Theories and Models


In 1963, Erving Goffman published Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. It is an examination of how an individual protects their personal identify if they depart from an approved standard of conduct, behavior, or appearance. It is essentially a way for people to manage an impression of themselves.

For most people, the primary method used to avoid stigma is concealment.

This is because the perception of a stigma will often result in shame. There is a personal disappointment in an inability to meet the standards that other people or society in general has set for them. There is also a fear of being discredited, which causes an individual to conceal whatever shortcomings they feel that they have.

Think of a person with a criminal record. They might withhold this information when meeting someone new to prevent being judged off of the record instead of who they are as a person.

This is expanded upon in an essay by Goffman called “Face Work,” which was published in Interaction Ritual and originally written in 1955. When combined, Goffman notes that there are three types of symbolic imagery which influence how individuals may think, act, or react. These are stigma symbols, prestige symbols, and what Goffman calls “disidentifiers.”

How Face and Stigma Theory Is Applied

Goffman offers the idea that the interactions people have with one another on a daily basis are like a theatrical performance. This is especially true when two strangers encounter one another. Each person has the goal of controlling the first impression that the other individual has of them. They will guide this impression by withholding information, altering their own setting, or even changing their appearance and mannerisms to create the desired result.

The performance is likened to what happens on a theatrical stage because there are two elements: what is provided to the audience and what occurs backstage. This creates a dual role for each person.

  • For the onstage performance, an individual becomes the person they feel an individual wants them to be or what society demands of them. It is what occurs through social interactions and results in positive self-concepts when the desired first impression is offered and then successfully received.
  • For the backstage performance, there doesn’t actually need to be a performance. It is a place that is hidden and private, allowing individuals the opportunity to drop the role or identity that they offer to the world. There is no longer a need to follow the demands that society offers here.

At the same time this face-to-face “performance” is happening, the individual attempting to garner an accurate first impression of the individual is working to obtain more information from them.

Goffman notes that he believes this practice is performed because it offers both people an opportunity to avoid embarrassment. This is because society is a living, breathing entity. Every person feels the need to act differently in changing situations.

Where Does an Individual Prefer to Find Action?

The vehicle which drives face-to-face interactions and stigma avoidance in the face and stigma theory is action. People are drawn to social spaces where an action they prefer takes place. It is, in a sense, the way they “worship” what the world has to offer.

Worship is often associated with religion, but an individual can worship sports, gambling, or taking physical risks just as much as they can worship a deity. This is the action which will ultimately define the performance that an individual offers to others.

Someone trying to gain acceptance at church might withhold the fact that they cheated on their spouse. An individual wanting acceptance through gambling might risk more money, buy drinks for others, or become extroverted when they’re really an introvert.

The goal is to earn respect through the acceptance of the performance. The “true” self is set aside so that the face-to-face encounters can create a different reality. In return, individuals are able to control the fine details and the major events of their life without being exposed to an overt amount of shame in the process.

Avoiding stigmas is a natural process that we all take on in some way. It often occurs in our face-to-face encounters, but we also see it occur on social media, in our correspondence, and other interactive aspects of life. We do this because we want people to think a certain away about who we are and what we do. When these actions are taken, we are implementing Erving Goffman’s face and stigma theory.


How do adults stay happy as they get older? According to the activity theory of aging, older adults who remain active and are able to maintain their social interactions find the highest degrees of happiness in their lives.

First developed by Robert Havighurst in 1961, the theory proposes that older adults maintain an optimal aging rate when they are able to continue pursuing activities and relationships which interest them. It assumes that there is a positive relationship between one’s overall satisfaction and their ability to participate in activities.

How Does the Activity Theory of Aging Work?

When an individual is able to engage in a full day of activities, then they are able to perceive a personal level of productivity. This, in turn, allows this person to age in a successful way.

To put it another way: the more you’re able to do as you get older, then the better your body will be aging.

We can see this theory in practical ways almost every day. Most people who continue to be active and engaged in their community in some way are typically happier and healthier than those who are not. This is because there is a connection between the person and the world around them.

And although this theory applies to older adults, it really is applicable to anyone of any age. With engagement comes happiness.

Who Was Robert Havighurst?

Robert Havighurst was born in Wisconsin in 1900. He would earn his PhD in Chemistry from Ohio State in 1924 and became a Fulbright Scholar in 1953-1954. Over his career, he would publish numerous papers regarding his studies on the structure of the atom. He would even become a post-doctorate fellow at Harvard to study atomic structure.

At the age of 28, he decided to make a career change and began to work in the field of experimental education. In just 12 years, he would become a professor at the University of Chicago in their education department and would sit on the Committee of Human Development. His focus tended to be in the field of aging.

Havighurst would identify six major stages of human life, with “later maturity” occurring at the age of 60 and older. With the stages of life identified, he was able to create developmental tasks that would help to further the satisfaction of age at each stage. Tasks that came from maturation, personal values, and alleviate the pressures of society were all deemed to be beneficial.

It is from this that the activity theory of aging originated. It is reflected in this quote from him: “The two basic principle processes of education are knowing and valuing.”

