Definitions and Examples of Theory

People develop within their environments. This development creates a sense of individuality, but it also creates predictable outcomes. By examining how children and adults react to the development processes in specific environments, it becomes possible to understand how biodirectional influences shape individuals into the people they become.

This process was first proposed by Urie Bronfenbrenner and has heavily influenced the field of developmental psychology. Its model is still relevant today and is widely practiced.

What Are the Systems of the Bioecological Systems Theory?

When Bronfenbrenner first laid out his theory, he identified four different environmental contexts that could modify a person’s development.

  • Microsystems. This is the environment that is closest to the individual. It includes their intimate relationships, direct interactions with their surroundings, and close interpersonal contacts.
  • Mesosystems. This environment includes relationships that those who are within an individual’s microsystem have with others. A child’s best friend has a parent or guardian, so the parent of that child and the parent of the best friend would be part of the mesosystem for each person. The relationship of the children influences the relationship of the parents.
  • Exosystems. This environment does not affect an individual directly. It is the structures that encompass what can happen within a microsystem. If a parent lost their job, then this action would affect a child because it would require them to change how they live in some way.
  • Macrosystems. This is the outer circle of the original systems theory and it includes social, economic, or cultural ideologies that can affect a person’s environment. A government decided to pass and enforce new laws would be an example of this type of environment.

As Bronfenbrenner looked at his original theory, he began to recognize that other key factors could influence a person’s development as well. In 1986, he would shift his theory from ecological systems to bioecological systems.

This update included social contexts and environments because they also influence the learning process for people.

What Is the Chronosystem in the Bioecological Systems Theory?

As Bronfenbrenner began to evolve his theory, he recognized the need to include a chronosystem to his proposal. A chronosystem is a reference to how an individual or an environment changes over time. Bronfenbrenner would place a greater emphasis on the processes involved and the role of a person within the chronosystem while including four total concepts.

  • Process Concept. The goal of processes for people is to help them form more complex reciprocal interactions. This creates rewarding circumstances for the individuals involved and causes them to seek out additional interactions throughout their environment.
  • Person Concept. The characteristics of every individual also play a role in the overall environment. Social interactions can change as a person ages, but the goal is still the same. Every social interaction has the goal of creating a future social interaction that is more complex. This allows people to form relationships that continue to influence them over time.
  • Context Concept. Context, according to Bronfenbrenner, is how the four original environmental influences continue to affect personal development. Each has a direct and/or indirect influence that helps to shape personal characteristics. It also means that personal characteristics have the capability of changing environments reciprocally.
  • Time Concept. Time follows the same structures as the environments. This means there is micro-time, meso-time, and macro-time. Micro-time are the seconds in this present moment that can influence an individual. Meso-time involves the outside processes that can influence an individual over time, such as working for the same employer for 20 years to earn a pension. Macro-time shifts expectations over generations.

By understanding how a person develops within their environmental system, it becomes possible to determine why certain decisions, behaviors, or feelings are interfering with future development opportunities. Incorporating the concepts offered by the bioecological systems theory makes it possible to understand the influences that have helped to shape personal environmental interactions.

Technology has the power to speed up this process dramatically. Because there are such high levels of interconnectivity today, people have larger microsystem environments. This shapes how they react with others because there are more relationships formed, even if individuals only chat online instead of meeting in person.

This creates a knowledge base that can help an individual of any age begin to make new decisions. The new decisions can then shape future personal interactions so that positive outcomes, either socially or structurally, can be achieved over time. These dynamic processes can then help to predict individualized outcomes for how people will view themselves over time.

Burrhus Frederic Skinner believed that the mind was important. He felt that behavior could be observed so that reactions could be studied in its complexity. In the 1920s, classical conditioning was the emphasis of behaviorism theory, but BF Skinner felt like the answers provided were too simplistic. This led him to develop his theory on operant conditioning.

What is an operant? It is an intentional action that effects the surrounding environment or society. The BF Skinner behaviorism theory looks to identify the actions that are taken to identify why some operant behaviors are more common than others.

The 3 Types of Responses in the BF Skinner Behaviorism Theory

Skinner defined operant conditioning by the ability of a person to change their behavior based on the use of a reinforcement. If the reinforcement is given after a desired response, then the mind can train itself to repeat a behavior to anticipate a similar result in the future.

Based on the responses that Skinner could observe through his process of operant conditioning, he was able to identify three specific types of responses or operants that can follow a behavior.

1. Neutral. These responses would not increase or decrease the probability that a behavior would be repeated.
2. Reinforcers. This type of response would increase the likelihood of a repetitive behavior. A reinforcer can be positive or negative to encourage the repetitive response.
3. Punishers. This is the response that would decrease the likelihood of a behavior being repeated. The goal of a punishment is to weaken the behavior so it becomes less desirable in the future.

