Plasticity In Psychology

Decent Essays
Science is characterised by distinctive methods of enquiry and construction of theories (2). Philosophy of science is tasked with analysing the processes employed by scientists and uncovering the assumptions implicit in scientific practice (2, 12). According to Karl Popper a scientific theory ought to be falsifiable; otherwise it is merely pseudo-science (13). Scientists arrive at a set of beliefs by a process of inference (which is more often than not influenced by researcher bias). That is, deductive and inductive patterns of reasoning are used to provide a defensible explanation of the process generating the observed pattern of interest (18-23). Thomas Kuhn suggested that scientific concepts are largely influenced by the paradigms (set of…show more content…
Pattern of interest: sables are declining in some areas and not others, despite conservation efforts. Question: Why are they declining? Potential explanations: 1) low forage availability; 2) increased water stress; and 3) increased heat load. Predictions: in the dry season: 1) individuals will display phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental conditions; 2) amplitude of core body temperature will be large (display heterothermy); 3) sable will display behavioural thermoregulation (e.g. solar radiation orientation behaviour); 4) microclimate selection, energy and activity budgets will be altered; 5) movement across the landscape will increase in search of water and forage. Test: gather evidence (internal temperature loggers, GPS collars etc.). Non-deductive inference (induction and inference to the best explanation (19-22, 29-33)) will likely play a bigger role in my investigation. My predictions are largely based on evidence/data gathered from other artiodactyls exposed to similar conditions (assuming uniformity of nature; Hume’s Problem,…show more content…
Paradigms likely to influence my inferences, particularly with respect to artiodactyls, include: thermoregulatory behaviour, endothermy, homeothermy, heterothermy, adaptive heterothermy and heterothermy induced by water and/or energy stress. Competing paradigms of heterothermy (adaptive vs. stress induced) are particularly pertinent and continue to be debated (testing the paradigm and Kuhn’s period of ‘revolutionary science’ (82)). No neutral evidence exists to compare these paradigms (cf. positivism, (80)), however they are not entirely incommensurable (Kuhn’s incommensurability, (85-87)). In addition, although each paradigm possesses its own supporting evidence (albeit it being paradigm-relative (84, 88)); limited data and evidence exists to judge, compare and choose between the two paradigms (Kuhn’s theory-ladenness of data (88)). In anticipation of my findings, I am aware that I am more aligned to the paradigm of water and/or energy induced heterothermy and will remain conscious of this throughout my method of enquiry, evidence analyses and scientific
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