This is why there is some criticism of Havighurst’s theory. He recognized that education became valuable through knowledge and value of that knowledge, yet created a theory for aging that was essentially based on only choosing to perform an activity.

When the educational processes and the activity theory of aging are combined, the theory of aging that Havighurst presents becomes much more meaningful.

What Are the Critiques of the Active Theory of Aging?

The primary critique of Havighurst’s theory is that it overlooks inequality. Not every aging adult has the same health status. There may be economic factors which inhibit an individual’s ability to pursue relationships or engage in preferred activities. Some older adults may also derive satisfaction from their ability to no longer pursue a new challenge.

The theory also states that “being busy” can be just as helpful as pursuing something that you are passionate about. If you can hop onto a stationary bike and ride 10 miles, that’s about as good as playing a round of golf. There needs to be something fulfilling about the activities which are being performed instead of simply performing an activity.

There is also the issue to considered when it comes to life maintenance. Imagine being a prolific writer for more than 40 years for an employer. When you retire, you no longer have the means to publish on your own. Taking up another activity, like photography, will not be as satisfying, especially if there was a great love for writing. This means that the active theory of aging could be more accurate if it looked at the whole of a person’s life instead of only during the elder years.

The activity theory of aging is just one way to look at how we can age successfully. By continuing habits, relationships, and taking advantage of lifestyle opportunities, it may be possible to age gracefully in the best possible way.


When discussing the theory of evolution, it is Charles Darwin who often comes to mind first. Darwinism is often promoted as the primary evolutionary theory, but it isn’t the only theory of evolution that exists.

Charles Lyell also offered a theory of evolution, some of which was based on his friend Darwin’s observations. What made Lyell’s theory unique was the fact that he is recognized as one of the first to believe that Earth could be more than 300 million years old. He made this decision based on geological anomalies that he observed.

How Lyell Became Introduced to the Theory of Evolution

In 1827, Lyell receive a copy of a publication from Jean Baptiste Lamarck, an early proposer of evolutionary theory. Although he agreed with Lamarck that the planet was probably older than anyone had previously thought, he disagreed with the idea that mutations were one of the main causes of evolutionism.

These thoughts led Lyell to write Principles. In it, he proposed that there were new species that had been created on our planet through natural methods.

When Darwin embarked on his famous Beagle survey expedition, one of the items that he took along was Lyell’s publication. Some of Lyell’s ideas about the geological composition of the planet and how that related to its actual age were supported by Darwin’s findings. This drew the two men together, especially since there was a desire to square up their religious beliefs with their religious findings.

For Lyell in particular, the idea that natural selection was the primary evolutionary force at work was a difficult idea to accept. Nevertheless, he became instrumental in arranging for the publication of the theory of natural selection. For Darwin’s theory, he relied on Lyell’s observations regarding stratigraphy so that the concept of “geologic time” was supported.

Lyell and His Equivocal Acceptance of Natural Selection

It is the tenth edition of Principles that is often looked at when examining Lyell’s theory of evolution. In this edition, entitled “The Antiquity of Man,” Lyell suggested that Darwin’s theories were a modification of Larmarck’s ideas about evolution. He also suggested that the “gulf” between men and animals remained a “profound mystery.”

Darwin disagreed with the observations, yet the impact on the field of science through Lyell’s observations could not be discounted.

Through his geological surveys, Lyell helped to form the concepts of how a society could identify natural resources. His work to understand earthquakes went beyond their destructive power to look at the actual cause of them and the evidence of fissures of faults.

Lyell also focused on volcanoes and theorized that there was an up-building process at work instead of a general upheaval action, which at the time was supported by most geologists.

It was his work in the field of stratigraphy that would help him influence evolution, however, as he looked at how fossils and shells were placed within the rock layers, or strata, in the ground. Lyell concluded that by categorizing the number of marine shells within a specific layer of rock, a picture of the planet at the time of formation could be created.

Lyell was the first to suggest that the Tertiary period should be divided into three parts instead of being taken as a whole. He also renamed the periods, which we now call eras, to the names that are generally accepted today in all of science: Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic.

Glaciers and Their Impact on the Theory of Evolution

Lyell proposed the idea that an iceberg could be the cause of transporting “erratics.” An erratic is a rock that differs in shape and size from other surrounding rocks. In times of global warming, Lyell theorized, ice would come from the poles and float across submerged lands, carrying debris with it.

Then, as the waters recede and lands emerge, the erratics would provide evidence of drift.

Although some of Lyell’s theories have been disproven, especially in terms of glacier movement, the framework that he was able to create is still in use today. Many of his observational methods are still used as foundational principles in the field of geology.

And as for his theory of evolution, it is Lyell’s work that is included with Darwin’s theories that has more influence today rather than his own theories. For many years, Lyell refused to consider evolution as it was being proposed as a valid theory. He eventually offered what could be considered a “compromise” between religion and science, which was reflective more of his internal conflicts than his actual scientific observations.


Proposed in 1965 by Edward Jones and Keith Davis, the correspondent inference theory is a method of systemically accounting for the inferences of a perceiver in regards to what an actor may be attempting to achieve thorough a specific action. The goal of this theory is to find an explanation as to why an internal or an external attribution may be being made.