These responses are seen in virtually every aspect of our society today. Parents use reinforcers and punishers to create a desired response. Children test out specific behaviors with their parents and learn from the positive or negative consequences which result from those behaviors. Employers use them to keep employees productive and following corporate procedures.

Skinner showed that it wasn’t just humans who were susceptible to operant conditioning. Virtually any creature with a mind could be taught specific behaviors through the conditioning process. He proved his theory with his work on what would be come to be called the “Skinner Box.”

How Skinner Proved Positive Reinforcement Was a Training Mechanism

BF Skinner developed a box which contained a lever on the side of it. He would then place a rat inside the box. Whenever the rat interacted with the lever, either intentionally or unintentionally, a piece of food would drop into the box for the rat to eat. After a few times of being placed in the box, every rat would learn to go straight to the lever so they could get food right away.

The consequence of pressing the lever created a positive reward. This encouraged the rats to keep pressing the lever, over and over again, so they could receive more food. Through this action, Skinner was able to provide that a positive reinforcement helps to strengthen a specific behavioral response.

Negative reinforcement also strengthens a behavior. Skinner ran an electrical current through his box, but this time, the rats would need to shut off the current by activating the lever. The consequence of being able to stop receiving the current was enough to encourage the behavior of pulling the lever.

Learned responses can come from this type of activity as well. Skinner eventually taught the rats that if they pushed a button when a light came on, they could stop the electrical current from going into the box in the first place.

The Problem with Punishment and the BF Skinner Behaviorism Theory

Punishment does weaken behavior, but it doesn’t eliminate it. A punished behavior becomes suppressed. It will typically return if there isn’t a threat of punishment present. This suppression increases personal aggression, reduces a person’s ability to cope with difficult circumstances, and can be the foundation of fear.

Punishment essentially tells someone what they should not do. It’s the opposite of a positive reinforcement, which tells someone what they should do.

Because both operants can modify behavior, the positive reinforcements in the behaviorism theory is preferred because it creates meaningful change. Behaviors are modified because the reward centers of the mind are activated. People decide that they want to change because they want the reward.

Punishments do not guide someone toward change. Through fear, the person decides that they will stop the unwanted behavior while in the presence of someone who exerts control over them. When that control is released, the suppression is eliminated, and the behavior returns once again. There is no desire to change.

The BF Skinner behaviorism theory helped to show that feelings, behaviors, and actions are interconnected. By understanding what causes a choice to be made, it becomes possible to repeat positive choices and avoid negative ones.

Everyone has needs that must be met.

Published in 1946, the book Baby and Child Care by Benjamin Spock was one of the first attempts to understand the needs of infants, toddlers, and young children. Spock associated the needs of a child to the dynamics of the family, with special attention paid to the attention that parents offered and their flexibility when handling their needs.

Critics see the Benjamin Spock theory as a method of promoting permissiveness through parenting. This would result in children expecting to be instantly gratified with their needs. The issue with the theory was that the definition of a “want” was often confused with the definition of a “need.”

How Does a Child Define Their Wants and Needs?

Imagine a child is waiting in line at the grocery store with their parent. The child is bored. To relieve that boredom, they begin fiddling with the candy bars, looking through magazines, and randomly screaming at the top of their lungs.

Those who would view these behaviors would likely feel that the child is unfocused. Demanding. When screaming, observers would likely become irritated with the child and their parent if it continued for some time.

Is the desire to remove feelings of boredom a need? Or is it a want?

There are three solutions to this behavior that the parent can use. They can choose to ignore it. They can choose to discipline the child for being disruptive. Or they can take on a leadership role and show the child how to conduct themselves in a way that is not disruptive to the rest of the grocery store.

The Benjamin Spock theory takes the latter approach. Parenting, according to Spock, is about providing their child with clear leadership qualities and behaviors that are set through example. In return, the parent is expected to ask for politeness and cooperation. This creates a give-and-take relationship where needs can be met because the child learns how to recognize the difference between their wants and their needs.

What Is a Need and What is a “Want?”

Children have the same needs that parents attempt to meet for themselves every day. Basic needs include food, water, sleep, shelter, and clothing. According to the Benjamin Spock theory, it is these basic needs that should be met on-demand.

There are supplementary needs that a child may have as well. If a child is asthmatic, then an inhaler would become a basic need because the medicine is necessary for a certain quality of life.

A “want” is something that is unnecessary for the health and wellbeing of a child. If the child at the grocery store demands that their parent purchase a candy bar for them and throws a tantrum until that is rewarded, then the parent has not met the needs of the child. They have satisfied a want.

