Definitions and Examples of Theory

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.

Language is an important method of communication for people. According to Innatist theory, the ability to understand a first-language creates the opportunity to unlock knowledge that a human is believed to be able to process innately. Innatist theory is an idea that has had many pioneers over the decades, but much of the credit for this theory is given to Noam Chomsky.

Chomsky looked at the current theories about behavior in children and found that something was lacking in them. Many arguments suggested that children tend to learn language by imitating those who are close to them, such as their parents. If imitation was truly the foundation of first-language understanding, the Chomsky had an important question to ask.

Why do children often say things that they have never heard before?

To solve this issue, Chomsky formed the foundation of the Innatist theory. He suggests that children are born with a built-in ability to learn a first-language. He refers to this ability as LAD – a “Language Acquisition Device.”

Do People Have Built-in Rules for All Human Languages?

Within the Innatist theory, Chomsky suggests that there is a template for learning a first-language. He puts for the idea that everyone is born with a common set of rules that are followed to learn this language. Called “Universal Grammar,” this theory suggests that infants can pick up on grammatical language rules as communication occurs around them. Because they hear words spoken in a specific way, they can construct their first-language grammar on their own.

Children then test out their grammar templates as they get older so they can refine their language. A classic example of this testing process occurs when a child is referring to something in the past tense. Many children, when referring to a previous snack or meal, recognize that they were eating. They can also recognize that in English, a past tense of a verb ends with “ed.” For this reason, you’ll see many young children learning English as a first-language saying that they “eated” something.

Of course, a parent or adult who is fluent in the first-language will correct the grammatical error. “It’s not ‘eated,’ but ate.” The child then learns different past-tense grammatical rules to specific words and will become more fluent in their first-language.

This means children, even before they make it to school, are creating sentences that are based on the rules of language so they can speak that language fluently. Schools, when teaching grammatical rules, aren’t specifically teaching a “language.” They are teaching children how to translate their knowledge of a spoken first-language into a writing-based communication method.

The Idea of Innatism is an Ancient One

Although Chomsky is often credited as a pioneer of Innatist theory, he was far from the first theorist or philosopher to suggest that the human mind has knowledge which is thought to be universal in concept. Innatism is at the foundation of the nature vs nurture debate.

One of the first ideas that could be considered an Innatist theory comes to us from Plato. He suggested that there are concepts which humanity believes to be universally true, but that truth doesn’t come from knowledge that is conveyed from one person to another. In “Meno,” Plato talks of a situation when Socrates spoke with a boy about geometry. The boy, who had no knowledge of geometric theorems, could answer the questions accurately.

Descartes also suggested that humans have innate knowledge that presents itself in the thoughts that each person forms over the course of their life. Even sensory ideas are shaped by an innate ability or knowledge that is present from birth.

Criticism of Innatist Theory

John Locke is often referenced when criticizing Innatist theory. Locke suggests that there is no universal assent. He suggests that people are born with a blank slate. Their knowledge comes from sensory data that is formed through empirical knowledge that is obtained through observation and inquiry.

Where one person might see no explanation for a statement from a child, Locke suggests that people are collecting information from the moment they are born. This information is retained by the brain and can then be accessed when there is a first-language capability available to them.

What seems innate is instead empirical learning, which would then make Innatist theory irrelevant.

As environments change, new information must be obtained to allow for survival. When an environment is stable, the only information that would be required is that which would be required for survival. Stability would mean that information could be obtained once and then used throughout a lifetime.

How one sees the world will likely depend on how they view Innatist theory. If the world is a place of constants, then Innatist theory makes sense. If the world is ever-changing, then this theory could not apply.

The creation of the universe continues to be one of the greatest mysteries of science. We may be able to peer into the clues from the initial development of our current reality, but how that reality began is still an unknown. Why the universe continues to exist is also a potential unknown.

One generally accepted theory regarding the creation of the universe is that it occurred with a “big bang.” The inflationary universe theory was developed in 1980 to help compliment this theory. That is because the idea of having a Big Bang comes with three very difficult problems which need to be solved.

The standard Big Bang theory lacks explanations for these issues.

  • Flatness. Current research indicates that the geometry of our universe is basically flat. Using the standard Big Bang theory, however, indicates that there should be a curvature which continues to grow over time.
  • Horizon. The universe as we know it is extremely vast. The opposite directions are so far apart, in fact, that light would not have enough time to travel the distance based on the current estimated age of the universe. This is even though the uniformity of cosmic background radiation suggests that these regions were once in contact with one another.
  • Monopoles. The standard Big Bang theory suggests that magnetic monopoles should have been created during the early days of the universe. These have never been observed, so if they do exist, then they are less common then the theory predicts them to be.

The inflationary universe theory works to solve these problems.

How Does the Inflationary Universe Theory Compliment the Big Bang?