This allows individuals to be able to compare the actions they decided to take with any alternative actions that may have been available. It is a process which allows them to be able to determine if their behavior was caused by an internal trigger or an external influence that was observed in another person.

It is a thinking process that allows each individual to go through a series of three sequential questions when evaluating the actual action which they decided to take.

  • Was there a choice available to partake in the action?
  • Is the behavior that was displayed something that would be expected in their social role?
  • Are the behavioral consequences a result of their normal behavior?

How Do We Attribute Intention to an Action?

Defining an intention can be a difficult process. The motives that someone may have in taking an observed act could be many when looked at from an external lens.

Jones and Davis use the example of observing someone purchasing another individual a drink while visiting a bar. What could be happening when you see this action being taken? The person could be buying the drink as a favor for their friend who is broke. It could be in return for a drink that was purchased for them previously. It might also be a way to introduce themselves to a stranger.

The fact is that for intention to be defined, there are three assumptions that must be evaluated through the correspondent inference theory.

1. Does the actor know the consequences of their actions?

If an individual does not know what will happen when they take an action, then their intent from an external standpoint becomes difficult to define. You might turn on a television, expected it to turn on so you can watch your favorite show, and not realize that turning on the TV will cause it to blow up.

2. Does the actor have the actual ability to perform an action?

Sometimes people may have the intent to complete an action, but may not have the ability to do so. It requires a trained brain surgeon to successfully complete a surgical treatment on the brain. Someone who plays video games for a living would not have the ability to understand the consequences of their action, which would eliminate the definition of intent.

3. Is there an intent to perform the action that was observed?

Did you intend to blow up the TV when you turned it on? Did the gamer intend to start a brain surgery? Sometimes actions are taken because they are a reaction to the surrounding environment. You would slam on your brakes, for example, if a car cut you off and that was required to avoid an accident. On instinct, you just hit the brakes. There was no intent until instinct kicked in.

How Choice Affects Correspondent Inference Theory

We all have choices to make when we decide to take action. Life really is about choice. If you get married, you make the choice every day to stay married unless you choose to divorce. You choose to go to work every day until you choose to quit. These choices have an important effect on us and those who surround us on a regular basis.

Choosing to stay married could inspire someone else to do so. Choosing to divorce could inspire someone to leave an abusive relationship. Choosing to go to work every day could inspire others to do the same. Choosing to quit might make people think you’re a loser, or you’re ambitious, or maybe you’re an entrepreneur.

Each person makes a choice based on an internal trigger, but will be influenced by their external environment. Someone might choose to stay married, for example, even though they are miserable because they feel that their friends at church would judge them in a negative way if they got divorced.

Every action may have an equal and opposite reaction in science, but in terms of the correspondent inference theory, each action has an observer that will choose to follow, ignore, or counter what they see. When these forces can be recognized, it becomes possible to evaluate choices and actions before they are taken.


Starting in 1985, Stella Ting-Toomey began to develop what she called face negotiation theory. It was based on concepts that were originally proposed in 1978 and focuses on how people from difficult cultures are able to manage their rapport or a disagreement.

The theory suggests that self-image is a universal phenomenon. It is something that exists in every culture. This means if a person feels threatened, then there will be a corresponding emotional reaction that is displayed on their face. When this reaction can be recognized, then it can be used as a negotiation tool.

What Is the Face Negotiation Theory Based On?

Stella Ting-Toomey’s face negotiation theory is based on two concepts of Chinese conception. People are considered to have two specific faces and these are called “mien-tzu” and “lien.” Mien-tzu is an external face, one that is social in nature, and involves authority, power, and influence. Lien is an internal face, one that is focused on morality, and deals with honor, integrity, or even shame.

There is also an expansion of thinking from Erving Goffman, who Westernized the Chinese concepts to include other cultural points of emphasis. Stephen Levinson and Penelope Brown also suggest that politeness is a universal concern that can be shown through face recognition.

Ting-Toomey then expanded upon these concepts based on a person’s own claimed sense of relationships and personal networks. The goal is for each person to create the best possible self-image, but through “facework,” how a person thinks or feels can be communicated through their own self-face that they enact.

What Are the Assumptions of Face Negotiation Theory?

Since 1988, there have been several evolutions within the assumptions that face negotiation theory must make. In the current revision, which was created in 2005, there are 7 specific assumptions that are made, resulting in 24 eventual propositions.

Here is a look at those assumptions.

1. Communication is based on maintaining a negotiating face in every human culture.
2. Facial communication can become problematic when an identity is questioned.
3. Face management is shaped by multiple cultural differences that may include small vs large group settings or individualized negotiations vs collective negotiations.
4. Cultures that place an emphasis on the individual over the collective tend to prefer self-orientation.
5. Small-power cultures place an emphasis on equality, while large-power cultures prefer an emphasis on the chain-of-command.
6. Cultural variances, individual experiences, relationships, and situational elements can all influence behavior.
7. Competence is a form of communication in all cultures because it is a culmination of mindfulness and knowledge.