This is where the criticism of the Benjamin Spock theory takes root. Children that have their “wants” instantly gratified learn through the leadership of their parent that specific behaviors, actions, or questions generate results. Then these children, as they grow older, attempt to use that leadership skill with the rest of the world.

It is why this pediatric theory is often regarded as advocating “permissiveness.”

Why Intuition and Parenting Are Important Partners

Parents have a unique ability to understand the genuine needs of their own child. At the grocery store, their child may be having a tantrum because they see a candy bar and want it. The parent might choose to purchase that candy bar as a method of tempering the behaviors that are being seen in public, but then use that moment for instruction later at home.

“You can have this candy bar,” the parent might say, “but only after we talk about what behaviors are acceptable in public and which behaviors are not acceptable.”

Leadership comes in many different forms. Some leaders directly lead others. Others show their leadership by setting an example. Parents, Spock has argued, can recognize what response will work best for their child in any given moment. That means the intuition of parent, even if it is perceived as “wrong” by others, is still an opportunity to have a child’s needs met.

Ultimately, the response to a parent interacting with their child is also a way to set an example of leadership for the children of those who have responded. Casting blame on those who follow the Benjamin Spock theory is a way to show that leadership isn’t taking responsibility for one’s own actions.

That’s why recognizing wants and needs on the individual level is so important. By meeting needs, healthy interactions and behaviors can grow, and that will one day lead today’s child to become tomorrow’s parent.

Bargaining. Haggling. It is the process of completing a transaction based on a negotiated outcome instead of an outcome that is driven by market forces. Instead of having “perfect competition,” bargaining theory has two or more individuals trying to reach an agreement on any type of transaction so that both parties come away from the process in an advantageous position.

For bargaining to be an effective economic model, however, there must be knowledge and wisdom on all sides involved. If a buyer is uninformed about the product or a seller is unaware of an item’s value, then bargaining can create a transaction that would leave one party in a worse position than if the outcome was based on market forces.

When included with game theories, bargaining can be used for wage negotiations, resource distribution, or even a disarmament treaty between nations.

How Is Bargaining Theory Included in Game Theory?

A “bargaining game” is a situation where two or more entities must reach an agreement. Objects or items of value, such as currency, must be distributed. Each entity involved in the process prefers to reach an agreement instead of trying to do things on their own. Each entity also wants the outcome to favor their interests more than it favors the interests of the others who are involved in the negotiation process.

Take the example of a union negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with an employer. The workers within that union would want to maximize their wages and benefits, protecting their rights to the greatest extent possible. The employer would want to minimize the cost of wages and benefits paid to employees, protecting their rights to the greatest extent possible at the same time.

For an agreement to be reached, a compromise must be obtained. Both parties must be willing to move from their “perfect” outcome to reach an outcome that meets some, but not all, of their needs. This allows both to walk away from the negotiation feeling like they could accomplish something and be better off tomorrow than they were today.

Although multiple people may be involved in a negotiation, many bargaining situations involve just two entities. That’s why the Nash bargaining solution is such an important component of the modern bargaining theory.

What Is the Nash Bargaining Solution?

In this example, there are two entities which both want to have some portion of a specific commodity or item of value. According to Nash, this would usually involve some form of currency. The item of value is available in a limited supply.

If the total amount that both entities have requested comes to an amount that is less than what the availability happens to be, then both requests will be fulfilled. Each entity would have their exact demands met.

Should the request be greater than what is available, then neither entity would get their request. They would be required to negotiate with one another to distribute the available resources since the total pool of resources cannot meet their complete needs. Because there is no equilibrium with uncertainty, the outcome depends on the willingness to compromise and the skills of negotiation for each entity.

If there is no willingness, then bargaining theory reaches a disagreement point.

What Is the Disagreement Point in Bargaining Theory?

The disagreement point in a negotiation is reached when there is an expectation that the process could break down or stop. If one entity feels like they are not receiving something of value from the process, then it is better for them to break off the negotiation rather than continue with it. If a disagreement point is pre-determined, it can be recognized when it is reached, and this can protect the individual interests of an entity.

Increasing a personal disagreement point during the process of negotiation can also be advantageous to the party doing so. Not only does it damage the disagreement points of the other entities involved, it can improve the outcome for the entity because the threat of leaving does harm to those who wish to see an outcome achieved.

Bargaining theory allows for greater profitability and standing for every entity that is involved in a transaction. When there is knowledge behind the negotiation process, then every entity can walk away from a transaction feeling like they profited from the experience. If not, then one entity may be able to take advantage of the others to increase their profits, but the transaction will still be completed.