The inflationary universe theory suggests that the early universe experienced a time of rapid and exponential expansion. This period of expansion occurred before the expansion that would be called the “Big Bang.” Develop by Andy Albrecht, Alan Guth, Andrei, Linde, and Paul Steinhardt, this theory suggests that a strong increase in the linear size of the universe in a fraction of a second.

It helps to solve the problems from the standard Big Bang theory very effectively as well.

  • Flatness. Imagine that you’re living on top of a basketball. To you, the universe is obviously curved and has some cool orange bumps on it. You’re in a closed universe. Now let’s say that basketball is expanded to the size of our planet. Suddenly the basketball looks flat instead of curved because if its new size. Goodbye orange bumps too.
  • Horizon. Because of the inclusion of a brief period of extremely rapid expansion, the regions of the universe that seem related, but impossible to be together because of their distance apart, would have touched each other briefly during the initial expansion phase of the universe.
  • Monopoles. The density of magnetic monopoles would drop exponentially during inflation, which would mean their existence would be virtually undetectable since their formation would be produced prior to the period of inflation instead of afterward.

The inflationary universe theory explains the deficiencies of the standard Big Bang theory so well that it is treated as an extension of the original theory. It also helps to explain the original structure of the universe. At its earlies moments, the universe we could observe would be microscopic. Over time, the inflationary process would make it macroscopic. Higher density regions would then be able to condense into galaxy clusters, stars, and other forms of detectable energy.

How Could Inflation Occur in the Earliest Days of the Universe?

The basic idea behind the inflationary universe theory is that expansion occurred because gravity once present in a repulsive form. This allowed the universe to expand because gravity was pushing it outward. The repulsive gravity could then be present because of the gravitational fields, energy densities, and pressures that were present in the earliest moments of universal creation.

We’ve also discovered that in modern particle theories, a material with a negative pressure is easy to construct from a field that may exist.

By putting the two ideas together, the theory of general relativity supports the idea that repulsion, powered by gravity, allows for the rapid expansion of the initial universe. Then, by adding the traditional Big Bang principles, we are able to arrive at the status of the universe that can be observed today.

Testing the Inflationary Universe Theory

One of the best aspects of the inflationary universe theory is that there are two primary predictions contained within it that can be potentially tested. This includes the mass density of the university itself and the densities of the present non-uniformities.

What makes the expansion possible is the fact that there is so much stability in the universe in its early and present form. This means there must be a large amount of dark matter contained in the universe to support galaxy formation and retention. The amount of dark energy could be up to 10 times the amount of visible matter that is observable in the current universe.

We can see this principle in play by observing galaxies that are in clusters compared to galaxies that are isolated from one another. By asking how much energy is required to hold galaxy clusters together and comparing that to individual galaxy stability, it becomes possible to continue supporting the ideas of the inflationary universe theory that are also supported by the theory of general relativity.

What the Inflationary Universe Theory Means for Universal Death

Because of the plausibility of the inflationary universe theory being correct, then the head death of the universe is a plausible fate for our current definition of reality. Because the universe is continuing to expand and is doing so at an increasing speed, the possibility that there would be no more thermodynamic energy one day becomes a real possibility. Processes that increase entropy would no longer be sustained.

This means no processes, including temperature differences, would be able to be exploited within the framework to perform work. Equilibrium would be achieved

It is a plausible outcome because evidence suggests that the universe is forever expansive and will not collapse upon itself. Dark energy is also considered to be a positive cosmological constant with current research. Both would contribute to an eventual heat death as the universe cools to an equilibrium with a low temperature over a long period of time.

There’s nothing to worry about for the time being regarding the eventual demise of the universe. The half-life of Hawking radiation is thought to be 10 to the 100th power, which is ten duotrigintillion – or a googol if you prefer.

The inflationary universe theory is an elegant explanation to help explain the formation of our current reality. There are many great mysteries still waiting to be discovered as well. That’s what makes scientific studies our real final frontier. It embraces the idea of “I don’t know” and seeks a solution.

Addiction can be a complex issue. The reasons why a person may become addicted to drugs, alcohol, or certain activities can be quite varied. Some may see addiction as a disease, while others may see it as a personal choice that is made repeatedly. If addiction is a disease, however, there is the potential to find a cure. That is what the incentive sensitization theory attempts to find.

First suggested by Drs. Terry Robinson and Kent Berridge in 1993, the idea behind this theory is that a person can change how their brain sees addiction. People consume alcohol, take drugs, or choose certain activities because it feels like a reward. It makes life feel “normal.” Incentive sensitization works to change the definition of “normal” for that person who is struggling with addiction.

What Are the 4 Steps of Addiction?

Addiction is more than just a learned behavior or a repetitive choice. It is a series of circumstances that occurs over the course of 4 distinct steps for every individual.

