performed experiments • The reality of Scientific advances lies in “dozens of experiments, each containing flaws but providing some part of the answer”.
Converging Evidence • Strong conclusions are possible only after data from large numbers of studies have been collected and compared
Progression in the Science of Psychology • Psychologists should admit that while the science of Psychology exists and is progressing, the progress is slow, and conclusions sometimes come only after excruciatingly long periods of research and debate.
Media “Breakthroughs” • We should always question media “breakthroughs” in any science, especially anything dealing with psychology.
False Hypotheses • As psychologists, it is important that we do not accept a hypothesis as absolute when the evidence surrounding it is questionable.