Iron Man has a tokamak ARC reactor in his chest. It’s what helps to power his suit and keep him alive. Now no one may have the unique health needs of Tony Stark, but the idea of being able to obtain virtually unlimited energy is something that could benefit all of us. MIT has developed an arc reactor theory that is plausible to the extent that a donut-shaped fusion reactor could be produced by 2025.

With fusion energy resources that small, virtually anything becomes possible. Self-sustaining energy could power spacecraft, replace aging nuclear reactors, and do so without the same threat of radiation.

How Would a Fusion Arc Reactor Work?

Fusion energy is created when atoms of hydrogen are placed under high heat and pressure. When the exposure reaches a specific temperature and pressure, the atoms of hydrogen will begin to fuse. That fusion forms a helium nucleus, a neutron, and a ridiculous amount energy that could be harvested for any number of tasks or needs.

Two kinds of hydrogen atoms are used to create this fusion: deuterium and tritium. Then a gas is injected into the containment vessel, the ARC reactor, to form the reaction. This creates a hot plasma, over 150 million degrees, that can release the energy which was created from the reaction.

Because the plasma is heated to such an extent, magnetic fields are required to keep it off the walls of the chamber. The magnetic fields would be created by including superconducting coils around the rounded shape of the ARC reactor. An electrical current would then be driven into the plasma as it forms to sustain the field.

The Challenge of a Typical Arc Reactor Theory

Before the MIT design for an arc reactor, the primary challenge of creating a fusion reaction has been the inclusion of the magnetic coils. For previous designs, the strength of the magnetic fields was not enough to keep the plasma off the walls, which would eventually cause a catastrophic failure if the reactor should it be operational.

The 2015 MIT design uses superconductors that are manufactured using barium copper oxide, which is a rare-earth element. These superconductors are manufactured into tapes, which creates a stronger magnetic field. The design of the arc reactor is also smaller than other tokamak designs, which means the reactor can be built faster and cheaper when compared to other arc reactor theories.

This means the achievable amount of power from the fusion reaction would be to the fourth power of the increase that the magnetic field is able to achieve. If the field strength could be doubled, then the amount of power the fusion reactor could produce is 16 times greater, allowing for a dramatic increase in useable power resources.

Cost is another challenge which must be met. The MIT design that uses the arc reactor theory is essentially the same design of a larger fusion power device that is being constructed in France. Called ITER, the process was started in 1985 and is a collaborative process to demonstrate the benefits of a fusion reaction through a 35-year process. Although the value of the demonstration of ITER may be priceless should it come online and produce power, the total cost of this one facility is expected to exceed $40 billion.

Why Choose Fusion Energy Over Other Forms of Energy?

With the current arc reactor theory, the massive amount of power generated by the fusion reaction would be environmentally friendly. After the manufacturing process is completed, fossil fuels would not be necessary to create energy. The fusion reaction would not produce any greenhouse gas emissions when operational and there would be no radioactive waste.

Once operational, the ARC reactor would provide virtually unlimited power.

Although the idea of fusion seems to be costly, especially with the final cost estimates of ITER, there are designs which use the arc reactor theory that have a comparable cost to starting a new coal-fired power plant. It would provide a similar electrical output to the more traditional power plant as well.

At this point, however, there has never been a fusion reaction created that has produced as much energy as it consumed, so net energy production is the next step to take in this theory. The updated designs and ideas by MIT suggest that this single reactor, despite its size, could provide power for up to 100,000 households.

For many in this field, the goal is to have fusion energy become active in the 22nd century. With the arc reactor theory, it may be possible to speed up that timeline considerably.

For evolutionary theories, changes in physical characteristics or social behaviors occur because of the adaptation to a change that is placed upon a species. The strongest survive, with strength being defined by the ability to adapt.

The arboreal theory describes the process of change that occurred for humanity’s primate ancestors. Introduced by FW Jones in 1916, the theory is that primates evolved from their ancestors because of their ability to adapt to arboreal life.

Arboreal is a reference to the ability of a primate to live in trees.

Why Would Primates Move into the Trees?

The transition into arboreal life for primates is believed to have occurred at the end of the Cenozoic Era. It’s often referred to as the “Age of Mammals” because numerous species dominated during this period of development. Large mammals, such as the basilosaurus and the paraceratheirum, would have taken much of the existing ground space, whether the continents were connected or not.

At the same time the large mammals began to dominate, the smaller dinosaurs and birds began to experience extinction-level events. This allowed for a niche in arboreal life to begin forming.

