In the human sciences, inductive reasoning is heavily relied on in order to create shared knowledge. Induction in psychology does not necessarily demand a commitment to the belief that human behaviour is uniform however it does require stability across contexts in order to predict human behaviour – we cannot assume chaos. This can be further argued using the concept of “external validity”. External validity refers to whether or not the results of a study can be extrapolated and generalised from one context to another. Psychologists require the ability to produce theories, otherwise one cannot conclude anything beyond what one has actually observed and take into consideration anything we have not seen yet. Without the assumption of uniformity, we lose the ability to explain. In Joshua Aronson’s study looking at why African American students tend to perform poorer in exams, they required some sort of assumption of pattern in order to eventually come to a conclusion that this was an example of a Stereotype Threat (Waters).
They had to suppose that there was a single cause for this phenomenon and disregard any other variables that may have had an effect.On the other hand, one might argue that our own nature to seek uniformity may provide us with false knowledge due to confirmation bias. We as humans prefer simplicity over complexity because it allows groups of laws to remain relatively small and simple. The ultimate goal of psychology is to predict human behaviour – once a cognitive theory has been explained in one place, it has been explained everywhere for everyone.
They may refine their explanation any time a new discovery is made but we do not need an infinite amount of differing explanations. However, this may imply that we may only be imposing uniformity to avoid complications therefore we must ask the question; Does uniformity actually exist, or are we imposing it? If so, does this affect the knowledge we gain?