Can someone help me analyze this article?

Can someone help me analyze this article?

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I need to read this article - "Beyond the rainbow" by Marie-Claire Koschowitz et al., for an exam.

Following are some questions for which I could not figure the answer out after reading.

1) Why does this miniaturization necessitates insulation ? Following is quote from article: "For fast-growing, presumably warm- blooded animals , such miniaturization would only have been possible with sufficient body insulation. "

2) Dinosaurs suppose to have tetrachromacy. The article mentions "dinosaurs were endowed with the highly differentiated color vision of birds". Does this mean Dinosaur's "inherited" their tetrachromacy from birds ? Why does the article mention reptiles before that ? Are birds reptiles ?

3) The article starts talking about how mammals develop fur and lost their highly differentiated color vision because they gave up structural color signaling. What is the direct connection between mammals and the dinosaurs ? I don't see the parallel here… why bring the mammals into the discussion ?

4) What is the connection between pennaceous feather and planar feathers ?

Any or all questions answered is welcome ! Thanks !

I will answer the questions one by one-

  • Why does this miniaturization necessitates insulation ? An organism's volume determines the total amount of heat that can be stored. The loss (exchange) of heat between the body and external environment mainly occurs on the skin's surface. Hence, body volume determines how much heat is stored, while body surface determines how fast that heat is dissipated to the environment. Volume increases with a power of three with radius, while surface increases with a power of two. Hence, smaller animals have large surface-to-volume ratios, which decreases rapidly with body size. Hence, small animals will dissipate relatively more heat per unit of time.

  • Dinosaurs suppose to have tetrachromacy. The article mentions "dinosaurs were endowed with the highly differentiated color vision of birds". Does this mean Dinosaur's "inherited" their tetrachromacy from birds ? No, birds are the closest living relatives to dinosaurs, and birds can be said to have inherited tetrachromacy from dinosaurs - see the cladogram below.

  • Why does the article mention reptiles before that ? Are birds reptiles ? Birds are not reptiles, they are separate classes within the animal kingdom.

  • What is the direct connection between mammals and the dinosaurs ?… why bring the mammals into the discussion ? Here below is another cladogram; there is no obvious, direct (evolutionary) connection between dinosaurs and mammals. The thing is that dinosaurs ruled the world before the last mass extinction, thereafter it were the mammals. That's why the authors discuss them both, I guess. Especially since we are mammals it may make sense to draw parallels.

  • What is the connection between pennaceous feather and planar feathers As far as I could track the two down, they are the same (Prum, 2006)

Lastly, in response to your original question, before edits: Here is a link with a plain-English popular-scientific web article published online by the first author.

The Nature of Clinical Depression: Symptoms, Syndromes, and Behavior Analysis

In this article we discuss the traditional behavioral models of depression and some of the challenges analyzing a phenomenon with such complex and varied features. We present the traditional model and suggest that it does not capture the complexity of the phenomenon, nor do syndromal models of depression that dominate the mainstream conceptualization of depression. Instead, we emphasize ideographic analysis and present depression as a maladaptive dysregulation of an ultimately adaptive elicited emotional response. We emphasize environmental factors, specifically aversive control and private verbal events, in terms of relational frame theory, that may transform an adaptive response into a maladaptive disorder. We consider the role of negative thought processes and rumination, common and debilitating aspects of depression that have traditionally been neglected by behavior analysts.

As the field of clinical behavior analysis grows, it will benefit from analyses of increasingly complex and common clinical phenomena, especially those with significant public health implications. One such phenomenon is clinical depression, considered to be the 𠇌ommon cold” of outpatient populations. Up to 25 million people in the United States alone meet criteria for some type of depressive disorder in a given year (M. B. Keller, 1994). Depressive disorders also result in considerable financial expenditure including time spent away from the workplace and an increase in health care costs. Based on broad measures that include work absenteeism, treatment costs, and other factors, the annual economic cost of depressive disorders in the United States may be over ⑀ billion (Antonouccio, Thomas, & Danton, 1997). Suicide is the ultimate cost.

Perhaps nowhere in clinical psychology is the medicalization of behavioral problems more complete than with depression. Depression is largely seen by the general public and mainstream media as a neuropsychiatric illness (e.g., Wingert & Kantrowitz, 2002) with a fluctuating course that is best described in disease-state terms such as disorder, episodes, remission, recovery, relapse, and recurrence (Frank et al., 1991). An additional assumption is that this disorder may be diagnosed and labeled using the symptom checklists of the standard diagnostic system, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR American Psychiatric Association, 2000). The basic ontological assumption is that depression is an illness that occurs episodically and can be described adequately in medical terms. Thus, more depression is treated in primary care than in any other mental health or health care setting (Kessler, McGonagle, Swartz, Blazer, & Nelson, 2003 Shapiro, 1984), and guidelines for treatment in these settings recommend antidepressant treatment without specialty referral unless the patient has complicating factors such as comorbid substance use or suicide risk (Schulberg, Katon, Simon, & Rush, 1998). Even in these cases, specialty referral is first to psychiatry for medication management, and only a small number of individuals diagnosed with depression will be seen by a clinical psychologist, much less a behaviorally oriented practitioner.

A hallmark of behavior analysis has been its condemnation of the misappropriation of lay terms as scientific, technical terms (e.g., Skinner, 1945). The first task is precise specification of the behavioral phenomena invoked by the term. There are several obstacles to achieving this precision with the term depression, which have been excellently presented for the term anxiety by Friman, Hayes, and Wilson (1998). The case for depression is quite similar. First, the term depression was never meant as a technical term and actually has a metaphorical, idiomatic basis. Second, our psychiatric nomenclature and mainstream usage of the term suggest that depression is an empirical phenomenon with an essential composition. To a behavior analyst, the term depression is not a technical term, does not precisely map onto any empirical or behavioral phenomena, and has no essential composition. Thus, given the exhaustive medicalization of the phenomenon of depression, there exists an immense gap between a behavioral analysis of depression and mainstream usage of it as a medical term with its various associations and meanings.

