Mediumistic Hypothesis

JUNG'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY.

MEEHL'S SIXTH LAW OF SOFT PSYCHOLOGY. The American clinical psychologist, statistician, and theoretician Paul Everett Meehl (1920-2003) provides a critique of the process of null hypothesis testing that is commonly employed in the "softer" areas of psychology. Among the ten factors identified by Meehl as obscuring most literature surveys that are base on correlational evidence is the sixth law (also called the "crud factor").

Meehl's sixth law of soft psychology states that "everything correlates to some extent with everything else." Thus, the "background noise level" in a typical study involves a matrix of correlations that - although small in magnitude - tend to be statistically significant rather than non-significant (particularly when large sample sizes are involved). Consequently, according to this law, setting up a null hypothesis of zero correlation between two chosen variables (or of zero difference between two sample means) - to be refuted by at some level of significance - may be a specious exercise: the null hypothesis, in some sense, is always literally untrue. It is suggested that the researcher not overly rely on significance levels for correlational data. Also, it is recommended that one reduce the typical emphasis in psychological research on significance levels (involving the setting up of a "straw man" - via the null hypothesis - to be refuted), and to devote more attention to "power" and "strength of effect" analyses, tests, and strategies. See also NULL HYPOTHESIS. REFERENCES

Meehl, P. E. (1990). Appraising and amending theories: The strategy of Lakatosian defense and two principles that warrant it. Psychological Inquiry, 1, 108-141, 173-180. Meehl, P. E. (1990). Why summaries of research on psychological theories are often uninterpretable. Psychological Reports, 66, 195-244. Standing, L., Sproule, R., & Khouzam, N. (1991). Empirical statistics: IV. Illustrating Meehl's sixth law of soft psychology: Everything correlates with everything. Psychological Reports, 69, 123-126.

MEINONG'S THEORIES. The Austrian philosopher/psychologist Alexius Ritter von Handschuchsheim Meinong (1853-1920) studied under Franz Brentano (1838-1917), the founder of act psychology (i.e., a philosophical psychological system that was a precursor to functionalism and focused on the acts or processes of mind as the fundamental source of empirical data; cf., the structuralist's approach, which argued that the basic subject matter of psychology was the conscious con tent of mind). Meinong's field was theoretical psychology, including the theory of knowledge, and he formulated a theory of assumptions, a theory of evidence, a theory of value, and a theory of objects, cf., Gegenstandstheorie ("theory of objects") - a branch of science originated by Meinong, designed to study the properties and relations of objects, as such, that the other sciences, particularly psychology, neglected. In his theory of objects, Meinong accepted Plato's conceptions of ideal objects that subsist and other objects that exist, but he added a third aspect: objects that are non-existing but have objective characteristics (cf., Meinong's founding processes - an intellectual activity by which conscious contents are consolidated to form objects of higher order, termed complexes). Thus, it is possible to speak of impossible-to-exist entities such as "round squares," one may make true statements about many more things than the objects that exist. In his theory of value, Mei-nong appealed to the psychology of humans where people's emotional reactions, for example, are not balanced or consistent (e.g. one may show more sorrow in the non-existence of the good than show pleasure in its existence or take displeasure in the existence of evil than joy in its non-existence). Meinong's value theory anticipated contemporary study of psychological-ethical thought with his various subdivisions of good and bad (e.g., good that is meritorious, good that is merely required, bad that is excusable, and bad that is inexcusable). See also DECISION-MAKING THEORIES, FUNCTIONALISM THEORY, MIND/ MENTAL STATES, THEORIES OF, OBJECT-RELATIONS THEORY, PATTERN/ OBJECT RECOGNITION THEORY, PERCEPTION (I. GENERAL), THEORIES OF, STRUCTURALISM/ STRUCTURALIST THEORY. REFERENCES

Meinong, A. (1891). Zur psychologie der komplexionen und relationen. Zeitschrift fur Psychologie, 2, 245-265. Meinong, A. (1894). Psychologisch-ethische untersuchungen zur werththeorie. Graz, Austria: Leuschner & Luben-sky.

Meinong, A. (1914). Abhandlungen zur psychologie. Leipzig: Barth.

MELODIC/SEMITONE/TRITONE PARADOX EFFECTS. See APPENDIX A.

MEMBRANE THEORY OF NERVE CONDUCTION. See NEURON/NEURAL/ NERVE THEORY.

MEMORY ILLUSION. See APPENDIX A.

MEMORY, THEORIES OF. See FORGETTING AND MEMORY, THEORIES OF; SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM MEMORY, THEORIES OF.

MEMORY TRACE THEORY. See GESTALT THEORY/LAWS.

MENDELIAN RATIO. See MENDEL'S LAWS/PRINCIPLES.

