There Is Nothing So Theoretical

This article documents two facts that are provocative in juxtaposition. First: There is multidecade durability of theory controversies in psychology, demonstrated here in the subdisciplines of cognitive and social psychology. Second: There is a much greater frequency of Nobel science awards for contributions to method than for contributions to theory, shown here in an analysis of the last two decades of Nobel awards in physics, chemistry, and medicine. The available documentation of Nobel awards reveals two forms of method–theory synergy: (a) existing theories were often essential in enabling development of awarded methods, and (b) award-receiving methods often generated previously inconceivable data, which in turn inspired previously inconceivable theories. It is easy to find illustrations of these same synergies also in psychology. Perhaps greater recognition of the value of method in advancing theory can help to achieve resolutions of psychology’s persistent theory controversies.
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Conjectures and Refutations.K. Popper - 1963 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (3):431-434.
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