For smaller mammals trying to compete for resources with the larger creatures, moving into the trees would make sense. It would be a chance to establish their own habitat, away from the demands that large herds of much larger mammals would allow.

The Lack of a Fossil Record Creates Uncertainty

When looking at the history of the modern primate, there are several problems present that make it difficult to trace the lineage of the species. There are few fossil records that have been found. Our knowledge about continental drift is limited. Changes in biological diversity or geology could have varying levels of influence.

An example of this is the geological record of South America. Research suggests that the South American continent was once part of Africa. This means the fossil record could be separated or even lost because of continental movement.

Arboreal theory must therefore rely on three potential scenarios when looking at the modern primate.

  1. Primates from Africa crossed the Atlantic in some way and found their way to South America to establish a new colony species.
  2. Primates in the Americas gave rise to the modern species in a process that is separate from the African process.
  3. African primates emerged earlier than the current fossil record suggests, which means they could have crossed the Atlantic when it was smaller or when Africa and South America were still one land mass.

There is also the issue of the evolving primate that must be addressed. Primates may have an arboreal ancestry, but the rise of humanity seems to counter the process. At one stage, humanoids emerged from the forests and did not have a tail or extended limb proportions. That means as arboreal primates thrives, there must have been non-arboreal primates that were also thriving.

Otherwise, a group of arboreal primates counter-evolved in their habitat and that evolution forced them to climb down from the trees. That would seem to run counter to the evolutionary process, since both arboreal and non-arboreal primates thrive in the modern world.

The Important Components of Development in the Arboreal Theory

Several of the habits and traits of primates, including their modern descendants, is believed to have developed by their time spent living in trees. This includes several physical traits that can even be found in humanity.

  • The ability to rely on sight instead of smell, even when a fight-or-flight mechanism is required.
  • The development of depth perception that allows for accurate and rapid movement.
  • The development of feet and hands that could grasp food, provide stability, or encourage movement.

Enhanced cognitive functioning was likely part of the evolutionary process as well. There was a need to process information rapidly, especially in an era where the animal population of the planet was rapidly dwindling, to carve out a niche for survival.

The original primates that adapted to the arboreal environment would survive because they had access to a unique food source. No other creatures could gather fruit while it was still on a tree. This meant the early primates had

Modern primates that still life an arboreal life spend much of their time crawling along tree branches. They reach for fruit. They eat with their hands. And, like their ancestors had to do, they continue to adapt. Primates have gone from being fruitarians to eating insects to stealing food from human marketplaces.

There’s just one issue that critics have with this idea: at one point in the earliest stages of this development, primates would have needed to thrive in the arboreal environment without any of the evolved traits. How could this be possible?

Survival of the Fittest Is How Natural Selection Works

Natural selection is the process where the fittest, strongest individuals can survive and then thrive in any given environment. It is an evolutionary process which affects every species on our planet.

In the earliest days of arboreal movement, many primates would have attempted to fill the niche that was available in the trees. Many would not have likely survived because they lacked the traits which would allow them to move safely, collect food, and avoid predators.

Those that had the talents and physical capabilities to make the arboreal transition would be able to carve out their own space on the evolutionary chain. They would have offspring that would retain the characteristics and abilities that allowed for survival.

As for the other primates that could not adapt, they would have likely moved back to the ground and established colonies of non-arboreal primates. From this action, we would receive a distinct separation between the species. This is how humanity could have emerged and why there are distinct tree-based primates in various species.

Survival of the fittest would take on a different meaning for primates as well. Because primates have fewer offspring, the goal of a family unit is to cultivate specific behaviors through protection, nurturing, and teaching. Each learned behavior is passed to the next generation, which allows for knowledge to continue doubling.

This means arboreal theory includes behavioral components that are incredibly complex, creating a distinctive quality: reproduction of the fittest.

The arboreal theory is just one potential explanation to describe how the modern mammal may have emerged. Because there is a lack of evidence in the fossil and geological records, there may never be a definitive fact-based answer that is provide for this part of our planetary history. What we do know is that primates were able to develop the skills necessary to remain arboreal, while others were able to develop the skills necessary to potentially evolve into the first humans.

We continue this evolutionary process today by passing our knowledge and traits to future generations.

No matter how one may believe the universe came into existence, there is a consideration to its existence. It has been proposed that the observations made about the universe must be compatible with the sapient life and the consciousness that is making the observations. This is the foundation of the anthropic universe theory.

This definition makes it possible to explain why there is a repetitive pattern within the universe which offers the fundamental constraints at all levels of existence to support life. Instead of life formation being a “fluke” or done through happenstance, the narrow ranges of life that are compatible with the universe form because there must be compatibility between the universe and the life it supports.