MENDEL'S LAWS/PRINCIPLES. = Men-delian ratio = Mendel's theory of heredity = Mendelism. The Austrian botanist and experimental biologist Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884) was ordained as a priest in 1847, studied science in Vienna from 1851 to 1853, and returned later to the Brno monastery, becoming abbot in 1868. Mendel bred peas in the experimental garden of the monastery and grew almost 30,000 plants between 1856 and 1863. He artificially fertilized plants with specific characteristics; he crossed species that produced tall plants with those that produced short plants and counted the numbers of tall and short plants that appeared in the subsequent generations. All the plants of the first generation were tall, and the next generation consisted of some tall and some short in proportions of 3:1. Mendel suggested that each plant received one character from each of its parents, tallness being dominant and shortness being recessive or hidden and appearing only in later generations. The term Mendelian ratio refers to biparental offspring where the ratio is between those that possess a given unit character or combination of unit characters (dominants) and those that do not possess (recessives) the character. For a single unit character the ratio in the first filial generation is three dominants to one recessive. The term Mendelism refers to a theory of inheritance (based on Mendel's law) according to which the constitution of the offspring is determined by a certain number of independent factors, called unit characters, contributed by the parents. Mendel's law, then, is a principle of hereditary transmission according to which the characters of the parents are transmitted to the offspring in units without change, some becoming perceptible in individuals of the first generation and others in those of later generations, with a definite ratio for each generation (cf., genetic balance theory - indicates how sex chromosomes and autosomes together determine the individual's sex at the molecular, cellular, and organ levels in the embryo stage; and intermediate gene effects - refers to the ability of some genes to "cooperate" and work together with other genes, rather than some being dominant over others, with the result that each gets expressed in some aspect of the organism). Mendel's experiments led to the formulation of his law of segregation and law of independent assortment. Mendel's first law/ law of segregation states that during meiosis (the process whereby a nucleus divides by two divisions into four nuclei), the two members of any pair of alleles (different sequences of genetic material occupying the same gene locus) possessed by an individual separate (segregate) into different gametes and subsequently into different offspring, neither having blended with or altered the other in any way although together in the same cell. Mendel's second law/law of independent assortment of genes states that during meiosis all combinations of alleles are distributed to daughter nuclei with equal probability, the distribution of members of one pair having no influence on the distribution of members of any other pair. Mendel's first law is a consequence of the behavior of all chromosomes during meiosis; his second law is a consequence of the independent behavior of non-homologous chromosomes during meiosis (cf., non-Mendelian gene - any gene not conforming to a Mendelian mechanism of inheritance, or is not inherited according to Mendel's laws, in particular, the genes encoded in "plasmids" and "mitochondrial DNA;" trans-methylation hypothesis - holds that due to some genetic or metabolic defect, certain normal body chemicals are converted into LSD-like substances in the brain; and selfish gene hypothesis - holds that a living organism is merely the result of the genes of that individual attempting to replicate themselves). The English zoologist William Bateson (18611926) contributed to the establishment of the Mendelian concept of heredity and variations, and gave the name genetics to the new science. Bateson experimented on hybridization in order to understand the transmission of inherited characteristics from parents to immediate offspring. In 1865, after Mendel's initial work in breeding peas was conducted, little further attention was given to Mendel's laws or genetics [cf., Malthus' law - a genetic/statistical principle proposed by Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) which states that the population of any given region in respect to any given species tends to increase in geometrical progression, whereas the means of subsistence increases at a less rapid rate]. However, Bateson "rediscovered" Mendel's findings - after being neglected by biologists for 35 years - and reinterpreted them in the light of more recent evidence. Bateson founded the Journal of Genetics in 1910 and served as a spokesman for the new science of genetics. Bateson also de-vised a vibratory theory of inheritance founded on the concepts of force and motion, but it never received much favor among his contemporary scientists. During the 1920s, genetic research focused on mutations and, as an alternative to Darwin's theory of natural selection, a widely accepted hypothesis held that evolution occurs in rapid leaps; cf., punctuated equilibrium theory - the notion that evolution occurs in bursts with long periods of little change between them as a result of radical changes in phenotype caused by mutations. This idea contrasts sharply with Darwin's view of gradual evolution due to environmental selection acting on continuous variations among individuals of a population. An important turning point for evolution theory was the birth of the field/study of population genetics, especially in the 1930s, when Mendelism and Darwinism were reconciled, and the genetic basis of variation and natural selection was worked out. The results of Mendel's original experiments on garden peas have been extended to genetics and heritability in humans, where it has been discovered that certain genetic disor ders - such as sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, and cystic fibrosis - are inherited as simple recessive traits from phenotypically normal, heterozygous carriers. See also DARWIN'S EVOLUTION THEORY; GAL-TON'S LAWS; HARDY-WEINBERG LAW; MALTHUS' THEORY. REFERENCES

Mendel, G. J. (1901/1965). Versuche uber pflanzenhybriden. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd. Bateson, W. (1902). Mendel's principles of heredity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Bateson, W. (1914). Mendel's vererbungstheorien. Berlin: Teubner.

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