[From Bill Powers (980102.1248 MST)]
Here are the facts about human behavior listed in Science News' year-end
issue as the ten highlight findings of 1997:
1. ... disturbingly high numbers of [Navy] volunteers had experienced or
committed acts of physical or sexual abuse in the past.
2. A section of the X chromosomes may contain a gene that affects social
3. A severe form of grief increase the likelihood of devloping a host of
physical and mental ailments.
4. Even in the poorest neighborhoods, crime rates fall if residents share a
sense of mutual trust, unity, and public duty.
5. Elderly spouses remember as much as or more than young married couples
when allowed to collaborate during story recall ...
6. A community study uncovered critical influences on the development of
bulimia in young women ...
7. Preschoolers develop a sense of right and wrong in different ways,
depending on the fit between their temperaments and their parents'
8. New evidence reveals that schizophrenia involves a prolonged process of
derailed brain development ... that undermines working memory...
9. General reasoning skills inculcated by ultraorthodox Jewish schools in
Israel prepare students to solve tricky geometry problems better than do
mathematics and science classes in Israel's mainstream schools.
10. ... by 8 months of age, babies detect statistical regularities in
speech that may help them learn a native language.
Are any of these facts in the classes that (by Martin Taylor's suggestion)
can reasonably be retained as probably true of all human beings, or that
should be studied with PCT methods to check them out further? Do any of
them pass through my sieve that requires facts to be true in a very high
proportion of individual cases?
If not, then it would seem that according to Science News, none of the top
findings of psychology in 1997 would be retained as usable facts.
I'm sure that other lists might fare differently; this just happens to be
the only one I have immediately at hand. Any other year-end lists
concerning the accomplishments of psychology in 1997?
One thing to keep in mind is that it's very hard to formulate any model of
behavioral organization that would predict a behavior in, say, 75% of a
population, while also predicting its absence in the other 25%.