The Production, Detection, and Explanation of Behavioral Patterns

  • Warren Thorngate
Part of the Perspectives on Individual Differences book series (PIDF)


The essence of science is the detection and explanation of patterns. Physical scientists devote themselves to the detection and explanation of patterns of matter and energy. Biological scientists are concerned with patterns of life. And behavioral scientists are concerned with patterns of human behavior and experience. Despite the differences in subject matter, all attempt to discern regularities in their domains and to analyze why these regularities occur. Few, if any, attempts are made to study irregular or patternless phenomena. Accidents and other unique events are sometimes investigated by scientific means if deemed sufficiently important (e.g., determining a cause of death, a disputed authorship, or the trajectory of an epidemic), and if they can be viewed as products of regularities or patterns. But phenomena that exhibit no discernible regularity or pattern are relegated to the status of anecdote, transience, chaos, or noise. They are acknowledged in statistics by a concept known as error. And they are assumed, by tradition if not definition, to lie outside the domain of scientific enquiry.


Behavioral Pattern Psychological Report Sufficient Explanation Chaotic Trajectory Joystick Movement 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Warren Thorngate
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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