1. People who are susceptible to addictive tendencies can experience hypersensitization if they are repeatedly or frequently exposed to a trigger. Every time the trigger is accepted, the brain is stimulated and this creates pleasure with great intensity.
2. Over time, incentive salience is developed. People with an addiction begin experiencing physical symptoms when they do not have access to their trigger. This creates a strong desire for the trigger that is more than just “wanting” it. The brain is communicating that the trigger is needed “or else.”
3. The physical or emotional need to have an addictive trigger ensures that there will be repetitive choices to obtain it, use it, or perform.
4. Each use of a trigger strengthens the unconscious force that drives a need for it in the future, which then creates a conscious desire to obtain the trigger.

Addiction is more than just a “need” to obtain a specific item or perform a specific behavior. As a person uses the same item over and over and performs the same action over and over, it requires more of the trigger to bring the same amount of pleasure. An alcoholic, for example, might initially feel satisfied by have three shots, but over time, they might still feel unsatisfied after an entire bottle of scotch.

Behaviors act the same way for individuals who are hypersensitive to addictive tendencies. Someone addicted to gambling might feel satisfied after spending $200 on table games. Over time, they might still feel unsatisfied after gambling away tens of thousands of dollars, even if they have left themselves with enormous debts. It isn’t the payout that is the focus of the behavior. It is the actual process of gambling and the thrill that it provides.

Why Incentive Sensitization Theory is an Effective Resource

As people progress through the steps of addiction, it is quite common for their pleasure of the item to completely disappear. They might be completely disgusted by the sight of alcohol or dread going to the casino, but they are still feel the need to be there because of the physical and emotional dependence on the trigger. It is the unconscious effects of an addiction that cause this behavior.

Many addicts say that they want to change their habits and will try to do it on their own. They fail simply because there is such a dependence on the trigger.

Incentive sensitization helps individuals who are in recovery begin to see that a craving isn’t a personal fault. It is a physical mechanism that is created because of their hypersensitivity to a trigger. The negative stigmas in society regarding addiction often make people look at themselves as “failures” or “undeserving” and this is simply not true.

With incentive sensitization theory, it is the dopamine released by the brain that creates the emotional and physical need to continue following an addiction. Even something as simple as a favorite food can be enough to form a trigger that develops a cue that cannot be ignored.

Dopamine and the Incentive Sensitization Theory

In the past, dopamine was thought to be a pleasure neurotransmitter alone. Today, it is thought to mediate the rewards that a person experiences, leading to incentive salience. That is why many former addicts tend to relapse after quitting, even after several years of sobriety. All it takes is one decision to listen to the incentive salience and the addiction trigger returns to take over that person’s life.

Berridge and Robinson have helped to redefine what we think about addiction in society, but the incentive sensitization theory is only the first step in a complex treatment process. Until a treatment can be developed to stop the brain from awarding the “wanting” mechanisms that are often unconscious, addiction will continue to be a struggle for many.

Criminal justice systems in today’s world utilize incapacitation theory as a method to stop the activities of habitual criminals. The goal is to create long-term sentences that are served in a way to incapacitate the offender so they can no longer be a threat to society. It removes the ability of an individual to commit a future crime by removing them from society instead of attempting to rehabilitate them or prevent them from making such a decision in the future.

What Happens with a Longer Prison Sentence?

In the 1990s, the United States experienced a very sharp drop in the rate of crime across virtually all geographic and demographic areas. Part of this drop is attributed to the effects of incapacitation theory. When the sentences for a crime were lengthened to do habitual criminal activities, such as the “three strikes laws,” then criminals were remove from the general society. This prevented them from committing a future crime.

To further encourage this effect, many states in the US changed their standard sentencing statutes for a wide variety of crimes. The number of credits that a prisoner could earn to reduce their sentence were reduced at the same time. Some states even passed laws which required a prisoner to serve 85% of their sentence before they’d be eligible for parole.

Since the 1990s, recidivism rates have continued to climb from around 70%. When prisoners are released early because of cost problems, there are corresponding rises to local crime rates. The balance of cost and societal safety is always a point of emphasis within the implementation of incapacitation theory.

There are other drastic examples of incapacitation theory at work. In the US, certain sexually-based offenses qualify under the criminal justice system to have sentences indefinitely extended due to their ongoing threat toward society. Elsewhere around the world, the idea of cutting off the hand of a thief is also an example of incapacitation theory, because the idea of losing hands makes it more difficult to remove items without permission.

What Are the Benefits of Incapacitation Theory?

The primary benefit of incapacitation theory is that it removes habitual offenders from a society. Instead of committing multiple crimes and putting people at risk, the offender is incapacitated in the criminal justice system and not allowed to return. They receive limited interactions with the outside world at best.

It is also a way to control high-risk individuals who commit violent crime. By requiring ongoing evaluations for violent offenders, even after a sentence has been completed, the society gains a benefit by not needing to worry about an individual attempting to harm them.

