Psychology is the study of the mind, behavior and brain scientifically. Psychology brings out varies levels analysis, from to complex social and cultural influences, as well as from the brain to mind. Therefore, psychology is used throughout human life and cannot be exempted in any way. For that reason, psychologists are able to predict the natural behaviors of humans based on their daily activities. In order to study these behaviors, scientists have to come up with ways in which the analyses can be done. This has led to the creation of six scientific thinking principles that have been set to evaluate all claims in a careful fashion and an open mind.
The six principles of thinking include ruling over rival hypothesis. This principle is used to evaluate a psychological claim. Therefore, when an evaluation has done it must be established whether other possibilities have been ruled out (Lilienfeld, 2010). Secondly, there is correlation versus causation where scientists have established that when two things are associated with each other it does not mean that thing has caused the other to happen. Therefore, correlation is not causation. Thirdly, there is falsifiability, which can be explained as the capability of being disproved. This means that claims brought forward must be proven wrong or can be proven wrong. Reliability means that claims can be tested or replicated again. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence is another scientific principle that is used in scientific thinking. This is to mean that when there are large amounts of evidence must be placed with huge claims. Lastly, Occam’s razor states that some claims have to be explained in a complicated or a hard way instead of a simple explanation.
The importance of the six principles is that they applied in the claims that different individuals bring to the psychologists. The principles prove that some statistics and studies threaten humans believes are reasoned out scientifically are just pseudoscience. Apart from their use in the scientific world, they are also important in the real world and can be used to reason out scenarios that are not necessarily scientific. By so doing, they can help individuals in avoiding unwanted biases and prejudices as well as helping others evaluate their beliefs. For instance, in the principle of correlation versus causation, a person can easily know that two variables can be related, but cannot cause effects on the other. A third variable can be introduced to cause the claim.
Various examples of claims can be used to illustrate how the six scientific thinking principles can be used. For example, in a courtroom the prosecutor can claim that the defendant or the accused person is guilty of the crime they are being accused of doing. In this form of claim, the prosecutor has to come up with strong evidence to support it (Coon, Mitterer, & Vanchella, 2010). This example relates to the extraordinary principle, which states that the evidence produced should be stronger than the huge claim. The burden to come up with strong evidence is left to the prosecutor to prove that the defendant is guilty.
The second example is the Newton’s theory of gravity, which was accepted worldwide with experiments as the truth. This is because objects cannot just float randomly from the earth. This theory was possible as it related to the experiments and research that had been done on the claim, which had also been subject to testing. However, the Einstein’s Theory brought about other claims that were far from what had been established in the Newton's theory. Therefore, Einstein’s theory makes falsifiable guesses. However, it holds some truth in some settings or conditions in which the Newton’s theory holds in this case when it comes to the Occam’s Razor Einstein’s theory is preferred to the Newton's theory. When it comes to simpler explanations Newton’s theory is more useful.
Thirdly, a person may say that just because there is sunlight and the weather is hot there will be many people on the beach who are basking. This may not be necessarily true as one thing may not be related to the other (Lilienfeld, 2014). Maybe the reason why people are out is that it is a weekend and people want to be outdoors. Therefore, the sun does not have anything to do with why there are many people on the beach. This claim is based on correlation versus causation theory, which states that one element does not lead to the happening of the other and a third party may be the cause.
In conclusion, the six principles of scientific thinking are necessary not only in psychology, but in the daily lives of humans as they are able to argue what they are being told and defend what they believe is not true. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the principles, even when one does not use them in a scientific way. Having and understanding the principles in daily life is necessary, for instance, the correlation versus causation principle.
Coon, D., Mitterer, J. O., Talbot, S., & Vanchella, C. M. (2010). Introduction to psychology: Gateways to mind and behavior. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Lilienfeld, S. O. (2010). Psychology: A framework for everyday thinking. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
Lilienfeld, S. O. (2014). Psychology: From inquiry to understanding. New York, NY: Harper and Row