Lay Theories book cover

Lay Theories

Everyday Understanding of Problems in the Social Sciences

Lay theories - the informal, common-sense explanations people give for particular social behaviours - are often very different from formal 'scientific' explanations of what actually happens. While they have been studied in the past, this is the first attempt to review, in detail, the nature of these beliefs. More specifically, it is the first study to consider such fundamental questions as the structure, aetiology, stability and consequence of lay theories about a range of topics. Each chapter covers a different area, such as psychology, psychiatry, medicine, economics, statistics, law and education.

Audience
For under-/postgraduate students in all social sciences, psychology, sociology and education.

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Published: August 1988

Imprint: Pergamon

ISBN: 978-0-08-032694-8

Reviews

  • ...Furnham is to be congratulated for focusing on commonsense knowledge and bringing it into the arena of academic discussion because this knowledge has an important influence on many aspects of human behaviour yet has hitherto received very little attention in the social sciences.
    Times Higher Education Supplement


    ...a beautiful review of lay or implicit theories in the social sciences.
    Annual Review Psychology
    ...a source of references for people who would like to take up primary research in this challengine field of study. In addition, investigations already working within the particular branches of social science surveyed in the book may find grist for their respective mills. The chapter on lay theories of statistics, which argues that they do not exist and shows what people get by with instead, might also be useful course reading in introductory classes in statistics for the behavioural and social sciences.
    Personality and Individual Differences

Contents

  • Foreword. Lay and Scientific Theories. Common Sense and Human Nature. Lay Theories in Psychology. Lay Theories in Psychiatry. Lay Theories in Medicine. Lay Theories in Economics. Lay Theories in Statistics. Lay Theories in the Law. Lay Theories in Education. Conclusion.

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