There Are Two Different Variations of the Anthropic Universe Theory

When looking at the universe through the lens of the anthropic theory, there are two possible outcomes.

  • The Strong Anthropic Universe Theory.
  • The Weak Anthropic Universe Theory.

The principles of the strong theory were first introduced by John Barrow and Frank Tipler. Their idea is that the universe is “strongly compelled” to construct itself in a way that encourages the formation of conscious and sapient life.

Those who support the anthropic universe theory, but may disagree with the idea that the universe compels itself to form life, tend to follow a line of thinking that is proposed by Brandon Carter. In the weak version of this theory, the universe would “tune” itself toward the life that has formed within its structures. By have those with consciousness observe the universe, it can then reflect the “tuned” information.

Can an Anthropic Universe Exist Within a Multiverse?

In the anthropic universe theory, only a universe that is capable of supporting life would be able to form life. When considering the idea of a multiverse or alternative/parallel dimensions, it could be possible to have a universe that is completely devoid of life. Does this mean an anthropic principle would not apply in such a structure?

The answer to that depends on what could be observed about the structures of a multiverse or an alternative or parallel dimension. If there is life within those structures, by definition, it would still be anthropic, but tuned to that consciousness instead of our consciousness.

Then, if life in our universe would can observe those structures, the weak principle may apply. That structure would potentially begin to “fine-tune” itself based on the observations from our side, even though we may not be living within that structure.

Is There Observational Evidence of the Anthropic Universe Theory?

John Leslie has suggested that the strong version of the anthropic universe theory should have these predictive qualities.

  • That life with a non-carbon chemistry will be discovered.
  • The theories for how multiple universes form will be numerous.
  • Evidence that the universe tunes itself will continue to accumulate.
  • Galaxy formation studies will confirm its sensitivity to universal expansion.
  • Physical theory will keep evolving to support a probability outcome instead of a deterministic outcome.

The only possible option for observing direct evidence of the weak version of the anthropic universe theory would be to have an opportunity to view a universe that did not include human life, but contained another form of life.

How Anthropic Universe Theory Principles Affect Time

Now, we recognize two dimensions: spatial and temporal. Since 1920 and the work of Paul Ehrenfest, we know that if just one time dimension and more than 3 spatial dimensions exist, then any orbit in the universe would be unstable. This work was expanded in 1963 to include the orbits that electrons have around a nucleus.

That is why the idea of an anthropic universe has merit. Without a universe’s ability to tune itself to the needs of life, that life would be unable to exist. The instability within the basic orbits of electrons would make the universe incapable of sustaining anything.

When all philosophical ideas are included, the idea of an Omega Point may also emerge. These are fixed points in time where the universe evolves or tunes itself to specific events. The initial work on Omega Points was focused on religious events, such as the coming of Christ, but could include any major event that could modify the universe.

The formation of life, for example, would be an Omega Point. In the anthropic universe theory, these fixed points help to “anchor” the universe to the tuning that is required for supporting life in an ongoing manner.

The anthropic universe theory proposes that the structure of our reality has predetermined life. This life may then work with the structures of the universe as it develops to maintain a harmonious existence. In essence, we are here because of the universe and the universe is here because of us.

Have you ever looked at the various continents on Earth and thought: “They look like they could be put together like a jigsaw puzzle?”

That idea was something that Alfred Wegener wanted to pursue. This single large landmass, referred to as “Pangaea,” intrigued Wegener. His primary interest in life was meterology, but then he realized a flooded land bridge would contradict the balance between the mantle and crust of the planet. This caused him to pursue ideas about how Pangaea could have produced how the continents exist today.

By 1912, Wegener was ready to present his continental drift theory. By analyzing fossilized plants, geological structures, and rock types on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, he realized that there were significant similarities to what he was seeing.

What Are the Mechanisms of Wegener’s Continental Drift Theory?

The idea of Pangaea is essentially the beginning of Wegener’s continental drift theory. His argument was one of the first from a scientific foundation that there was once a single landmass on Earth. These land masses were now in their current position because of a drifting mechanism that had occurred.

There were several different ideas that Wegener suggested that could be responsible for the continental drifting process.

  • Polflucht. In this idea, the mechanisms that caused the drift could have been the centrifugal forces that are generated by the rotation of the planet.
  • Sea Floor Spreading. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a zone of floor for the Atlantic Ocean which replicates a mountain range, tearing apart to make room for rising magma, and this could encourage the continents to continue moving.
  • Astronomical Precession. The continents could have been encouraged to drive because of slow and continuous changes that were induced by gravity from heavenly bodies. The orbit of the moon, for example, creates tidal patterns and larger bodies could have exhibited a larger influence that allowed for continental drift.