It is also an effective deterrent to crime. When individuals have a decision between a moment of gratification and a lifetime of incapacitation, the choice to commit a crime becomes more difficult. There will always be some that prefer prison to society, but the implementation of incapacitation theory helps to weed out those who are sitting on the fence or looking for a quick thrill.

Challenges of the Incapacitation Theory

Cost is the primary challenge of the incapacitation theory from a US perspective. Housing habitual felons for a lifetime sentence has had rising costs since the 1990s. In some areas, the cost of housing a single prisoner exceeds $25,000 per year. At some point, the costs of housing habitual offenders exceeds what the monetary base of a society is able to contribute, which means certain offenders will be released early under the risk of recidivism.

There is also a question of morality. Is it right to remove an individual from society to keep the many safe, but at the expense of helping the individual who has been incapacitated? Some may argue that people need to be punished for their crimes, but what is the definition of a “just” punishment? Moral standards are often defined in personal terms, so developing a consensus in a society can be difficult.

Incapacitation also has an unintended negative effect for the families of the individuals who have been taken out of society. It keeps parents away from children, creates societal stigmas, and can even limit familial employment opportunities.

Incapacitation theory is not without its controversies. It may be effective in certain situations, but it may also tread upon that individual’s basic rights. There may never be a perfect balance between cost and imprisonment, but there must also be safety that can be found within society and that requires a legal structure.

How effective this theory will ultimately be in modern terms will be judged by history.

Dr. Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard have identified four primary leadership styles that are implemented in personal and professional circumstances.

  • Telling. This type of leader tends to tell their direct reports what to do and how the task needs to be completed with specificity.
  • Selling. This leader engages in a back-and-forth interaction between the leaders in their group and the followers. The ideas are sold to the group as a way to get the entire team to “buy-in” for the process which needs to be completed.
  • Participating. This type of leader offers less direction to their direct reports, allowing the individuals on their team to take on an active problem-solving role. These leaders help the team to brainstorm ideas, make their own decisions, and oversee the process to ensure its completion.
  • Delegating. This leader takes a hands-off approach to their direct reports. Members of the team are generally asked to make a majority of the decisions and are responsible for the outcomes which occur. The role of the leader is to take tasks that are given and then distribute them to appropriate team members.

The Hersey-Blanchard situational leadership theory suggests that there is a fifth type of leader: one that can adapt their style based on the situation that they encounter. In some situations, they may need to have a telling style. In others, they may need to be a participating leader. By being adaptive, the situational leader can lead their direct reports in the most efficient manner possible because they’ve been able to identify the team’s current needs.

How Maturity Affects the Leadership Style Chosen

Hersey and Blanchard suggest with their leadership theory that individuals choose what type of leader they plan to be. One of the key identification markers which leaders use to determine the type of leader they will be is the maturity level of their direct reports.

In general terms, teams that are less mature are going to require more hands-on leadership from the person who is designated to be in charge. The situational leadership theory identifies 4 general types of maturity that are recognized.

  • Level 1. The direct reports lack the knowledge needed to complete the job. They may not have the skills which are necessary or a willingness to complete a task.
  • Level 2. A team with this maturity level is willing to complete a task, but do not have the necessary skills to get the job done.
  • Level 3. Direct reports with this maturity level have the capability and skills to complete a task, but they do not wish to take responsibility for the decisions that may need to be made.
  • Level 4: This team is highly skilled, willing to complete any task, and willing to accept the responsibility for the outcomes which are achieved.

These levels are not static. People develop new skills every day. Situational leaders can recognize this fact and adapt their leadership style to the changing maturity levels of their direct reports. A new job may require a telling style of leadership because there isn’t any knowledge or skill available to complete a task. As time passes and team members become qualified, the leader may transition to a participating style so that the team can develop their problem-solving skills next.

By being adaptable, leaders can then avoid the pitfalls which occur when someone is locked into a specific style. A team that is very mature will struggle with a leader who wants to take a telling approach because they already have developed the necessary skills to work independently. The same is true for the opposite type of team. Taking a delegating leadership approach to an unskilled team will make it difficult to complete an assigned task.

Behavior and Situational Leaders

Individuals must also be addressed by situational leaders because a team-only approach does not account for enough variables. Some team members may have high commitment levels, but low competence levels. Some people are self-reliant achievers, with a commitment to the cause and a high commitment level.

There may also be disillusioned workers on a team, who have an average level of competence, but have low levels of commitment because of setbacks that have happened to them. Some may be cautious with their commitment levels, waiting to see what leadership style is going to be employed.

The Hersey-Blanchard situational leadership theory makes it possible for today’s leaders to recognize the skills, maturity, and behaviors of their direct reports and adjust their leadership style to meet specific needs. In doing so, it becomes possible to lead any team to a successful outcome.