These assumptions are then placed into “core taxonomies” that help to create the framework of facial communication themes. There are 5 total themes that are part of the 2005 update to the face negotiation theory.

  • Orientation. This refers to the actual concerns that are being experienced by the individual.
  • Movement. This theme addresses how an individual actually moves their face when they are encountering a specific incident.
  • Interaction. Once a cue has been received and processed, an individual begins to determine how their facial communication will be perceived by others.
  • Conflict. Each person who looks at the facial communication of others will be evaluating what is being seen to determine if they feel a personal challenge is being initiated.
  • Content. This is the actual message that is being offered to others in a non-verbal way.

What Are the Applications of Face Negotiation Theory?

The primary application for face negotiation theory is to resolve intercultural conflicts that may occurs. These may be personal or professional conflicts and are based on the idea that there is a desire to be mindful of the needs of others.

It can also be applied in sales practices, allowing individuals to determine by brief facial expressions where a proposal is being considered in a positive or a negative way.

Any other opportunity where non-verbal communication can be beneficial in some way can benefit from Ting-Toomey’s face negotiation theory.

Are There Concerns About Face Negotiation Theory?

Although Stella Ting-Toomey’s face negotiation theory aims to prevent conflicts by understanding certain emotions and reactions that are global in nature, interpreting results that are observed can have cultural influences. What may be a negative reaction to one culture could be considered a positive reaction in another culture as well.

There may also be varying levels of emphasis on the self-face aspect of this theory. Some may have no need to emphasize their self-face, while others may over-emphasize it.

This theory offers us an opportunity to explore more of our non-verbal communication with each other across cultures and ethnic divides. It shows us that even though we may be different, in some ways, we are still very much the same.


In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower became the first to offer the idea of the Domino theory when it came to the politics of the Cold War. The suggestion was based on the idea that Communism could create a domino effect within Southeast Asia. This theory would dominate much of the thinking and politics the US had towards Vietnam for more than a decade.

The Domino theory is based on the idea of what happens when a series of dominos are placed in a row. When they are close enough together, knocking one down at the start of the line can cause the entire line of dominoes to eventually fall over.

Eisenhower offered this speech at a time when the US was attempting to place colonial control back into Vietnam. Communist forces were on the verge of victory in taking over control of the nation from French forces and Eisenhower wanted to increase public awareness and support for the French in this conflict.

Why Was the Domino Theory Important for the Cold War?

According to Eisenhower, along with Kennedy and Johnson who supported the Domino theory, the idea that having a government become a dictatorship was something that would negatively affect Southeast Asia and the world at large. If Vietnam happened to fall into a dictatorship, then the rest of the region and the world was at risk for falling to Communism from a US perspective.

It wasn’t just political implications that Eisenhower saw as being at risk. There were also economic considerations that were in play. If Vietnam was taken over from the French by local Communists, then there was a possibility that access to local supplies that were being exported to the rest of the world could become unobtainable.

This included materials such as Sulphur, rubber, and jute.

From a political perspective within the US, the rapid disintegration of Southeast Asia would create problems for Indonesia and the rest of the APAC region. Eisenhower would even suggest that access to Japan would become problematic as they needed resources from Southeast Asia in order to engage in trade, which would then send products to the rest of the world.

What Was the Impact of Eisenhower’s Domino Theory?

The immediate impact of Eisenhower’s Cold War speech regarding the Domino theory was minimal at best. The Communist forces would be successful and this would create an agreement, hammered out at the Geneva Conference, that would create a division within Vietnam so that the Communists controlled the north.

The long-term impacts of the Domino theory were more profound. It put the United States into a protective role with the government of South Vietnam. Once war began to escalate after the border separation, the US stayed involved in the Vietnam conflict because of the fear of Communist impacts within the region and the rest of the world.

This allowed political support for the war to continue on until 1975, even though the US did not begin taking on a major role in Vietnam until 1964 after two US destroyers were attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin. In 1965, a rapid escalation of forces occurred until troop levels reached nearly 500,000 in 1967.

In 1968, the Tet Offensive was launched, with Communists attacking nearly all of the 44 provinces of South Vietnam. It would be the key that began reducing US participation in the war, with all forces evacuated in 1974 just before the fall of Saigon. More than 58,000 Americans were killed in this period of warfare, much of it due to the fear of what the Domino theory outcome proposed.

How Accurate Was the Domino Theory?

Many of the fears that were offered through the Domino theory during the Cold War proved to be unfounded. Although Communist governments were installed in a couple of surrounding governments at the conclusion of the Vietnam War, the overall influence of Communism in the region and throughout the world was very minimal.

Much of the Domino theory was based on the idea that Ho Chi Minh was simply a pawn of larger Communist regimes in China and Russia. US politics felt that the goal was to spread Communism, but for those in Vietnam, the only real goal was to promote national independence. Once that was achieved, there was no desire to keep spreading Communism.

In some ways, having additional Communist nations prevented the spread of this government. It created competitiveness between the allies of Russia and China, forcing each nation to deal with neighboring conflicts.