Behavior-analytic writings on clinical depression (e.g., Dougher & Hackbert, 1994, 2000 Ferster, 1973 Lewinsohn, 1974 see Eifert, Beach, & Wilson, 1998, for an alternative, paradigmatic behavioral model) have been illuminative but sparse. Although research on depression has outpaced research on virtually every other disorder by psychiatric and cognitive-behavioral researchers, behavior analysts have been alarmingly silent. There are undoubtedly many reasons for this silence (e.g., a lack of training programs that focus on behavior analysis and traditional psychopathology and more reinforcement for studying familiar topics). More relevant to the current paper is the possibility that the exhaustive medicalization of the term the wealth of non-behavior-analytic research data on biology and genetics, personality, and cognitive factors and the emphasis on private events in depression—on how depression feels and on changing that feeling—may function to evoke avoidance in behavior analysts.

This is unfortunate, because behavior analysis can not only provide an integrative view of depression, taking into consideration genetics, biology, enduring patterns of responding labeled personality, verbal (𠇌ognitive”) behavior, and private events, but it can do so with a theoretical consistency and pragmatic utility unmatched by other theoretical systems. In this paper we attempt to start at the beginning, with a discussion of what depression is to a behavior analyst and how this contrasts with mainstream usage of the term as a medical syndrome. We review the traditional operant model of depression that emphasized reductions in behavior as a response to environmental events. We then tackle several areas of inquiry important to an understanding of depression that have traditionally been neglected by behavior analysts, including private events and the role of verbal behavior in depression. We see this not as completing a behavioral analysis but as a reminder of the importance of idiographic, functional analyses of specific individuals for this complex phenomenon.

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The exercise effect

Evidence is mounting for the benefits of exercise, yet psychologists don’t often use exercise as part of their treatment arsenal. Here’s more research on why they should.

December 2011, Vol 42, No. 11

When Jennifer Carter, PhD, counsels patients, she often suggests they walk as they talk. "I work on a beautiful wooded campus," says the counseling and sport psychologist at the Center for Balanced Living in Ohio.

Strolling through a therapy session often helps patients relax and open up, she finds. But that's not the only benefit. As immediate past president of APA's Div. 47 (Exercise and Sport Psychology), she's well aware of the mental health benefits of moving your muscles. "I often recommend exercise for my psychotherapy clients, particularly for those who are anxious or depressed," she says.

Unfortunately, graduate training programs rarely teach students how to help patients modify their exercise behavior, Carter says, and many psychologists aren't taking the reins on their own. "I think clinical and counseling psychologists could do a better job of incorporating exercise into treatment," she says.

"Exercise is something that psychologists have been very slow to attend to," agrees Michael Otto, PhD, a professor of psychology at Boston University. "People know that exercise helps physical outcomes. There is much less awareness of mental health outcomes — and much, much less ability to translate this awareness into exercise action."

Researchers are still working out the details of that action: how much exercise is needed, what mechanisms are behind the boost exercise brings, and why — despite all the benefits of physical activity — it's so hard to go for that morning jog. But as evidence piles up, the exercise-mental health connection is becoming impossible to ignore.

Mood enhancement

If you've ever gone for a run after a stressful day, chances are you felt better afterward. "The link between exercise and mood is pretty strong," Otto says. "Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect."

But the effects of physical activity extend beyond the short-term. Research shows that exercise can also help alleviate long-term depression.

Some of the evidence for that comes from broad, population-based correlation studies. "There's good epidemiological data to suggest that active people are less depressed than inactive people. And people who were active and stopped tend to be more depressed than those who maintain or initiate an exercise program," says James Blumenthal, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Duke University.

The evidence comes from experimental studies as well. Blumenthal has explored the mood-exercise connection through a series of randomized controlled trials. In one such study, he and his colleagues assigned sedentary adults with major depressive disorder to one of four groups: supervised exercise, home-based exercise, antidepressant therapy or a placebo pill. After four months of treatment, Blumenthal found, patients in the exercise and antidepressant groups had higher rates of remission than did the patients on the placebo. Exercise, he concluded, was generally comparable to antidepressants for patients with major depressive disorder (Psychosomatic Medicine, 2007).

Blumenthal followed up with the patients one year later. The type of treatment they received during the four-month trial didn't predict remission a year later, he found. However, subjects who reported regular exercise at the one-year follow-up had lower depression scores than did their less active counterparts (Psychosomatic Medicine, 2010). "Exercise seems not only important for treating depression, but also in preventing relapse," he says.

Certainly, there are methodological challenges to researching the effects of exercise, from the identification of appropriate comparison groups to the limitations of self-reporting. Despite these challenges, a compelling body of evidence has emerged. In 2006, Otto and colleagues reviewed 11 studies investigating the effects of exercise on mental health. They determined that exercise could be a powerful intervention for clinical depression (Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 2006). Based on those findings, they concluded, clinicians should consider adding exercise to the treatment plans for their depressed patients.

Mary de Groot, PhD, a psychologist in the department of medicine at Indiana University, is taking the research one step further, investigating the role exercise can play in a particular subset of depressed patients: those with diabetes. It's a significant problem, she says. "Rates of clinically significant depressive symptoms and diagnoses of major depressive disorder are higher among adults with diabetes than in the general population," she says. And among diabetics, she adds, depression is often harder to treat and more likely to recur. The association runs both ways. People with diabetes are more likely to develop depression, and people with depression are also more likely to develop diabetes. "A number of studies show people with both disorders are at greater risk for mortality than are people with either disorder alone," she says.

Since diabetes and obesity go hand-in-hand, it seemed logical to de Groot that exercise could effectively treat both conditions. When she reviewed the literature, she was surprised to find the topic hadn't been researched. So, she launched a pilot project in which adults with diabetes and depression undertook a 12-week exercise and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention program (Diabetes, 2009). Immediately following the program, the participants who exercised showed improvements both in depression and in levels of A1C, a blood marker that reflects blood-sugar control, compared with those in a control group. She's now undertaking a larger study to further explore exercise and CBT, both alone and in combination, for treating diabetes-related depression.


Researchers have also explored exercise as a tool for treating — and perhaps preventing — anxiety. When we're spooked or threatened, our nervous systems jump into action, setting off a cascade of reactions such as sweating, dizziness, and a racing heart. People with heightened sensitivity to anxiety respond to those sensations with fear. They're also more likely to develop panic disorder down the road, says Jasper Smits, PhD, Co-Director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and co-author, with Otto, of the 2011 book " Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-being ."

