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PsychologyOur news, events & seminars

The Idiographic/Nomothetic Divide in Psychology, Universals, and What Should Be in a Cognitive Model Seminar

Time:
16:00 - 17:00
Date:
6 March 2014
Venue:
Psychology Department Room 3095, Building 44 (Shackleton) Highfield Campus Southampton SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Allyson Marchi on 02380 599645 or email A.Marchi@soton.ac.uk .

Event details

There is a century-old fault-line in Psychology – the idiographic/nomothetic divide: typically, we can study a single individual more qualitatively, more subjectively, more holistically, over a longer period or we can study a group of people for a specific behaviour, more objectively, more briefly, more quantitatively and often with some advanced technology.

 

There is a century-old fault-line in Psychology - the idiographic/nomothetic divide: typically, we can study a single individual more qualitatively, more subjectively, more holistically, over a longer period or we can study a group of people for a specific behaviour, more objectively, more briefly, more quantitatively and often with some advanced technology. Interestingly, the development of the nomothetic approach has raised issues relevant to the idiographic approach, in particular the status of pervasive individual variation in cognition.

I will draw on current research on Capgras Syndrome, on eye-movements in reading, and on speech perception to illustrate a neglected way of talking about universals in cognition. I will argue that cognitive models based exclusively on "abstract universals" are inherently limited and need to be complemented by models that contain a "concrete universal" - a material entity that is a universal by virtue of the fact that it mediates everything else in the domain. I will claim that the concrete universal provides us with a means of unifying important aspects of the idiographic and nomothetic approaches.

Speaker information

Dr Richard Shillcock, University of Edinburgh. Dr Shillcock is a Reader at the University of Edinburgh, with a joint appointment in Psychology and Informatics. His interests are in language and cognition

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