The Domino theory was just one potential outcome. Reality proved that other outcomes were possible.


The correspondence theory of truth states that both the truth and the falsity of any given statement is based on how it relates to the world. It is also influenced by how accurately the statement happens to correspond with that world.

It is a theorem that dates back to the classical Greek philosophers. Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates all proposed ideas that are similar to the correspondence theory of truth. Each suggested that truth or a lie is based on the representation of a statement to an individual or overall reality.

Or, to use the words of Aristotle:

“To say that which is, is not, and that which is not, is, is a falsehood. Therefore, to say that which is, is, and that which is not, is not, is true.”

Modern Variations of the Correspondence Theory of Truth

Over the years, there have been several variations that have been proposed to the correspondence theory of truth. Each offers specific changes that are based on individual perspectives.

Bertrand Russell: Russel offered the theory that a true statement must have some sort of structure that must be equal in shape and form to the current state of world affairs in order for it to be true. Take this statement as an example: “There is a dog on a log.”

This statement can only be true if there is a dog in the world and a log in the world and the dog is related to log because it is on it. If any of these pieces are missing for some reason, then the statement is by default a falsity.

J.L. Austin: Austin offered the theory that there didn’t need to be any structure parallelism between the state of world affairs and what makes a statement become truth. The semantics of the language and how the statement is expressed correlate to its truth or falsity. In his variation of the correspondence theory of truth, a statement becomes false only when a state of affairs related to the statement does not exist.

Emanuel Swedenborg: Swedenborg offered the theory that truth and falsity are based on individual perceptions of spiritual realities. Any spiritual practice or religion can be used as an example of this refinement of the correspondence theory of truth. To some individuals, the concepts of Christianity are truth, but others see it as a lie. Some see the concepts of Islam as truth, but others see it as a lie.

As long as the statement contains a subject matter that is “worthy to behold” to an individual, then it is the individual’s perception which will turn it into truth or a falsity.

How Does the Correspondence Theory of Truth Become Real?

For the correspondence theory of truth to work, an assumption about how the world is perceived must be made. Humans must see the world as an external place in relation to their own minds. This is contrary to the idea that everything that exists is actually just an idea that is in the mind of someone, somewhere.

A complete adherence to realism isn’t necessary for the theory to apply if Swedenborg’s variation is taken into account. People could perceive that what currently exists is an idea offered by a supernatural or supreme being, race, or simulation and the correspondence theory of truth would still be able to apply.

What Are the Criticisms of the Correspondence Theory of Truth?

There are several critiques offered for the correspondence theory of truth. Some would say that we really have no actual knowledge, which would make this theory false by default. Others would say that truth or falsity is only based on how reachable reality happens to be for each individual, so truth and falsity are just relative concepts based on individual perceptions.

Idealists may say that there are no real objects, so the theory involves hypothetical situations and this makes it a pointless venture or a philosophical debate. If awareness is indirect instead of direct, then the only debate between truth and falsity is between the ideas of the mind and the ideas of the world.

At some level, an individual must be able to view the world and draw conclusions from their observations of it for the correspondence theory of truth to be valid. When the world is perceived as an outside entity, then there are general and individual statements which will have a truth or a falsity to them.

Even when this is the case, however, the perceptions from that individual based on how they translate the observations made into consumable knowledge will dictate how each statement is ultimately defined.


When you see the sun, it rises in the morning and sets at night, correct? Have you ever wondered why this process occurs?

Of course we know that the Earth orbits the sun and rotates so that we receive a sunrise and a sunset on a daily basis. For a long time, however, human civilizations had a different theory about how the universe worked. Instead of us revolving around the sun, they believed the Earth was orbited by its star.

It was a radical change to believe that the Earth wasn’t the center of the universe. The heliocentric theory is the idea that we accept as truth today: that we’re the ones who are orbiting. “Helio” means “sun” and “centric” means “at the center.”

As with many foundational scientific theories, there are multiple individuals who helped to develop what we believe to be fact today. Individuals such as Galileo, Copernicus, Aristarchus, and Kepler all contributed to this theory.

Ancient Greece and the Foundations of Heliocentric Theory

Around 270 BC, Aristarchus looked at the sun. He calculated how big the star must be and then how big the Earth would likely be. His determination? That the Earth was much smaller than the sun. Therefore, in his mind, it would not be possible for the star to be orbiting the planet. The planet had to be orbiting the star.

His work was not readily accepted by the scientific community at the time. This was because around the same time, a mathematician and astronomer named Pythagoras developed models that measured the distance from Earth to our planets with incredible accuracy. He based his mathematical models on the idea that the Earth was the center of the solar system (or universe) and since his math seemed to add up, those theories were given preference.

It would be how people viewed the universe for nearly 1,500 years. It would not be until the Renaissance when the heliocentric theory would be given another serious look.

Copernicus, The Renaissance, and the Growth of the Heliocentric Theory

Europe saw 300 years of incredible progress from about 1300 to 1600. After the Middle Ages, wealth and trade were expanding, societies were thriving, and this allowed people to focus on culture instead of self-perseverance as a top priority.

