After the methods crisis, the theory crisis

This thread started by Ekaterina Damer has prompted many recommendations from psychologists on twitter.

Here are most of the recommendations, with their recommender in brackets. I haven’t read these, but wanted to collate them in one place. Comments are open if you have your own suggestions.

(Iris van Rooij)
“How does it work?” vs. “What are the laws?” Two conceptions of psychological explanation. Robert Cummins

(Ed Orehek)
Theory Construction in Social Personality Psychology: Personal Experiences and Lessons Learned: A Special Issue of Personality and Social Psychology Review

(Djouria Ghilani)
Personal Reflections on Theory and Psychology
Gerd Gigerenzer,

Selected Works of Barry N. Markovsky

(pretty much everyone, but Tal Yarkoni put it like this)
“Meehl said most of what there is to say about this”

  • Theory-testing in psychology and physics: A methodological paradox
  • Appraising and amending theories: The strategy of Lakatosian defense and two principles that warrant it
  • Why summaries of research on psychological theories are often uninterpretable
  • (Which reminds me, PsychBrief has been reading Meehl and provides extensive summaries here: Paul Meehl on philosophy of science: video lectures and papers)

    (Burak Tunca)
    What Theory is Not by Robert I. Sutton & Barry M. Staw

    (Joshua Skewes)
    Valerie Gray Hardcastle’s “How to build a theory in cognitive science”.

    (Randy McCarthy)
    Chapter 1 of Gawronski, B., & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2015). Theory and explanation in social psychology. Guilford Publications.

    (Kimberly Quinn)
    McGuire, W. J. (1997). Creative hypothesis generating in psychology: Some useful heuristics. Annual review of psychology, 48(1), 1-30.

    (Daniël Lakens)
    Jaccard, J., & Jacoby, J. (2010). Theory Construction and Model-building Skills: A Practical Guide for Social Scientists. Guilford Press.

    Fiedler, K. (2004). Tools, toys, truisms, and theories: Some thoughts on the creative cycle of theory formation. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8(2), 123–131.

    (Tom Stafford)
    Roberts and Pashler (2000). How persuasive is a good fit? A comment on theory testing

    From the discussion it is clear that the theory crisis will be every bit as rich and full of dissent as the methods crisis.

    Updates 16 August 2018

    (Richard Prather)
    Simmering et al (2010). To Model or Not to Model? A Dialogue on the Role of Computational Modeling in Developmental Science

    (Brett Buttliere: we made a Facebook group to talk about theory)
    Psychological Theory Discussion Group

    (Eric Morris)
    Wilson, K. G. (2001). Some notes on theoretical constructs: types and validation from a contextual behavioral perspective

    (Michael P. Grosz)
    Theoretical Amnesia by Denny Borsboom

    (Ivan Grahek)
    Fiedler (2017). What Constitutes Strong Psychological Science? The (Neglected) Role of Diagnosticity and A Priori Theorizing

    (Iris van Rooij)
    More suggestions in these two theads (one, two)

    2 thoughts on “After the methods crisis, the theory crisis”

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