Smits and Otto reasoned that regular workouts might help people prone to anxiety become less likely to panic when they experience those fight-or-flight sensations. After all, the body produces many of the same physical reactions — heavy perspiration, increased heart rate — in response to exercise. They tested their theory among 60 volunteers with heightened sensitivity to anxiety. Subjects who participated in a two-week exercise program showed significant improvements in anxiety sensitivity compared with a control group (Depression and Anxiety, 2008). "Exercise in many ways is like exposure treatment," says Smits. "People learn to associate the symptoms with safety instead of danger."

In another study, Smits and his colleagues asked volunteers with varying levels of anxiety sensitivity to undergo a carbon-dioxide challenge test, in which they breathed CO2-enriched air. The test often triggers the same symptoms one might experience during a panic attack: increased heart and respiratory rates, dry mouth and dizziness. Unsurprisingly, people with high anxiety sensitivity were more likely to panic in response to the test. But Smits discovered that people with high anxiety sensitivity who also reported high activity levels were less likely to panic than subjects who exercised infrequently (Psychosomatic Medicine, 2011). The findings suggest that physical exercise could help to ward off panic attacks. "Activity may be especially important for people at risk of developing anxiety disorder," he says.

Smits is now investigating exercise for smoking cessation. The work builds on previous research by Bess Marcus, PhD, a psychology researcher now at the University of California San Diego, who found that vigorous exercise helped women quit smoking when it was combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy (Archives of Internal Medicine, 1999). However, a more recent study by Marcus found that the effect on smoking cessation was more limited when women engaged in only moderate exercise (Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2005).

Therein lies the problem with prescribing exercise for mental health. Researchers don't yet have a handle on which types of exercise are most effective, how much is necessary, or even whether exercise works best in conjunction with other therapies.

"Mental health professionals might think exercise may be a good complement [to other therapies], and that may be true," says Blumenthal. "But there's very limited data that suggests combining exercise with another treatment is better than the treatment or the exercise alone."

Researchers are starting to address this question, however. Recently, Madhukar Trivedi, MD, a psychiatrist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical College, and colleagues studied exercise as a secondary treatment for patients with major depressive disorder who hadn't achieved remission through drugs alone. They evaluated two exercise doses: One group of patients burned four kilocalories per kilogram each week, while another burned 16 kilocalories per kilogram weekly. They found both exercise protocols led to significant improvements, though the higher-dose exercise program was more effective for most patients (Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2011).

The study also raised some intriguing questions, however. In men and women without family history of mental illness, as well as men with family history of mental illness, the higher-dose exercise treatment proved more effective. But among women with a family history of mental illness, the lower exercise dose actually appeared more beneficial. Family history and gender are moderating factors that need to be further explored, the researchers concluded.

Questions also remain about which type of exercise is most helpful. Most studies have focused on aerobic exercise, though some research suggests weight training might also be effective, Smits says. Then there's the realm of mind-body exercises like yoga, which have been practiced for centuries but have yet to be thoroughly studied. "There's potential there, but it's too early to get excited," he says.

Buffering the brain

It's also unclear exactly how moving your muscles can have such a significant effect on mental health. "Biochemically, there are many things that can impact mood. There are so many good, open questions about which mechanisms contribute the most to changes in depression," says de Groot.

Some researchers suspect exercise alleviates chronic depression by increasing serotonin (the neurotransmitter targeted by antidepressants) or brain-derived neurotrophic factor (which supports the growth of neurons). Another theory suggests exercise helps by normalizing sleep, which is known to have protective effects on the brain.

There are psychological explanations, too. Exercise may boost a depressed person's outlook by helping him return to meaningful activity and providing a sense of accomplishment. Then there's the fact that a person's responsiveness to stress is moderated by activity. "Exercise may be a way of biologically toughening up the brain so stress has less of a central impact," Otto says.

It's likely that multiple factors are at play. "Exercise has such broad effects that my guess is that there are going to be multiple mechanisms at multiple levels," Smits says.

So far, little work has been done to unravel those mechanisms. Michael Lehmann, PhD, a research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, is taking a stab at the problem by studying mice — animals that, like humans, are vulnerable to social stress.

Lehmann and his colleagues subjected some of their animals to "social defeat" by pairing small, submissive mice with larger, more aggressive mice. The alpha mice regularly tried to intimidate the submissive rodents through the clear partition that separated them. And when the partition was removed for a few minutes each day, the bully mice had to be restrained from harming the submissive mice. After two weeks of regular social defeat, the smaller mice explored less, hid in the shadows, and otherwise exhibited symptoms of depression and anxiety.

One group of mice, however, proved resilient to the stress. For three weeks before the social defeat treatment, all of the mice were subjected to two dramatically different living conditions. Some were confined to spartan cages, while others were treated to enriched environments with running wheels and tubes to explore. Unlike the mice in the bare-bones cages, bullied mice that had been housed in enriched environments showed no signs of rodent depression or anxiety after social defeat (Journal of Neuroscience, 2011). "Exercise and mental enrichment are buffering how the brain is going to respond to future stressors," Lehmann says.

Lehmann can't say how much of the effect was due to exercise and how much stemmed from other aspects of the stimulating environment. But the mice ran a lot — close to 10 kilometers a night. And other experiments hint that running may be the most integral part of the enriched environment, he says.

Looking deeper, Lehmann and his colleagues examined the mice's brains. In the stimulated mice, they found evidence of increased activity in a region called the infralimbic cortex, part of the brain's emotional processing circuit. Bullied mice that had been housed in spartan conditions had much less activity in that region. The infralimbic cortex appears to be a crucial component of the exercise effect. When Lehmann surgically cut off the region from the rest of the brain, the protective effects of exercise disappeared. Without a functioning infralimbic cortex, the environmentally enriched mice showed brain patterns and behavior similar to those of the mice who had been living in barebones cages.

Humans don't have an infralimbic cortex, but we do have a homologous region, known as cingulate area 25 or Brodmann area 25. And in fact, this region has been previously implicated in depression. Helen Mayberg, MD, a neurologist at Emory University, and colleagues successfully alleviated depression in several treatment-resistant patients by using deep-brain stimulation to send steady, low-voltage current into their area 25 regions (Neuron, 2005). Lehmann's studies hint that exercise may ease depression by acting on this same bit of brain.

Getting the payoff

Of all the questions that remain to be answered, perhaps the most perplexing is this: If exercise makes us feel so good, why is it so hard to do it? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008 (the most recent year for which data are available), some 25 percent of the U.S. population reported zero leisure-time physical activity.