One of the unique aspects of the Renaissance is that many in Europe believed that their current civilizations had cultural roots in Rome and Greece. This caused many people to begin studying the works of the ancient scientists and philosophers. One of those who took an interest in the ancient works was a fellow named Nicholas Copernicus.

Copernicus would take the work of Aristarchus and expand upon it. In a book he published called De Revolutionibus, Copernicus proposed a model to explain the universe as he saw it. He saw the Earth revolving around the sun and offered geometric equations in order to prove the heliocentric theory was an accurate representation of how the universe worked.

Copernicus also contributed several additional ideas in his work that might seem like common sense today, but shattered the accepted ideas of his time. Here are just some of the claims that Copernicus made.

  • The distance from the Earth to the sun was a shorter distance than the Earth to other stars.
  • The Earth rotates around the sun, as does every other planet in our solar system.
  • Not only does the Earth rotate, but it also spins on an axis that is titled.
  • Both the stars and the Earth were moving at the same time.

The work of Copernicus started a revolution. Not only was his work highly regarded, but it encouraged many others to embrace astronomy. Even the Catholic Church, which held the belief that the Earth was the center of the universe at the time, didn’t condemn the work of Copernicus outright.

The Church would list the book as “restricted,” however, and it would be a designation that would last until 183=5.

Johannes Kepler and a Model of the Solar System

Born in 1571, Johannes Kepler expanded upon the work of Copernicus by bringing the entire known solar system into the heliocentric theory. Instead of just having the Earth revolve around the sun, Kepler proposed that every planet in the solar system had its own orbit.

But something wasn’t right. At the time, the idea of an orbit was circular in nature. Through the observation of the planetary positions made by others, Kepler realized that a circular orbit wasn’t possible. Once he realized this, Kepler understood that orbits were more elliptical in nature. He verified this through his own observations.

Yet his own observations showed that the orbits of the various planets were not the same. Mars, he realized, had an orbit that was less eccentric. This allowed him to calculate the elliptical orbits for all of the planets at the time and then produce an accurate model of the solar system based on the heliocentric theory.

Once the model was developed, Kepler then realized that if the sun was placed at one focus of an elliptical planetary orbit, the model matched the observations that he and others had made from the night sky. This helped Kepler to develop the laws of planetary motion, which has allowed us to this day to be able to predict and match planetary positions in our solar system and the movement of planetary bodies in other systems.

Galileo vs Catholicism: Proving the Bible and Science Could Work Together

Galileo Galilei took on those who didn’t believe in the heliocentric theory. A common point of opposition was the fact that no one had been able to observe stellar parallax at the time. By 1615, the curiosity that many had over the work of Copernicus was beginning to fade, with the Roman Inquisition eventually stating that heliocentric theory was “foolish” and “absurd.”

Galileo wouldn’t give up his views. His observations through his telescope proved to him that the Earth orbited the sun. He also observed four of the moons of Jupiter and used the work of Kepler to accurately predict their orbits around that planet. He also confirmed the eccentricity of the orbit of Mars, which could only be explained by Mars orbiting the sun instead of it orbiting the Earth.

Galileo began to teach the heliocentric theory as the only correct theory for how the universe worked. Those who believed that the geocentric theory was accurate felt threatened by this shift in perspective, including some of those at the top of the Roman Catholic Church. An investigation into the heliocentric theory was ordered.

After the Roman Inquisition, Galileo would publish a work called Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. In his work, many within the Catholic Church felt like Galileo was attacking the Pope and the Jesuits, so he was found in suspect of heresy and told to recant.

Even when he recanted, however, Galileo reportedly said, “And yet it moves,” in defiance of the Church’s orders.

This placed Galileo under house arrest. During this time, he wrote Two New Sciences, which helped to further his observations about the universe. He would remain under house arrest for the rest of his life, ordered to read penitential psalms for years.

Eventually the work of Galileo would be vindicated and the idea that heliocentric theory and the Bible could work together was validated.

How the Heliocentric Theory Was Finally Proven

The final proof of the validity of the heliocentric theory occurred in 1838. F.W. Bessel discovered the first observed stellar parallax and, for good measure, actually found two instances. Their parallax was consistent with the orbital motion of the Earth around the sun, which then created a new debate: how close was the sun to the center of the universe?

Today we understand that the universe is incredibly vast. The distance between our galaxy and others is something that right now seems insurmountable. We are simply a pale blue dot that is orbiting one star out of a countless number of them.

From the beginnings of what we would consider an advanced human civilization, we have questioned our place in the universe. The idea that we are just one small part of it instead of being the central component of it has long been influenced by religion, new world creationism, and a certain amount of arrogance.

If God is able to create all of this that we can directly observe, why can’t he create a living universe that is filled with a wide variety of life? Why would this vast universe be created only for humanity?

We have many questions that still need to be answered. This is why the foundations of the heliocentric theory and those who discovered it are still important today. By understanding how our planet works, we can understand other planets. This allows us to understand other solar systems and ultimately how the universe works at a fundamental level.

There are more discoveries waiting to be made. Let’s make them.


