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Unformatted text preview: AUTHOR'S PROOF U N C O R R E C T E D P R O O F 1 2 3 COMMENTARY 4 Variables and Quantity: What Else? 5 Santo Di Nuovo 6 7 # Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008 8 9 Abstract The article aims to comment Toomela s ( Integrative Psychological & 10 Behavioral Science 42 (3):245 265, 2008 ) paper on variables and quantitative 11 psychology. Topics as the choice of variables, their measurement and statistical 12 analysis, the deductions based on data, are briefly reviewed. All variables can be 13 misleading if used in a misleading way, but the Author contends that the psychology 14 based on the variables has not the possibility to represent selected samples of inner 15 processes and contents. Quantitative analyses based on linear causality and 16 probabilistic inference pose many problems, but some alternative approaches 17 devised to cope with these problems are indicated. An hermeneutic approach aware 18 of the constructivist ground of the scientific knowledge is proposed. 19 Keywords Quantitative psychology . Methodology . Variables . Statistics 20 21 The aim of the present article is to contribute to the debate about variables and 22 quantitative psychology. At this end, some general comments on the topics proposed 23 by Toomela ( 2008 ) will be proposed. 24 As the author stated, psychology based only on variables is useless for a 25 psychology aimed to explore theories on mind: complexity of mind is very far from 26 experimental articulation of variables. This was already affirmed in XIX century by 27 the functionalism against Wundt s atomistic structuralism, and later by the cognitive 28 theory against behaviorism, and by the ecological approach against the early 29 cognitivist authors, an so on. 30 But, in the previous statement, the word only becomes crucial: variables are 31 only the starting point of a process that may go far beyond the quantitative and 32 statistical analysis, throwing the bases for a different interpretive approach. 33 Variables and their measurement (or assessment ), their quantitative statistical 34 analyses, as well as deductions strictly based on data, do not let us grasp the whole Integr Psych Behav DOI 10.1007/s12124-008-9081-8 S. Di Nuovo ( * ) University of Catania, Catania, Italy e-mail: email@example.com JrnlID 12124_ArtID 9081_Proof# 1 - 15/11/2008 AUTHOR'S PROOF U N C O R R E C T E D P R O O F 35 story about the sense of the research, i.e. about the meaning of the relations about 36 variables. This story would be said by a hermeneutic approach, grounded on the 37 data but not reduced to them, and surely scientific research is not forced to use data 38 to draw its deductions, although the empirical scientific research has to collect data, 39 and the only way to obtain them is to split operationally the event (target of the 40 study) into variables....
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