Starting out too hard in a new exercise program may be one of the reasons people disdain physical activity. When people exercise above their respiratory threshold — that is, above the point when it gets hard to talk — they postpone exercise's immediate mood boost by about 30 minutes, Otto says. For novices, that delay could turn them off of the treadmill for good. Given that, he recommends that workout neophytes start slowly, with a moderate exercise plan.

Otto also blames an emphasis on the physical effects of exercise for our national apathy to activity. Physicians frequently tell patients to work out to lose weight, lower cholesterol or prevent diabetes. Unfortunately, it takes months before any physical results of your hard work in the gym are apparent. "Attending to the outcomes of fitness is a recipe for failure," he says.

The exercise mood boost, on the other hand, offers near-instant gratification. Therapists would do well to encourage their patients to tune into their mental state after exercise, Otto says — especially when they're feeling down.

"Many people skip the workout at the very time it has the greatest payoff. That prevents you from noticing just how much better you feel when you exercise," he says. "Failing to exercise when you feel bad is like explicitly not taking an aspirin when your head hurts. That's the time you get the payoff."

It may take a longer course of exercise to alleviate mood disorders such as anxiety or depression, Smits adds. But the immediate effects are tangible — and psychologists are in a unique position to help people get moving. "We're experts in behavior change," he says. "We can help people become motivated to exercise."

Discussion and conclusion

In the last decades, acknowledgements have become a “constitutive element of academic writing” ([52]: p. 160). However, the acknowledgement section is not a mandatory part of a scientific article and its content could certainly be described as miscellaneous, ranging from pre-formulated financial disclosure statements to personal testimonies of gratitude. Moreover, acknowledgements’ content and practices have evolved over time, just as citations and authorship attribution practices have changed following the transformations that are affecting the whole reward system of science [53].

Typologies and classifications of acknowledgements have been a consistent topic in the acknowledgement literature [7]. Most of these typologies and classifications revolve around the contributions axis of acknowledgements, focusing on “who gets thanked for what” and “what types of contributions are acknowledged”. This qualitative analysis of acknowledgement content confirms the importance of the contributions axis: acknowledgements are indeed still a space where authors can detail the division of labour within all collaborators of a research project. Our findings also reveal the importance of disclaimers as part of the current scholarly communication apparatus, an aspect which was not highlighted by previous analyses and typologies.

It should be noted that our analysis was restricted to a corpus of single words, sampled from noun phrases identified by correspondence analysis [44]. Further research could now seek to recombine those single words into noun phrases that present variations in meaning around a common concept, such as “assistance” (e.g. “technical assistance” and “financial assistance”). Furthermore, our coding of acknowledgement sentences was done using mutually exclusive categories, an epistemological choice. Given the fact that sentences can perform more than one kind of action, another avenue would be to use open coding and place occurrences in non-exclusive, mutually complementary categories.

Our qualitative results show that caution should be used when working with acknowledgement data. Large-scale acknowledgement data are limited to funded research, given that in the two main bibliographic databases, Web of Science and Scopus, acknowledgements are collected with the intended objective of identifying funding sponsors and tracking funded research [54,55]. The indexation of acknowledgements are thus limited to acknowledgements that contain some kind of funding information this could in turn induce a potential bias toward funding-related aspects within acknowledgements’ content [45]. This indexation bias could then, at least in part, explain the importance of funding disclosures in the dataset analysed here, but also elsewhere in large-scale studies.

How Gender Roles Can Limit Your Success

In Part 1 of this series, we became familiar with popular ideas about femininity and masculinity. In Part 2, we&rsquoll consider where these ideas come from as well as how they influence the way we see ourselves &ndash our self-concept &ndash and how gender ideas, embedded in our minds, can interfere with our ability to make choices from our hearts.


&ldquoThe best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, but must be felt with the heart.&rdquo
Helen Keller

Helen Keller&rsquos insight, that the feelings of the heart are the most important when it comes to experiencing &ldquothe best and most beautiful&rdquo in life, is the same point that we are trying to make with the thoughts and information outlined below. Too often, many potential choices of the heart are overridden, both individually and by society as a whole, by preconceptions about the roles, careers and other activities that are best-suited for one gender or the other. Fortunately, some of this thinking is changing. As our contribution to this better way of thinking, we make the case that the heart should rule when young men and young women are forging their own, unique paths in life.

Where Gender Perceptions Come From: Nature vs. Nurture

&ldquoNature versus nurture&rdquo is a popular topic of debate. While some say that who we are and how we develop is already determined at birth due to our biology, or nature, others say that who we become has more to do with how we are brought up, as well as other situations in life that influence and affect us &ndash by how we&rsquore nurtured. Below, we&rsquoll look at the nature versus nurture debate in terms of gender categories.

Some people say that our ideas about femininity and masculinity come from nature. People who believe this say that men are naturally masculine and women are naturally feminine. The character traits, strengths and weaknesses discussed in Part 1 are, according to this theory, inherent &ndash things we&rsquore born with. This is likely the most popular opinion about where gender categories come from certain behaviors, skills and interests are constantly expected of men and women based on the idea that such things should be natural to them.

Those who believe that nature is responsible for gender traits may argue their case by pointing out that, in general, women do behave according to feminine stereotypes and men do behave according to masculine stereotypes. Most people employed in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, for example, are men most people in caretaker positions, such as nurses and early childhood teachers, are women. Men do tend to be better at hands-on activities like vehicle repair and construction work, whereas women are generally better at talking about their feelings than men.

People who say that gender categories are natural usually base their theory on evolutionary psychology, an area of study that claims gender roles resulted from the evolutionary development of human beings. The idea is that men and women really are different in the ways discussed in Part 1 because these differences were most advantageous to the survival of the species. For example, at one point in history, it was important for men (who are physically stronger in general) to go out and hunt, while women needed to care for offspring. Women are, therefore (according to the nature theory), now &ldquohard-wired&rdquo to be more domestic and nurturing, while men are &ldquohard-wired&rdquo to go out into the world, provide financially and take on a protective role toward women.