Although Wegener had several ideas about how the mechanisms of continental drift occurred, he did not pursue each one as he developed his theory. Eventually, he would come to suggest that Polflucht would be the primary method of movement.

The One Main Problem with Wegener’s Continental Drift Theory

When you put a puzzle together, there is only one solution that is the correct one. When you’re trying to find where a piece should go, however, there may be places in the puzzle which seem to be correct, but are eventually proven to be incorrect. Much of the resistance to Wegener’s continental drift theory came about because of how he suggested the continents once fit together.

Wegener used fossil patterns to help shape the map of Pangaea as he saw it. This meant that Antarctica would be used as the root continent and the others would be formed around it. He suggested that Australia would make up the eastern-most continent, while Africa was on the West. Asia would then be between Australia and Africa, while South America would be the furthest west. North America and the upper stretches of Asia and Europe would be the northernmost points, with portions of sea stretched between them.

This is contrary to the modern version of Pangaea, which has Africa as the foundation of the content. The Americas then wrap around Africa, with Eurasia in the North, Antarctica to the South, and Australia even further south when using conventional continental borders.

What Is Unique About the Pangaea Concept?

Forming supercontinents seems to be a pattern of behavior for the planet. There may have been 5 total supercontinents that were on our planet and each one of them are believed to have broken apart. Using the concepts of continental drift theory by Wegener, we are about halfway toward the formation of a sixth supercontinent.

This is because the current rate of drift, based on how the continental plates move on Earth, is estimated to be 2.5 centimeters per year. Wegener found resistance to his theory because his first proposals estimated drift rates to be at 250 centimeters per year.

At that rate of drift, the next supercontinent is believed to be connected in the north, with bridging between Eurasia and North America occurring. The name of this potential new supercontinent has been dubbed “Amasia.”

Since it is estimated that Pangaea, the last great supercontinent, existed about 300 million years ago, estimates for the new supercontinent to form using continental drift theory range from 50 million years to 200 million years from now.

Alfred Wegener’s continental drift theory faced fierce resistance initially, partially because of his outsider status, and partially due to his ideas of how the continents fit together. As we’ve studied this idea over the decades, however, it has come to be the accepted theory of why our land areas are in their current location.

Introduced in 2001, Kory Floyd suggests through the affection exchange theory that the relationships people form is a method of communication. A man’s affection toward his son is due to reproductive probability and becomes a predictor for the affection shown. This affection, when present or not present, has both short-term and long-term effects that can alter how people communicate with one another.

The theoretical components of the affection exchange theory by Floyd are as follows.

  • Affection is a method of communication which encourages adaptive behaviors, contributing to humanity’s ability to have procreative success and long-term viability as a species.
  • It promotes bonding as a form of communication, allowing for individuals to have access to a greater set of resources that would not be available to them without such a bond.
  • Exchanging affection is an indication that an individual is ready for parenthood and makes for a good bonding prospect.

There is a generational component to affection exchange theory as well. Floyd suggests that when parents communicate affection to their children, then those children are more likely to reproduce successfully when they are ready. The genetics of affection are then passed down to another generation, while being able to support relationships at every generational level simultaneously.

Expectations of Communication Within the Affection Exchange Theory

One of the more unique components of the affection exchange theory that Floyd suggest is that humans have an “expectation’ to receive this type of communication. Although affection can be an adaptive behavior which benefits the long-term survival of humanity and gives people access to greater resources, it is sought after because of an internal “curiosity.”

Have you ever looked at the relationship of a bonded couple or a parent and their child and either smiled or become jealous of it? In the affection exchange theory, the emotions which were felt occurred because of the communication that was received through an observation of the affection on display.

Someone would smile because what has been communicated to them reminded them of their own bonds. Jealousy would form because that person wants the same kind of bonds that they just observed.

According to Floyd, the various communications of affections to which we are all exposed to every day suggests that a personal affection for an individual will increase as the need to enhance their survival increases.

Affection Exchange Theory and Darwinism

Charles Darwin suggested that life evolves based on the concept of the “survival of the fittest.” Animals who are the most dominant tend to pass on their genetics to the next generation. Floyd suggests that the foundations of affection within humanity provide a similar method of interaction between individuals.

The ultimate role of every human is based on a desire to pass their genes onto the next generation. Individuals would intentionally and unintentionally do whatever they could to make sure this event occurred. Showing more affection to a child is an attempt to make sure that the child will want to one day have the same relationship with their own children.

