Science incorporates the organized research of the framework and behaviour of the physical and also organic people via monitoring and also experiment, and technology is the application of scientific knowledge for helpful functions. Oxford Reference offers more than 210,000 concise meanings and also comprehensive, specialist encyclopedic entries on the wide variety of topics within these wide techniques.

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Our coverage comprises authoritative, extremely easily accessible information on the extremely latest terminology, principles, theories, methods, people, and organizations relating to all areas of scientific research and technology—from astronomy, engineering, physics, computer science, and mathematics, to life and earth sciences, chemisattempt, environmental science, biology, and also psychology. Written by trusted experts for researchers at eextremely level, entries are complemented by illustrative line illustrations, equations, and charts wherever before helpful.

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Sample resources

Learn science and innovation on Oxford Reference through the listed below sample content:

A timeline of life science: from single-celled water creatures to sequencing the huguy genome

Quotations around science and also technology from Oxford Essential Quotations

"The Universal Genetic Code" from A Dictionary of Plant Sciences

A biography of Lise Meitner from The Oxford Encyclopedia of Womales in World History

A list of mathematical icons from The Concise Oxford Thesaurus of Mathematics

"The planets: orbital and physical data" from A Dictionary of Astronomy

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Featured author

Andrew M. Colman


Andrew M. Colguy is the author of A Dictionary of Psychology (4th edn). He is Professor of Psychology at the University of Leicester and also a Other of the British Psychological Society. He graduated through a BA (Hons) and an MA in Psychology from the College of Cape Tvery own and a PhD from Rhodes University. He is an writer of many journal articles and numerous books, consisting of Facts, Fallacies and also Frauds in Psychology, What is Psychology? (third edn), Video Game Theory and its Application in the Social and Biological Sciences (second edn), and also (with Briony D. Pulford), A Crash Course in SPSS for Windows (fourth edn). He edited the two-volume Companion Encyclopedia of Psychology and the 12-volume Longguy Essential Psychology series.

Author Q&A

What is the one term or principle that everyone—from students to daily internet users—have to be familiar with? Why?

I wish that everyone understood the scientific strategy, and also in particular the distinct prominence of the controlled experiment as a method of clinical discovery. Children need to be taught at school what an experiment is and why it is such an effective means of finding out the reality. Psychology provides various research approaches, but the most effective is undoubtedly controlled testing, not because it is more objective or specific than various other methods, but bereason it is uniquely capable of giving evidence of causal impacts.

The specifying functions of an experiment are manipulation of a conjectured causal element, referred to as an independent variable because it is manipulated individually of other variables, and examicountry of the effect of this on a dependent variable, while all at once managing all various other extraneous variables that can otherwise influence the dependent variable. In emotional experiments, extraneous variables can rarely be controlled directly, partially bereason people differ from one another in means that impact their behaviour. You might think it’s impossible to manage for all individual distinctions and various other extraneous variables, but in reality tright here is a remarkable solution to this difficulty.

In 1926, the British statistician Ronald Fisher discovered an effective technique of regulate referred to as randomization. By assigning topics or participants to an experimental group and a control team strictly at random, and also then dealing with the two groups identically apart from the manipulated independent variable (used to the speculative team only), an experimenter can control, at a single stroke, for all individual differences and various other extraneous variables, including ones that no one has also considered. Randomization does not guarantee that the two groups will certainly be identical but quite that any distinctions between the teams will follow exactly the recognized legislations of probcapacity.

This describes the purpose and feature of statistical definition tests in psychology. For any type of oboffered difference, a significance test permits a researcher to calculate the probcapacity that a distinction at least as big as the oboffered difference can happen by chance alone. The researcher then knows what the probcapability is of such a large distinction under the null hypothesis – the functioning hypothesis that the independent variable has actually no effect. If the probcapability under the null hypothesis is sufficiently tiny (by convention, usually less than 5 per cent, frequently created p illusory correlation, even more sceptical about merely anecdotal proof, and also capable of interpreting findings from any type of survey research study, situation examine, correlational examine, observational study, or quasi-experiment through correct caution.