The nurture theory suggests that, rather than getting our gender ideas from nature, we get them from people around us &ndash parents, friends, relatives. We get them from the way we are dressed as young children, from the way adults speak to us and teachers teach us. We get gender ideas from media as well &ndash how men and women behave in movies and TV shows what products are advertised to men and women in commercials. These influencers work together to shape our ideas of what it means to be &ldquogirly,&rdquo &ldquofeminine,&rdquo &ldquoa real woman,&rdquo on the one hand, and &ldquoboyish,&rdquo &ldquomanly,&rdquo &ldquoa real man&rdquo on the other. We&rsquore surrounded from birth by these ideas.

Based on the nurture theory of gender differences, the reason why stereotypes are reflected more or less accurately in the world is that we learn to live by them. The reason, for example, that more men work in STEM fields than women is that men believe themselves capable of the type of thinking required by these fields, whereas women tend not to. In the same vein, the reason why there are so few women in the field of philosophy is not that women are incapable of rigorous or logical thinking, but because they are taught (either explicitly or implicitly) that these aren&rsquot their strengths.

The nurture theory of gender categories doesn&rsquot necessarily suggest that there are no natural differences between men and women. The key point is rather that human beings are more than what biology and evolution dictate. As Simone de Beauvoir (one of the only female philosophers of her day) put it, &ldquohumanity is something more than a mere species&hellipit is to be defined by the manner in which it deals with its natural, fixed characteristics.&rdquo Part of what makes human beings distinct from other animals, according to this philosophy, is that we are not purely determined by instinct and evolution &ndash and, what is more, we aren&rsquot purely determined by situations around us (our nurture), either. Human beings have freedom &ndash the freedom to decide, to a considerable extent, who and how we are. We go beyond our given characteristics because we are capable of reflection, critical thinking and creativity. In general, women are feminine and men are masculine partly through social coercion and partly through choice &ndash the choice, however unconscious, not to be something different.

Self-Concept and Decision-Making

Self-concepts &ndash what we think and feel about ourselves &ndash significantly impact the roles, relationships and careers in which we choose to participate. Below, we&rsquoll explore some of the limitations that &ldquogender thinking&rdquo can place upon us.

The Limitations of Feminine Self-Concept

Women whose self-concept is shaped by the ideas of femininity discussed in Part 1 have a limited understanding of their possibilities and capacities &ndash particularly their physical and intellectual abilities. This limiting self-concept can interfere with a woman&rsquos ability to make choices that lead to independence and personal fulfillment.

Perhaps the best way for me to convey how self-concept impacts decision-making in terms of femininity is to tell my own story. I obtained my Bachelor&rsquos degree in philosophy. This field of study has been immensely important to me since I was a teenager, and it has helped me cultivate a sense of meaning in life. I was often the only female in my philosophy classes. My professors were male, and, throughout the country, the vast majority of philosophy students and professors are men. The texts I read, spanning over two millennia, were almost exclusively written by men. The philosophers who wrote those texts, from the time of ancient Greece up through the 20th century, wrote about women as beings that naturally can&rsquot think or reason well. If I had believed the messages all around me about my own intellectual limitations as a female, and if I had believed all those philosophers, I would not have pursued the discipline that has since informed many of my choices.

Taking the view that gender categories are based on nurture rather than nature allowed me to make decisions based on the needs and desires of my heart rather than character traits on some list. If I had formed my self-concept based on ideas of femininity, I would not have the values, drives and skills I have today. I don&rsquot believe that nature is to blame for the fact that the seats of STEM and philosophy classrooms are filled primarily by men. I blame the impacts of feminine self-concept on the possibilities women see before them and the choices they make.

Along with intellectual factors, feminine self-concept also negatively impacts a woman&rsquos ideas about what she can do with her body &ndash particularly her hands. It&rsquos far more common for men to learn how to use tools, make minor repairs to their vehicles and be &ldquohandy&rdquo at fixing things around the house. A woman may think she&rsquos too weak to wield a tool, though tools are designed to make work easier she may also think that she can&rsquot comprehend mechanical or technical matters, which ties into the above intellectual limitations associated with femininity. These perceived limitations interfere with a woman&rsquos ability to be independent.

There are many women who choose not to live their lives according to standards of femininity. If this were not so, the field of science and medicine would not have benefited from the works of Marie Curie, whose experiments with radioactivity, among other things, paved the way for the development of modern cancer treatment. The field of philosophy would not have been enriched by the works of Simone de Beauvoir, who helped women question their dependent status at a time when this was more commonplace than it is today. We would not have female athletes performing amazing physical feats, such as Mo&rsquone Davis, one of only two girls playing U.S. Little League baseball, who pitched a shutout game on August 15th, 2014. These females followed their hearts instead of feminine standards, making the world a better place and their lives, more fulfilling.

The Limitations of Masculine Self-Concept

Just as ideas about femininity can limit a woman&rsquos self-concept, ideas of masculinity can limit a man&rsquos self-concept in a way that prevents him from fulfilling his true potential and pursuing his passions. The American Psychological Association states that about 80% of American men suffer from some form of inability to put emotions into words. Expanding on this point in his talk, &ldquoBe a Man,&rdquo former professional football player Joe Ehrmann ties many social problems, from violence against women to widespread depression and isolation among men, to the messages about masculinity boys receive in childhood. Significant pressure is placed on men to succeed economically, physically and sexually, while they are discouraged from developing healthy emotional lives. This, as Erhmann indicates below, is at the root of many psychological and societal ills:

&ldquoThis is where most of the social problems begin, because if you don&rsquot understand your own emotions, you&rsquoll never understand the feelings or emotions of another human being. Self-understanding is critical to understanding.&rdquo

Along with social and psychological problems, Ehrmann stresses the concern that ideas around masculinity prevent men from leading meaningful lives. Raised to repress human emotions &ndash not &ldquofeminine&rdquo emotions, but human ones &ndash men are set up to fail in relationships, he says. In his work as a minister, Erhmann has talked with many men on their death beds, and he reports the two things that dying men say would have made their lives more meaningful: quality relationships and leaving a mark on the world. Both of these require engagement with one&rsquos heart, something that men are discouraged from.

Men are pressured to be hyper-focused on success &ndash particularly on career success and financial gain. The things and people in his life can all-too-easily become status symbols: a girlfriend or wife becomes the symbol of sexual conquest children, symbols of his virility his house, the physical marker of his ambition and power. The pressure behind these interpretations of success and power can interfere with the &ldquomasculine&rdquo man&rsquos ability to truly enjoy what he has and the people in his life. As Ehrmann points out, developing values requires engaging with one&rsquos heart. A man whose worth in life is determined by things outside him hasn&rsquot developed his values and therefore can&rsquot truly find meaning in what he has.