Floyd suggests that because certain individuals may not be interested in having children one day because of their genetics or sexual preferences, that changes how affection is communicated from parent to child. Through his research, Floyd suggests that fathers show less affection toward their children because they identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

This affection may be excused as a “religious” behavior or some other outside influence, but the core of change to the behavior exhibited by a father has to do with the recognition that their genetics are less likely to be passed down to another generation after their son.

Floyd also suggests that the communication of affection between a father and a son may encourage non-reproductive behaviors or preferences in the child as they age. Fathers who may be uninterested in having their genes passed to future generations would alter their communication of affection so that their sons would be less willing to having their own children at a later time.

Why the Affection Exchange Theory is Critical to Human Development

The communication that a father shows his son is directly correlated with the amount of affection that their son will communicate with their own children.

What is unique about this type of relationship is how step-parenting is involved. There is an affection preference for biological parents in this communication. Step-parents can have a positive or negative influence on the future potential affection of a child, but that influence is based on the foundation of what the biological parent has provided.

The next time you say, “I love you,” it may be an expression of your current feelings. It is also a communication for the future of your family line, according to the affection exchange theory.

Abraham Maslow earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of Wisconsin in 1934. In the early days of his career, he worked with monkeys and noted that they tended to fulfill their needs in specific order of importance. As he observed how those monkeys met their personal needs, Maslow recognized that humans acted in a similar way.

In Maslow’s personality theory, people act to make sure their core needs are first met. As those needs are fulfilled, they will then begin to meet their next basic needs. This continues until all needs are met, allowing the individual to achieve their full potential.

Maslow determined that there were five stages of needs that humans would work to meet. He formed the shape of those needs into a pyramid because the needs at the bottom would have a greater preference than the staged needs at the top of his proposal.

What Are the 5 Stages of the Abraham Maslow Personality Theory?

When composing his psychological tiers, Maslow grouped the basic needs of humanity into 5 distinct stages.

1. Physiological Needs. These needs would include the basics for survival. Water, food, sleep, and a desire for warmth (or a cooler environment if too hot) would be the first desires that a person would strive to meet.

2. Safety Needs. A person would then wish to feel safe and secure after they have met the basics of physical survival. This might include being able to live in a locked home, finding a safe neighborhood with a minimal crime history, or finding a job that can provide a regular income.

3. Love Needs. Once an individual has met all their basic needs of life preservation, they can move on to meeting their psychological needs. This means creating a feeling of “belongingness” to their lives. People at this stage will seek out friendships and work to form intimate relationships with others.

4. Esteem Needs. When an individual has formed several relationships, including an intimate relationship, then they begin to seek out ways to achieve positive self-esteem. They look for opportunities where they can earn societal prestige. There is a desire to pursue a feeling of accomplishment.

5. Self-Actualization. This final stage is the place where an individual can begin pursuing creative activities which have meaning to them. It is where individuals can pursue their full potential in every area of life.

The 5-stage model offered by Maslow can be broken into two different sets of needs. The first two stages (physiological and safety) are basic needs that must be met. The next two stages (love and esteem) are psychological needs. The final stage is then a self-fulfillment need.

The second way to look at these stages is to look at them as “deficiency needs” and “growth needs.” In this method, the first four stages (physiological, safety, love, and esteem) are the deficiency needs for an individual, while the final stage (self-actualization) is the growth need.

Why Do We Focus on Deficiency Needs So Often?

Even when an individual can reach the stage of self-actualization, the time they spend within this stage can be very limited. This is because there is a greater motivation to meet the deficiency needs than there is to meet the growth needs. If an individual goes all day without eating, the amount of hunger they experience is likely to grow. If they lack water, then feelings of being thirsty will keep growing as well.

Those feelings create a need that must be met. It is difficult to focus on being creative if one’s stomach is continually complaining about a lack of food.

When the deficiency has been met, then the feelings that “require” a person to meet that need disappear. This allows an individual to move upward on their pyramid of stages, according to Maslow.

Fluctuations between the various stages can occur at any time. People may move through the hierarchy of stages on a regular basis. Everyone experiences fluctuations every day. If you’re hungry and it is time for dinner, you tend to stop what you are doing so you can eat. Even if you’re driving, you might go through a drive-thru at a quick-service restaurant to order food.

The act of pulling into the drive-thru lane is evidence that the individual is meeting a basic deficiency need.

Life experiences can change how each person addresses their hierarchy of needs in the Abraham Maslow personality theory as well. Someone going through a divorce or experiences a long period of being unemployed will meet their needs differently than someone in a happy marriage and long-term employment.

Maslow suggests that just 1% of people can reach their full potential. That is because society tends to reward motivations based on deficiency needs instead of growth needs. By recognizing this fact, it can become possible to recognize a personal hierarchy of needs so that self-actualization can be achieved.