TLPS - Table 1 Good Theories

Posted December 13, 2017

Table 1 shows 5 distinct features of good scientific theories and beside each is a short definition and example. These include 1) Accuracy, which is the idea that scientific explanations and theories reflect real world observations. For example, when people speak about relationships they often say “opposites attract.” Theories that focus on partner similarity, however, do a better job of explaining the observed data. 2) Consistency, which is the idea that a good theory has few exceptions, and matches well with other theories, including those from other disciplines. For example, scientists find that humans are better able to solve problems when they are presented in concrete rather than abstract terms. This is psychological theory is consistent with theories in evolution and biology. 3) Scope, which is the extent to which a theory explains a wide range of data or offers explanations that extend even beyond observed data. For example, people naturally use mental shortcuts as a means of reducing the load of thinking. This theory accurately predicts findings in consumer behavior, charitable donations, and relationship decisions. 4) Simplicity, which is the idea that when multiple explanations are available, the simplest is usually the best. For example, there are many possibilities to explain why good people sometimes do bad things. The simplest is that they are influenced by external forces. 5) Fruitful, which is the idea that a theory is useful in guiding new research or offering testable questions. For example, the theory that competition leads to better performance can be tested across many situations involving age, culture, and types of behavior such as athletics, academics, and work performance.