If men were encouraged to engage emotionally with others and with the world, they could live more well-adjusted lives with less pressure, more love and a broader idea of what they are capable of. When men shed the idea that they are emotionally stunted by nature, they can choose to work on their communication skills, cultivate healthy relationships and engage with their hearts. Today 6% of nurses are men, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the number is growing. Those men followed their hearts and chose a profession that allows them to care for patients in more than just a physical capacity. The National Education Association for Elementary Teachers reports that 13% of elementary school teachers are men. These men followed their desire to help nurture and educate young children, despite low pay and little prestige. Perhaps one of the best examples of a man following his heart is Erhmann himself, whose refusal to conform to the &ldquomacho man&rdquo norm has allowed him to care for the dying and spread his powerful message of heart to the world.

Making Choices: Our Nature + Our Nurture + Our Heart

There are, of course, limitations to our choices. We can&rsquot will ourselves taller, for example. However, we have a considerable amount of freedom over our intellectual, emotional and physical development. The nurture theory of gender categories says that these forms of development are available to all human beings, regardless of gender. Yet, the nature theory indicates that many of our &ldquotraits and tendencies&rdquo are ingrained in us at birth and that their development is, to some degree, out of our control. So, who is right?

We, as many people do today, think that both nature and nurture play a role in defining the individual we turn out to be. However, we want to call attention to one other player, perhaps the most important one of all: our hearts. We encourage young men and women to listen carefully to their hearts as they make choices and chart their course in life. We don&rsquot have to limit our thoughts, in planning our futures, to feminine abilities or masculine abilities. Instead, we can think in terms of human abilities.

Once we begin thinking about emotional, intellectual and physical development as human abilities rather than gendered abilities, the range of possibilities before each of us grows immensely. While we can&rsquot scientifically disprove that gender categories are natural or prove that they are chocked up to nurture, I think we owe it to ourselves to challenge the idea that we&rsquore naturally one way or the other. I ask you to question yourself the next time you think you can&rsquot do something because you&rsquore a young man or woman. Challenge yourself to do it anyway, and to do it well. Realizing you&rsquore capable of more than you thought may be enough experiential evidence to convince you that you are not determined by your sex.

We not only owe it to ourselves to challenge gender ideas, but to one another. Relationships between women and men can become more meaningful once we see one another differently. When a young woman equips herself with the means to provide for herself materially and to think for herself, her relationship with men &ndash whether romantic, familial or platonic &ndash changes rather than people to rely on for something, men are fellow human beings with whom to form deep bonds of love and respect. When men see themselves as emotionally engaged individuals and women as capable of caring for themselves, their relationships with women &ndash romantic, familial and platonic &ndash also change. Women are not status symbols, sexual objects or caretakers they are fellow human beings deserving of love and respect.

So a lot of good can come from challenging gender ideas, both for you personally and for your relationships with others. Still, the transition is not easy. Young men have to give up a false sense of strength and invulnerability women have to take on the burden of intellectual development and independence. But the best choice is not always the easiest choice. By getting rid of some of our more comfortable but possibly inaccurate ideas about gender, we stand to live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. That&rsquos because it puts us in a position to make choices from our hearts instead of traits on a list.

Be courageous. Think critically. Engage with your heart.

&ldquoSociety as a whole benefits immeasurably from a climate in which all persons, regardless of race or gender, may have the opportunity to earn respect, responsibility, advancement and remuneration based on ability.&rdquo
Sandra Day O'Connor

Written by Amée LaTour

If I want to delve deeper into the paper, I typically read it in its entirety and then also read a few of the previous papers from that group or other articles on the same topic. If there is a reference after a statement that I find particularly interesting or controversial, I also look it up. Should I need more detail, I access any provided data repositories or supplemental information.

Then, if the authors' research is similar to my own, I see if their relevant data match our findings or if there are any inconsistencies. If there are, I think about what could be causing them. Additionally, I think about what would happen in our model if we used the same methods as they did and what we could learn from that. Sometimes, it is also important to pay attention to why the authors decided to conduct an experiment in a certain way. Did the authors use an obscure test instead of a routine assay, and why would they do this?
- Jeremy C. Borniger, doctoral candidate in neuroscience at Ohio State University, Columbus

I always start with title and abstract. That tells me whether or not it’s an article I’m interested in and whether I’ll actually be able to understand it—both scientifically and linguistically. I then read the introduction so that I can understand the question being framed, and jump right to the figures and tables so I can get a feel for the data. I then read the discussion to get an idea of how the paper fits into the general body of knowledge.

I pay attention to acknowledgement of limitations and proper inference of data. Some people stretch their claims more than others, and that can be a red flag for me. I also put on my epidemiologist hat so that I can try to make sure the study design is adequate to actually test the hypotheses being examined.

As I go deeper into the argument framing, figures, and discussion, I also think about which pieces are exciting and new, which ones are biologically or logically relevant, and which ones are most supported by the literature. I also consider which pieces fit with my pre-existing hypotheses and research questions.
- Kevin Boehnke, doctoral candidate in environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

My reading strategy depends on the paper. Sometimes I start by skimming through to see how much might be relevant. If it is directly applicable to my current topic, I’ll read the paper closely, apart from the introduction that is probably already familiar. But I always try to figure out if there are particular places or figures that I need to pay close attention to, and then I go and read the related information in the results and discussion.

I also check if there are references that I may be interested in. Sometimes I am curious to see who in the field has—or more likely has not—been referenced, to see whether the authors are choosing to ignore certain aspects of the research. I often find that the supplementary figures actually offer the most curious and interesting results, especially if the results relate to parts of the field that the authors did not reference or if they are unclear or unhelpful to their interpretation of the overall story.
- Gary McDowell, postdoctoral fellow in developmental biology at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and visiting scholar at Boston College

When reading papers, it helps me to have a writing task so that I am being an active reader instead of letting my eyes glaze over mountains of text only to forget everything I just read. So for example, when I read for background information, I will save informative sentences from each article about a specific topic in a Word document. I'll write comments along the way about new ideas I got or questions I need to explore further. Then, in the future, I’ll only need to read this document instead of re-reading all the individual papers.