What do you think is the many commonly organized misconception in your topic area?

Although I can’t prove that it’s the a lot of common, the a lot of fashionable misconception is the assumption that phenomena of behaviour and also mental suffer – the subject-issue of psychology – deserve to be interpreted and described solely in terms of neural mechanisms. It is sustained by the significantly renowned doctrine that neuroscientific research have the right to in principle replace conventional psychology, that it is currently replacing traditional psychology, or (in its strongest form) that it has actually already reinserted traditional psychology. This is a debilitating form of reductionism, based on the presumption that behaviour and also psychological experiences are carefully associated through neural procedures, particularly in the brain; but locating a device in the brain does not amount to explaining the linked psychological phenomenon, as I deserve to easily display through a Gedankenexperiment (believed experiment) and also an instance from nature.

First, imagine a super-intelligent alien trying to understand also a working computer busy printing out my Dictionary of Psychology on a laser printer. By simply investigating the physical device of the computer system and the printer, it would never understand what the computer was actually doing; or at least its explacountry would certainly absence what is the majority of important and exciting around the computer’s behaviour.

2nd, purposeful behaviour have the right to occur normally without any kind of involvement of neural mechanisms. For example, the unicellular paramecium, discovered abundantly in stagnant ponds, moves around, stays clear of obstacles by swimming round them, gathers food, and also retreats from risk. It can revolve round in a glass tube to escape, and also it deserve to also learn from experience, although some neuroresearchers unsurprisingly question whether this is true finding out. Yet a paramecium has no nervous system, and its single cell is not also a neuron; therefore, it provides conclusive proof that neuroscience cannot explain all forms of behaviour.

In your opinion, which is the most fascinating entry in your dictionary and why?

Being asked to pick the many fascinating entry is prefer being asked to choose one’s favourite child, and I won’t do it. I discover countless the entries fascinating, yet the enattempt defining heuristic, together with the miscellaneous certain heuristics cross-referenced from it, defines principles that have fascinated others sufficiently to be rewarded with the just 2 Nobel prizes ever awarded for pudepend psychological study. A heuristic is a rough-and-all set procedure or ascendancy of thumb for making a decision, creating a judgement, or fixing a difficulty, and also we all use heuristics all the time. The US researcher Herbert Simon introduced the term in its contemporary psychological sense in 1957 to describe just how human decision equipments through bounded rationality deal with problems when they do not have actually the time or resources to examine all obtainable possibilities thoaround, and also he obtained the initially Nobel Prize for this work-related. Two decades later on, the Israeli-Amerideserve to psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahnemale found and also investigated experimentally a large number of biases in huguy reasoning that can be traced to particular heuristics, and in 2002 Kahneguy was rewarded for this work-related through the second Nobel Prize, Tversky having passed away a few years earlier.

A typical instance is the conjunction fallacy: undergraduate students were shown personality sketches of a hypothetical perboy called Linda (young, single, deeply pertained to around social problems, and also involved in anti-nuclear activity) and asked whether it was even more probable that Linda was a bank teller or that Linda was a financial institution teller that was energetic in the feminist activity. No fewer than 86% of the students judged it even more probable that that Linda was a bank teller that was active in the feminist activity, although the probcapability of a conjunction A and B deserve to never before be greater than the probability of A. The fallacy arises from the usage of the representativeness heuristic, according to which civilization estimate the probability that somepoint belongs to a certain class by judging how typical it is of that course. Since Linda appears more typical of feminist bank tellers than of bank tellers in general, many world loss into the conjunction fallacy in this example.

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Featured blogs

Which mammal are you?July 7th 2016Find out which mammal resembles your personality by taking our quiz.

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A background of the International Space StationFebruary 1sixth 2016We"ve gathered together a brief background of this tremendous feat in human engineering, national politics, and also braexceptionally.

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