Reliability in psychological science: methodology in crisis?

Theory of Knowledge banner

“Scientific truth is a moving target,” wrote the editors of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) a decade ago. “But is it inevitable, as John Ioannidis argues …that the majority of findings are actually false?” In the decade since the editors posed this question, the psychological sciences have been shaken by further challenges to their credibility, including some widely reported controversies. It was August of this […]

Read more

Small Picture, Big Picture: a photography resource for TOK

Theory of Knowledge banner

Images and stories – singular tales have power to grip our imaginations and, in vividly capturing individual moments, to evoke a far more general experience. We’ve certainly witnessed the impact on political discussion of the single photo of a drowned child that I blogged on – and so did everyone else! – just recently. ( “How does a single photo of a single drowned child affect our shared knowledge? […]

Read more

“Evidence-based medicine”: a class discussion, with a caffeine lift!

Theory of Knowledge banner

(Originally posted on  Activating TOK)  Did you know that green coffee bean extract can help you lose weight? No? Me neither! Today, I’d like to propose a class discussion on thinking critically about media knowledge claims for products that yield fabulous (literally) medical benefits. The discussion is given a caffeine lift by a bite-sized example from a year […]

Read more

“Evidence Based Medicine”: WOK Language and AOK Natural Sciences

Theory of Knowledge banner

(Originally posted on Activating TOK) When we depend on language to mediate scientific knowledge, the field is ripe for misunderstanding and abuse.  And when life and death are involved, as they often are in medical science, getting it right is important. Hence the attempts of prominent figures who straddle both fields — medical science and communication (e.g. David Gorski, Stephen […]

Read more

Backward Brain Bicycle: memory and knowing how

Theory of Knowledge banner

(Originally posted on  Activating TOK)  “Knowledge”. “Understanding”. “Truth”.  Your students might want to argue with the way Destin Sandlin uses the terms — and so will you — as he struggles to learn how to ride what he calls the Backwards Brain Bicycle. This video is likely to provoke ripples of laughter and to animate discussion on “knowing how” and on memory as […]

Read more