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How to Think Like a Scientist

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-the-next-einstein/201307/how-think-scientist

psychologytoday.com

How to Think Like a Scientist
Have you ever wondered how a scientist makes discoveries? Linda Gottfredson, a professor at the University of Delaware, shared the techniques she uses in her article Pursuing Patterns, Puzzles, and Paradoxes .

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Pursue what appears to be a paradox

Pursue what appears to be a paradox

It will force you to reexamine the full body of evidence with new eyes.

Seeking relevant knowledge in unfamiliar disciplines increases the odds of serendipitous insights and allows novel empirical patterns to emerge.

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Spot contradictions and novel patterns

Go on cross-disciplinary research expeditions.

By reading and translating the literature in fields outside your own, the full body of evidence surrounding a problem become apparent. 

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Focus on data and methods

Ignore the author’s conclusions.

When you are doing cross-disciplinary research what really matters is the structure of the full body of evidence rather than any authors’ particular interpretation of their data in one paper, which is often biased. 

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Don’t rely on fancy statistics

Don’t rely on fancy statistics

They can obscure the structure of evidence.

Remain skeptical of all statistical and mathematical modeling procedures that pre-process evidence while leaving little trace of its original structure.  

Start out close to the data by scrutinizing frequency distributions, means, standard deviations, how variables are actually measured, degree of measurement error, zero-order correlations, and sample composition.

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There is no single formula

Be open to have your basic presumptions shattered.

Strategies for solving scientific mysteries:  

  • pin down why perspectives on them differ and what each has to offer
  • try to locate the essential core of available evidence
  • not put much stock in any single study or piece of evidence
  • watch for recurring patterns in the most reliable data
  • think through likely counterarguments
  • and look hard for holes in my evidence and logic.  

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Statistics Inaccuracies

Most studies that involve statistical research remain largely inaccurate, and a large number of hypotheses use data samples which are inadequate.

Beliefs and Statistics

  • Researchers extract a lot of false certainty from data which is used to study a particular hypothesis, due to their myopic thinking, confirmation bias, and other cognitive assumptions that they aren't even aware of.
  • Many researchers believe in small samples of data as if they stand for the whole of the population, and this can lead to unpredictable consequences.

The Eye Poster Experiment

It points out our irrational bias and behavior towards our surroundings. How people succumb to irrational beliefs was demonstrated in an experiment at a University Kitchen.

It found out that if there was a poster with eyes put up near the kitchen counter, then people were more likely to pay for the food, subconsciously taking those eyes in the poster as someone looking at them.

one more idea

The Way Therapy Works

There is growing research on how therapy actually works. Psychological communication, dialogue, and intervention can work even better than pills.
This seems eve...

Therapy Techniques

  • Some therapists are just there to listen and provide a backdrop.
  • Even the silence that they exhibit seems to kindle the patients into divulging more of their most uncomfortable truths.
  • Others keep the sequence of assignments and tests lined up, never pausing.
  • Therapists play varied roles to get some valuable information out of the patient and make him better.

Therapy That Works

No particular form of therapy is proven to be better or more effective than others.

Different people prefer or respond to different forms of therapy.

Early History

The connection between genius and possible insanity was first documented in 1891 in the Italian physicians’ book The Man Of Genius.

In 1869, this was taken up by the cousin of Charles Darwi...

Genius and Heredity

In a 1904 study by English physician Havelock Ellis, a list was made of 1030 individuals through extensive research, examining thoroughly the intellectual distinction people had by the various factors like heredity, general health, and social class.


These works established that genius minds are often hereditary.

Genetic Studies Of Genius

A body of work of Stanford psychologist Lewis M. Terman, was an in-depth multi-decade study of gifted individuals, and an attempt to improve the measurement of genius and its association with the degradation of mental stability. This also included an enhanced version of the French IQ (Intelligence Quotient) test.