Likewise, when I want to figure out how to conduct a particular experiment, I create a handy table in Excel summarizing how a variety of research teams went about doing a particular experiment.
- Lina A. Colucci, doctoral candidate at the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program

I usually start with the abstract, which gives me a brief snapshot of what the study is all about. Then I read the entire article, leaving the methods to the end unless I can't make sense of the results or I'm unfamiliar with the experiments.

The results and methods sections allow you to pull apart a paper to ensure it stands up to scientific rigor. Always think about the type of experiments performed, and whether these are the most appropriate to address the question proposed. Ensure that the authors have included relevant and sufficient numbers of controls. Often, conclusions can also be based on a limited number of samples, which limits their significance.

I like to print out the paper and highlight the most relevant information, so on a quick rescan I can be reminded of the major points. Most relevant points would be things that change your thinking about your research topic or give you new ideas and directions.
- Lachlan Gray, deputy head of the HIV Neuropathogenesis Lab at the Burnet Institute and adjunct research fellow in the Department of Infectious Disease at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia

What I choose to read is based on relation to my research areas and things that are generating lots of interest and discussion because they are driving the way we do psychology, or science more widely, in new directions. Most often, what I am trying to get out of the papers is issues of methodology, experimental design, and statistical analysis. And so for me, the most important section is first what the authors did (methods) and second what they found (results).

It can also be interesting to understand why the authors thought they were doing the study (introduction) and what they think the results mean (discussion). When it is an area that I know a lot about, I don't usually care much about these sections because they often reflect the authors' theoretical predilections and one of many ways to think about the method and results. But when it is an area that I know very little about, I read these closely because then I learn a lot about the assumptions and explanatory approaches in that area of research.
- Brian Nosek, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia and executive director of the Center for Open Science in Charlottesville

First I read very fast: The point of the first reading is simply to see whether the paper is interesting for me. If it is I read it a second time, slower and with more attention to detail.

If the paper is vital to my research—and if it is theoretical—I would reinvent the paper. In such cases, I only take the starting point and then work out everything else on my own, not looking into the paper. Sometimes this is a painfully slow process. Sometimes I get angry about the authors not writing clearly enough, omitting essential points and dwelling on superfluous nonsense. Sometimes I am electrified by a paper.
- Ulf Leonhardt, professor of physics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel

I nearly always read the abstract first and only continue on to the paper if the abstract indicates that the paper will be of value to me. Then, if the topic of the paper is one I know well, I generally skim the introduction, reading its last paragraph to make sure I know the specific question being addressed in the paper. Then I look at the figures and tables, either read or skim the results, and lastly skim or read the discussion.

If the topic is not one I know well, I usually read the introduction much more carefully so that the study is placed into context for me. Then I skim the figures and tables and read the results.
- Charles W. Fox, professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington

It is important to realize that shortcuts have to be taken when reading papers so that there is time left to get our other work done, including writing, conducting research, attending meetings, teaching, and grading papers. Starting as a Ph.D. student, I have been reading the conclusions and methods of academic journal articles and chapters rather than entire books.
- Rima Wilkes, professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver

As editor-in-chief of Science, I have to read and comprehend papers outside of my field all the time. Generally, I start with the corresponding editors’ summaries, which are meant for someone like me: a science generalist who is interested in everything but dives deeply only into one field. Next, I check to see if someone wrote a News article on the paper. Third, I check to see if there is a Perspective by another scientist. The main goal of a Perspective is to broaden the message of the paper, but often the authors do a great job of extracting the essence of the article for non-specialists at the same time.

Then I tackle the abstract, which has been written to broadly communicate to the readership of the journal. Finally, I move on to the paper itself, reading, in order, the intro, conclusions, scanning the figures, and then reading the paper through.
- Marcia K. McNutt, Editor-in-Chief, Science journals

Symptoms that healthcare providers might try to address are:

Post-exertional Malaise (PEM)

Post-exertional malaise (PEM) is the worsening of symptoms after even minor physical, mental or emotional exertion. For some patients, sensory overload (light and sound) can induce PEM. The symptoms typically get worse 12 to 48 hours after the activity or exposure and can last for days or even weeks.

PEM can be addressed by activity management, also called pacing. The goal of pacing is to learn to balance rest and activity to avoid PEM flare-ups, which can be caused by exertion that patients with ME/CFS cannot tolerate. To do this, patients need to find their individual limits for mental and physical activity. Then they need to plan activity and rest to stay within these limits. Some patients and doctors refer to staying within these limits as staying within the &ldquoenergy envelope.&rdquo The limits may be different for each patient. Keeping activity and symptom diaries may help patients find their personal limits, especially early on in the illness.

Being mindful of personal limits could prove to be a helpful coping skill for people living with ME/CFS. This enables them the ability to find balance between activities and rest, giving them a sense of managing the illness rather than the illness controlling them. People living with ME/CFS may find that everyday activities such as buying groceries, brushing their teeth, or interacting with others may be enough to cause a relapse or &ldquocrash&rdquo. It may not be possible to entirely avoid these situations, but people living with ME/CFS need to be aware of monitoring their own activity limits. When having a good day, it is tempting to try and &ldquopush&rdquo (increasing activity beyond what would normally attempt) to make up for lost time. However, this can then lead to a &ldquocrash&rdquo (worsening of ME/CFS symptoms) the cycle can then repeat itself after people start recovering from the crash.

Rehabilitation specialists or exercise physiologists who understand ME/CFS may help patients with adjusting to life with ME/CFS. Finding ways to make activities easier may be helpful, like sitting while doing the laundry or showering, taking frequent breaks, and dividing large tasks into smaller steps. Some patients find heart rate monitors useful in keeping track of how hard their body is working, as a way to prevent PEM. Patients who have learned to listen to their bodies might be able to increase their activity level. However, ME/CFS is unpredictable. PEM symptoms may not start right after exercise, making it important for each treatment plan to be tailored for each case. Exercise is not a cure for ME/CFS.

Any activity or exercise plan for people with ME/CFS needs to be carefully designed with input from each patient. While vigorous aerobic exercise can be beneficial for many chronic illnesses, patients with ME/CFS do not tolerate such exercise routines. Standard exercise recommendations for healthy people can be harmful for patients with ME/CFS. However, it is important that patients with ME/CFS undertake activities that they can tolerate, as described above.


