Rules/Slogans/Take-Home Lessons From Chapter 1

  1. As Richard Feynman said, "the easiest person to fool is yourself." Therefore,
    1. Be objective: That is, stick to what others can see, and don't fool yourself into thinking you are seeing what's there when you are really reading into the situation.
    2. Make your methods, findings, and reasoning public, so others can check your work.
    3. Be humble, so ask: Could I be wrong?
  2. There are (general) rules--patterns--that we can find by connecting the dots, but
  3. because there are many exceptions to general rules
    1. We need more than one dot to connect the dots to see the pattern;
    2. Even several dots may not show the true pattern;
    3. Stray dots--exceptions/outliers--do not disprove the general rule.
  4. Science involves making statements that can be disproven, testing those statements, and then admitting being wrong so mistakes can be corrected.
    1. The key to making testable statements is to make specific predictions (As Neil Bohr joked, "Prediction is difficult, especially about the future.")
    2. The key to testing those specific predictions is to define your terms using  operational definitions.
  5. By asking questions such as "what does the objective evidence say?", and "Could the evidence be interpreted differently?",  you can be skeptical without being cynical and be open-minded without being gullible. 
  6. Contrary to what television detectives say, there is such a thing as coincidence.
  7. In science, there is never proof --only disproof : One contradictory fact can discredit a rule based on a mountain of supportive evidence.
  8. Psychology has adopted the characteristics of science because science is the best way to understand objective reality.
  9. Operational definitions provide a bridge between objective reality and invisible, subjective psychological constructs.
  10. Science is our best system for containing human biases, but it is not perfect.

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