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Limits of Scientific Psychology

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Read Chapter 1, p. 5 (I have uploaded it)

Read Chapter 4, p. 127 (I have uploaded it)

Respond to all the questions in 175+ words (total for all 3 items).

  1. What could researchers do differently to make sure that psychological studies better represent you and the entire population? Answer according to Video: Limits of Scientific Psychology
  2. What do you consider to be the key traits and characteristics of your personality? (Ch. 1, p. 5) 
  3. Would Jung describe your attitude as more introverted or extraverted? Explain. (Ch. 4, p. 127) *How you answer this question will reveal if you actually read the designated textbook section.

Theory Defined

A scientific theory is a set of related assumptions that allows scientists to use logical deductive reasoning to formulate testable hypotheses. This definition needs further explanation. First, a theory is a set of assumptions. A single assumption can never fulfill all the requirements of an adequate theory. A single assumption, for example, could not serve to integrate several observations, something a useful theory should do. Second, a theory is a set of related assumptions. Isolated assumptions can neither generate meaningful hypotheses nor possess internal consistency—the two criteria of a useful theory. The third key word in the definition is assumptions. The components of a theory are not proven facts in the sense that their validity has been absolutely established. They are, however, accepted as if they were true. This is a practical step, taken so that scientists can conduct useful research, the results of which continue to build and reshape the original theory. Fourth, logical deductive reasoning is used by the researcher to formulate hypotheses. The tenets of a theory must be stated with sufficient precision and logical consistency to permit scientists to deduce clearly stated hypotheses. The hypotheses are not components of the theory, but flow from it. It is the job of an imaginative scientist to begin with the general theory and, through deductive reasoning, arrive at a particular hypothesis that can be tested. If the general theoretical propositions are illogical, they remain sterile and incapable of generating hypotheses. Moreover, if a researcher uses faulty logic in deducing hypotheses, the resulting research will be meaningless and will make no contribution to the ongoing process of theory construction. The final part of the definition includes the qualifier testable. Unless a hypothesis can be tested in some way, it is worthless. The hypothesis need not be tested immediately, but it must suggest the possibility that scientists in the future might develop the necessary means to test it.

Theory and Its Relatives

People sometimes confuse theory with philosophy, or speculation, or hypothesis, or taxonomy. Although theory is related to each of these concepts, it is not the same as any of them.

Jung used the term feeling to describe the process of evaluating an idea or an event. Perhaps a more accurate word would be valuing, a term less likely to be confused with either sensing or intuiting. For example, when people say, “This surface feels smooth,” they are using their sensing function, and when they say, “I have a feeling that this will be my lucky day,” they are intuiting, not feeling. The feeling function should be distinguished from emotion. Feeling is the evaluation of every conscious activity, even those valued as indifferent. Most of these evaluations have no emotional content, but they are capable of becoming emotions if their intensity increases to the point of stimulating physiological changes within the person. Emotions, however, are not limited to feelings; any of the four functions can lead to emotion when their strength is increased. Extraverted feeling people use objective data to make evaluations. They are not guided so much by their subjective opinion, but by external values and widely accepted standards of judgment. They are likely to be at ease in social situations, knowing on the spur of the moment what to say and how to say it. They are usually well liked because of their sociability, but in their quest to conform to social standards, they may appear artificial, shallow, and unreliable. Their value judgments will have an easily detectable false ring. Extraverted feeling people often become businesspeople or politicians because these professions demand and reward the making of value judgments based on objective information (Jung, 1921/1971). Introverted feeling people base their value judgments primarily on subjective perceptions rather than objective facts. Critics of the various art forms make much use of introverted feeling, making value judgments on the basis of subjective individualized data. These people have an individualized conscience, a taciturn demeanor, and an unfathomable psyche. They ignore traditional opinions and beliefs, and their nearly complete indifference to the objective world (including people) often causes persons around them to feel uncomfortable and to cool their attitude toward them (Jung, 1921/1971).

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