Good Knowledge And Scientific Methods Essay Example
Critical thinking enables us to investigate phenomena and analyze claims. Of course, these claims need to have a persuasive voice, hence the need for evidences and data from research and experiments. In addition, scientific claims are subjected to scientific thinking defined by Lilienfeld (2011) to exhibit six principles. With this, the six principles of scientific thinking will be briefly discussed together with analyses of two examples of studies in psychology regarding the application of the six principles.
The Six Principles of Scientific Thinking
The first principle, "Ruling out Rival Hypotheses", is an approach used to eliminate some explanations among a list of explanations. With this manner, the researcher must examine and consider all the possibilities. Failure to test other plausible ideas may result to a flawed analysis.
The second principle argues that two correlated events does not imply causation. In other words, the correlation of two events does not mean one must have caused the other because there is a chance that a third variable may be missing from the equation. This third variable may be causing the correlation of the two.
The next principle declares that in order to accept a claim, it must be disproven, or in other terms, it must be falsifiable. A falsifiable theory does not mean that it is false. A theory that is not falsifiable is not testable, however, a falsifiable theory predicts certain outcomes only.
The fourth principle states that in order for a claim to be accepted, the results or findings must be consistent with all replicate studies. In the case where a study is based from another study but involved a minor deviation, the findings of both must still be observed to be congruent with each other. Thus, if the findings of all replicate studies point opposite to the findings of the initial study, then the claim of the initial study must be flawed, or the research or experiment must be improperly performed.
The fifth principle associates the evidence to the claim by stating that the level of contradiction of a claim to "what we already know" requires a corresponding level of evidences.
Finally, Occam's Razor, the sixth principle, pertains to the idea that if two or more explanations can account for all the evidences or data, the generally accepted explanation is the logically simplest from them. This does not mean that the complex explanations are not always correct, but Occam's Razor is more of a guideline.
Analysis of Two Claims
These six principles could be applied to all studies to analyze how well the research is, or how true the findings are. Moreover, these principles could act as guidelines for researchers in order to evaluate claims more conveniently while reducing the chances of resulting to erroneous findings. With this light, two journal articles entitled "Brain's iconic seat of speech goes silent when we actually talk" and "Experimenting preteens may have different brain processes" will be analyzed regarding the six principles of scientific thinking.
The journal article entitled "Experimenting preteens may have different brain processes" argues that the brain activity of preteens who experiment or explore new things more differs from those who do not. The study was performed by involving 62 female individuals of ages 11 to 13 to complete a reward-based task. The 62 individuals were split into two groups: the "explorers" and the "non-explorers". The researchers analyzed the brain activities of the "explorers" group and compared them with the brain activities of the control group who are the "non-explorers". The study found out that there exists a difference in the brain activities between the two groups (American Academy of Neurology, 2015).
First, the study, as the article claimed, involved one reward-based task and that the groups were divided into two groups only, namely the "explorers" and the "non-explorers". The study design poses a question whether the result will be different if the study was designed to involve various groups tasks, such as tasks that are "new and fun", "new but not fun", "old but fun" and "old and not fun". Indeed, the claim is falsifiable, and the whether the findings are replicable rests on the results of the abovementioned proposal.
The second journal article entitled "Brain's iconic seat of speech goes silent when we actually talk" states that the Broca's Area, the area in the brain associated with speech, actually shuts down while talking out loud. The study analyzed the brain's speech regions and found out that the Broca's Area, thought to be governing all aspects of speech, switches off while talking. However, this area may remain active for planning future words and sentences, but shuts down during the interval of verbal delivery (University of California – Berkeley, 2015).
The findings of the study can be considered "contradicting what we already know" about the brain activity during speech. Throughout history, the Broca's Area is being acknowledges as the brain's speech area. However, this study provides persuasive evidences that points out that the Broca's area shuts down during the actual speech. Thus, the fifth principle is being epitomized by this study.
American Academy of Neurology (AAN). (2015, February 23). Experimenting preteens may have different brain processes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150223083911.htm
Lilienfeld, Lynn & Wooly, Namy. (2011). Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson.