LECTURE OUTLINE 3.2

I. Traditional view of scientific method

A. Extremely objective

B. Define problem, develop hypothesis, test hypothesis, interpret results

C. Other people - some whose views and expectations differ from yours--repeat your study.

D. Eventually, theory is formed.

E. Once formed, theory is continually being tested. If hypothesis from theory is not supported, theory is modified or abandoned.

II. Thomas Kuhn: Conventional idea that science progresses steadily toward a goal is wrong. Instead of continuous evolution of knowledge, we have revolutions, where a new view solves new problems, unsolves old problems. Basic problem is that scientists are human and that the choice of a problem is not totally objective.

A. Paradigms are not totally objective, instead they are:

1. A philosophical view of reality (e.g., is self-esteem important? what about reinforcers?)
This view of reality leads to

2. An assumption of what should be studied and how it should be studied. Paradigm dictates what "acceptable" research is (whether or not internal events, such as thoughts and drives, should be studied depends on the paradigm). By directing what should be studied and how it should be studied, the paradigm leads scientists to:

3. A specific theory of how things happen (Skinner's "theory"of rf, drive theory, etc.

B. During "Normal Science," a paradigm rules and nobody questions the paradigm's assumptions and view of reality. People perceive that great progress is being made (Structuralists in the 1900s, Behaviorists in the 1940s, etc.).

C. However, for a variety of non-scientific reasons, a paradigm may be abandoned and science may revert back to a pre-paradigmatic state: A time when several paradigms are competing for dominance and as a result of this conflict, normal science is not progressing (Behaviorists vs. Cognitive psychologists arguing which approach is better rather than solving the problems that the respective paradigms would like to address).

D. Conflict among paradigms can't be resolved by presenting facts because facts don't exist independently of paradigms. Followers of different paradigms would not see the relevance of each other's facts. (Imagine presenting bar press data to a Humanist or self-concept research to Skinner!)

III. The current state of psychological science


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