Theory Methods Lab


The Theory Methods Lab is devoted to developing methodological tools that can assist scientists in theory construction. These methodological tools are centered on the formation of formalized theoretical systems, implemented in mathematical models and computer simulations. The core idea that underpins the project is that scientific theories aim to explain robust empirical phenomena, and that the process of constructing such explanatory systems can be organized in a coherent methodological framework. By representing both the theory and the phenomena in a formal model, these explanatory relations become transparent, so that they can enter into the public scientific space of critique, debate, and improvement. As such, formalizing theories is a crucial element of open and transparent scientific practice. 


Although the Theory Methods Lab is based in psychological science, as elements of theory construction methodology become mature, we intend them to be useful throughout the sciences; conversely, we adapt and translate existing approaches that are well-developed in other fields for use in psychological science. In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the research project, we collaborate with scientists in many different fields, as well as with philosophers of science. In addition, members of the Theory Methods Lab participate in the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) of the University of Amsterdam, the Social and Behavioural Data Science Center (SoBe DSC) of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and the Computational Social and Behavioural Science Community.

The Theory Methods Lab is supported by an NWO Vici grant awarded to Denny Borsboom.