Humans are like sponges – or at least that’s the idea behind the cultivation analysis theory. This theory, offered originally by George Gerbner, suggests that exposure to television programming will begin to cultivate a viewer’s perception of reality. This is because TV is a method of socialization that many people use to understand their roles in society and what behaviors are associated with those roles.

In essence, the television is a tool for enculturation.

Gerbner doesn’t suggest that sitting down to watch one TV program is going to create rapid change within an individual. Cultivation analysis theory is a long-term effect that is caused by television (or other similar devices or entertainment options). As people “live” in their preferred television worlds, they begin to believe the social realities that are portrayed and begin to adopt the role they see for themselves in that world.

The Three Entities of the Cultivation Analysis Theory

In order to achieve enculturation, Gerbner suggests that there are three specific entities that help to cultivate the roles that people see for themselves through long-term exposure to their TV worlds.

1. Institutions. These are the entities that create the TV worlds in the first place. They are the individuals, groups, and organizations that are responsible for developing, creating, and airing the programming that eventually has an enculturation effect.

2. Messages. Each TV world offers individual viewers a specific message. These messages are then interpreted on a personal level. If the world being presented is dystopian in nature, for example, then the message may be one of self-survival. It may tell another that there is no hope. Someone else may be inspired to become a doomsday prepper.

3. Publics. This entity helps to spread the messages that are being interpreted by individuals who picture themselves living in a TV world. It isn’t so much a holographic view of the universe, but it does help to create reality from observed fiction. If someone sees the world as a violent place through the news, then they believe it is a violent place even if the facts may show otherwise.

The cultivation analysis theory was initially part of a singular study that was authorized by the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. The issue of violence has always been part of US culture and Lyndon B. Johnson wanted to know if the effects of television audience was a contributory effect.

There is little doubt that the initial commissioning of the study was a result of the JFK assassination which propelled Johnson into office.

The cultivation analysis theory, proposed in 1976, is the summary of several large-scale research projects that spun off of the original research that had been commissioned. In order for the theory to apply, however, there are core assumptions that must be made about television as a mass communication device.

What Are the 3 Assumptions of Cultivation Analysis Theory?

Cultivation analysis theory is built upon three foundational assumptions.

  1. Television is different on a fundamental level from any other form of mass media.
  2. Television shapes how individuals think and relate to each other within society.
  3. Television has a limited effect.

The first assumption looks at how the auditory and visual components of TV is different from other entertainment options. Offered at a time before online videos, computer streaming, and video games were similar in nature, it assumes that it can influence people without a requirement for literacy. TV is also influential because it if essentially free once a television has been purchased.

The argument is that education and religion do not have the same influence because it offers a shared image and message throughout a culture and even throughout history. By creating mass-produced messages, it can create mass-produced results on an individual level so that everyone, no matter how much literacy or intelligence they have, can be influenced by it.

This influence then creates speculations, which eventually become a reality for TV viewers. According to Gerbner, consciousness is not cultivated through opinions or specific attitudes, but by basic assumptions about the facts of life. It can alter the standards of judgment that people use to reach their conclusions.

It has the effect because of how much television the average person tends to watch on a daily basis. When Gerbner proposed the cultivation analysis theory, people were averaging 7 hours of TV watching on a daily basis. Because of this level of influence, people were seen as living their lives based on the stories being told.

It would be incorrect to say that Gerbner’s theory is a predictive factor in terms of how a person reacts after long-term exposure to television. If someone was watching violent television, the cultivation analysis theory does not predict that they will become violent. It says that those who would consistently watch violent TV would begin to fear a world that is filled with violence and this would change the decisions they make when it comes time to interact with reality.

What Can Change the Influence of TV on Individuals?

The unique aspect of Gerbner’s cultivation analysis theory is that TV has a limited influence. If someone were to stop watching TV or change the types of programming that are being consumed, then the effects caused by their watching habits would also change. Watching less TV would decrease the perceptions experience, while watching increased levels of TV could increase the effects being experienced.

In other words, people are more influenced by small and steady pervasive influences that are offered through mass communication instead of having a massive one-time dose of information.

This means that watching television isn’t going to cause a specific behavior to occur. Watching violent TV is not going to create violent people. What it does is accumulate influences over time so that an individual’s perception of the world begins to change.

To defend this observation, Gerbner created a survey that categorized individuals based on the amount of television that they watched. He placed people into three general categories based on their responses.

  • Those who watched TV for 2 hours or less every day.
  • Those who watched TV for 2-4 hours each day.
  • Those who watched TV for more than 4 hours per day.

Gerbner discovered that those who watched TV the most had opinions and believed that were similar to what was portrayed on TV compared to the real world. People who watched TV for more than 4 hours per day would typically experience depression, loneliness, and shyness had higher rates than the other two groups.

This is what lead to Gerbner’s conclusions about TV and violence. By watching content that shows the world is a dangerous place, it leads people to believe the world is more dangerous than it really might be.

What Does the Cultivation Analysis Theory Mean for Us Today?

