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On the Theoretical Derivation of the Normal Distribution for Psychological Phenomena

By Douglas M. Snyder


Though research has indicated that distributions of certain psychological phenomena such as intelligence (as it is assessed on various intelligence tests) are approximately normal as a rule, insufficient attention has been paid to the importance of theoretically deriving the normal distribution for psychological phenomena from first principles. If one accomplishes this task in a manner similar to that found in statistical mechanics and thermal physics (and I am not aware of another plausible theoretical derivation), the premise is made that randomness lies at the foundation of the psychological phenomena so described. These phenomena are in their very nature indisputably characterized by some degree of order

Topics: Cognitive Psychology
Year: 1986
DOI identifier: 10.2466/pr0.1986.59.2.399
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