Patients with ME/CFS often feel less refreshed and restored after sleep than they did before they became ill. Common sleep complaints include difficulty falling or staying asleep, extreme sleepiness, intense and vivid dreaming, restless legs, and nighttime muscle spasms.
Good sleep habits are important for all people, including those with ME/CFS. When people try these tips but are still unable to sleep, their doctor might recommend taking medicine to help with sleep. First, people should try over-the-counter sleep products. If this does not help, doctors can offer a prescription sleep medicine, starting at the smallest dose and using for the shortest possible time.

People might continue to feel unrefreshed even after the medications help them to get a full night of sleep.If so, they should consider seeing a sleep specialist. Most people with sleep disorders, like sleep apnea (symptoms include brief pausing in breathing during sleep) and narcolepsy (symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness), respond to therapy. However, for people with ME/CFS, not all symptoms may go away.

People with ME/CFS often have deep pain in their muscles and joints. They might also have headaches (typically pressure-like) and soreness of their skin when touched.

Patients should always talk to their healthcare provider before trying any medication. Doctors may first recommend trying over-the-counter pain-relievers, like acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen. If these do not provide enough pain relief, patients may need to see a pain specialist. People with chronic pain, including those with ME/CFS, can benefit from counseling to learn new ways to deal with pain.

Other pain management methods include stretching and movement therapies, gentle massage, heat, toning exercises, and water therapy for healing. Acupuncture, when done by a licensed practitioner, might help with pain for some patients.

Depression, Stress, and Anxiety

Adjusting to a chronic, debilitating illness sometimes leads to other problems, including depression, stress, and anxiety. Many patients with ME/CFS develop depression during their illness. When present, depression or anxiety should be treated. Although treating depression or anxiety can be helpful, it is not a cure for ME/CFS.

Some people with ME/CFS might benefit from antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. However, doctors should use caution in prescribing these medications. Some drugs used to treat depression have other effects that might worsen other ME/CFS symptoms and cause side effects. When healthcare providers are concerned about patient&rsquos psychological condition, they may recommend seeing a mental health professional.

Some people with ME/CFS might benefit from trying techniques like deep breathing and muscle relaxation, massage, and movement therapies (such as stretching, yoga, and tai chi). These can reduce stress and anxiety, and promote a sense of well-being.

Dizziness and Lightheadedness (Orthostatic Intolerance)

Some people with ME/CFS might also have symptoms of orthostatic intolerance that are triggered when-or made worse by-standing or sitting upright. These symptoms can include:

  • Frequent dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Changes in vision (blurred vision, seeing white or black spots)
  • Weakness
  • Feeling like your heart is beating too fast or too hard, fluttering, or skipping a beat

For patients with these symptoms, their doctor will check their heart rate and blood pressure, and may recommend they see a specialist, like a cardiologist or neurologist.

For people with ME/CFS who do not have heart or blood vessel disease, doctor might suggest patients increase daily fluid and salt intake and use support stockings. If symptoms do not improve, prescription medication can be considered.

Memory and Concentration Problems

Memory aids, like organizers and calendars, can help with memory problems. For people with ME/CFS who have concentration problems, some doctors have prescribed stimulant medications, like those typically used to treat Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). While stimulants might help improve concentration for some patients with ME/CFS, they might lead to the &lsquopush-and-crash&rsquo cycle and worsen symptoms. &ldquoPush-and-crash&rdquo cycles are when someone with ME/CFS is having a good day and tries to push to do more than they would normally attempt (do too much, crash, rest, start to feel a little better, do too much once again).

Living with ME/CFS

Strategies that do not involve use of medications and might be helpful to some patients are:

  • Professional counseling: Talking with a therapist to help find strategies to cope with the illness and its impact on daily life and relationships.
  • Balanced diet. A balanced diet is important for everyone&rsquos good health and would benefit a person with or without any chronic illness.
  • Nutritional supplements. Doctors might run tests to see if patients lack any important nutrients and might suggest supplements to try. Doctors and patients should talk about any risks and benefits of supplements, and consider any possible interactions that may occur with prescription medications. Follow-up tests to see if nutrient levels improve can help with treatment planning.
  • Complementary therapies. Therapies, like meditation, gentle massage, deep breathing, or relaxation therapy, might be helpful.

Important note: Patients should talk with their doctors about all potential therapies because many treatments that are promoted as cures for ME/CFS are unproven, often costly, and could be dangerous.

Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only. The information provided on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Scientific Method Examples

There are very many examples of the use of the scientific method throughout history because it is the basis for all scientific experiments. Scientists have been conducting experiments using the scientific method for hundreds of years.

One such example is Francesco Redi’s experiment on spontaneous generation. In the 17 th Century, when Redi lived, people commonly believed that living things could spontaneously arise from organic material. For example, people believed that maggots were created from meat that was left out to sit. Redi had an alternate hypothesis: that maggots were actually part of the fly life cycle!

He conducted an experiment by leaving four jars of meat out: some uncovered, some covered with muslin, and some sealed completely. Flies got into the uncovered jars and maggots appeared a short time later. The jars that were covered had maggots on the outer surface of the muslin, but not inside the jars. Sealed jars had absolutely no maggots whatsoever.

Redi was able to conclude that maggots did not spontaneously arise in meat. He further confirmed the results by collecting captured maggots and growing them into adult flies. This may seem like common sense today, but back then, people did not know as much about the world, and it is through experiments like these that people uncovered what is now common knowledge.

Scientists use the scientific method in their research, but it is also used by people who aren’t scientists in everyday life. Even if you were not consciously aware of it, you have used the scientific method many times when solving problems around you.

For example, say you are at home and a lightbulb goes out. Noticing that the lightbulb is out is an observation. You would then naturally question, “Why is the lightbulb out?” and come up with possible guesses, or hypotheses. For example, you may hypothesize that the bulb has burned out. Then you would perform a very small experiment in order to test your hypothesis namely, you would replace the bulb and analyze the data (“Did the light come back on?”).

If the light turned back on, you would conclude that the lightbulb had, in fact, burned out. But if the light still did not work, you would come up with other hypotheses (“The socket doesn’t work”, “Part of the lamp is broken,” “The fuse went out”, etc.) and test those.