Gerber discovered through his surveys that when people view TV on a heavy basis, they have a greater fear of victimization. Certain factors, including local news broadcasts, help to influence this perception. People who watched TV for more than 4 hours per day felt that their odds of becoming a victim of a violent crime were about 1 in 100.

At the time, actual crime statistics showed that the chances were closer to 1 in 10,000.

Because auditory and video media is available in multiple formats today, the screen time exposure rates are much higher. People can watch news snippets, videos, and full broadcasts with a cellular data or internet connection. Just like TV in the past, the barriers to entry for these mass communication tools are low.

Once someone can get onto the internet, they can access many of these media options that are similar to TV for free. This creates a level of social isolation, even though people “feel” connected through platforms like social media, and in turn, this creates a general mistrust for the world.

Gerbner found that people who watch the most TV are the most likely to want to stay out of world affairs. They believe that most people are just looking out for themselves and that the best case scenario is to look out for themselves instead of trying to help out other people. It overrides individual differences and perspectives to form a different perception of reality.

The end result is the creation of what Gerbner and his research partners called the “Mean World Index.” With long-term exposure to TV programming, individuals create a world image that is mean and dangerous world. Heavy TV viewers are the most likely to believe that greater law enforcement protection is needed.

In today’s world, these outcomes can be seen in many of the online interactions, comments, and attitudes that people have. It could even be argued that the consumption of media content that is similar to TV had a direct contribution to the election of Donald Trump in the United States and others with similar views in other nations.

Many see the world as a mean place today. Gerbner’s cultivation analysis theory shows that maybe that perception isn’t actually reality.


The theory of andragogy is an attempt by Malcolm Knowles to explain how adults are able to continue learning. Knowles defined andragogy as the “art and science of adult learning,” so it refers to any form of learning that occurs during the adult years. In Greek, the word “andragogy” literally means “man-leading.”

As part of his theory of andragogy, Knowles makes 5 specific assumptions about adult learners when compared to child learners. When he originally proposed his theory in 1980, the first four assumptions were included. Knowles added the fifth assumption four years later.

1. The Assumption of Self-Concept

When an individual matures, they move their idea of self-concept from being a dependent toward being independent. Instead of requiring direction, individuals move toward becoming self-directed as they become an adult.

2. The Assumption of Adult Learning Experiences

As people grow older, they gain experience through the choices that they make. These experiences accumulate, becoming a reservoir that adults can draw upon as a personal resource for continued learning.

3. The Assumption of Readiness

Adults become orientated to the tasks they must complete and their social roles as they continue to age. This process creates a readiness to learn in each individual so that they can be as effective as possible within their roles.

4. The Assumption of Orientation

As people grow older, their perspective changes. Instead of learning something in order to apply it at a future date, adults will take their newly acquired knowledge and immediately apply it in some way. There is an integrated immediacy to apply new knowledge, based on the idea that problems need to be solved instead of learning specific subject-centered materials.

5. The Assumption of Motivation

When individuals mature, they have an internal motivation to continue learning.

These assumed characteristics apply to all adults in any society. It also applies to all learning opportunities, whether in the classroom, on the job, or even while taking an e-course.

What Are the 4 Principles of Andragogy According to Knowles?

When Malcolm Knowles updated his theory of andragogy in 1984, he also suggested that there were four principles that should be applied to all adult learning.

1. Planning. Adults need to be directly involved in the planning of their learning opportunities and benefit more from each experience when they can also be involved in the evaluation of their instruction.

2. Experience. Adults often learn directly from their personal experiences, including the mistakes that they may make. These personal experiences become the foundation for all current and future learning opportunities.

3. Relevance. Adults prefer to learn about subjects or information that have an immediate relevance to them. This means the most effective learning occurs when there is a direct impact on an individual’s career or in their personal life.

4. Content. Adults learn from a problem-centered perspective instead of being content-orientated, which is typically the perspective of a child-based curriculum.

How Has the Theory of Andragogy Changed Adult Learning?

Malcolm Knowles recognized that adults are able to learn better when they have an active role in their own education. This goes beyond the completion of an assignment or an ability to work with a team of fellow students. Adults learn better when they are an integral part of curriculum development. When the classroom environment offers multiple methods of providing feedback, adult learners are able to focus more on the activities, materials, and exams that are required.

Knowles also recognized that adults learn better through practical application and practice. Instead of sitting in a classroom and memorizing information, adults need to be in real-world settings applying the concepts that are being learned. When these concepts are able to translate to their personal life or give them an advantage in their career, then even more of the information being provided to them will be retained.

Yet none of this happens if there isn’t some level of internal motivation for an adult to continue learning. Knowles recognized that motivation was an internal trigger for information retention, so it becomes necessary to show adults why they should participate in a learning activity and what they may gain from it. Without this motivation, adults tend to question the validity of a learning opportunity and will often not see any need to acquire or improve their skills or knowledge base.

Malcolm Knowles’ theory of andragogy applies to every possible adult learning situation for one simple reason: even though humans are individuals, they are based on the same template. Each has a need to see personal value and feel like they matter. By focusing on these principles and ideas, it becomes easier to encourage adults to keep striving for more knowledge.