Aurora SZENTAGOTAI*, Alina RUSU, Oana GAVITA, Daniel DAVID
“Babes-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Questions regarding the correspondence between models/constructs of reality and reality itself have been much debated in science because confusions of the two can lead to serious scientific problems. For example, a mistake occurs when a mathematical model – a convenient calculation device – is ascribed physical reality, being perforce thrust into the realm of physics. However, it is often accepted that a mathematical model may be ascribed physical reality when it allows testable predictions. This distinction is a fundamental one for psychology as well. In this paper we explore the implications of this distinction for psychology and take the argument one step further by showing that the simple fact that a model helps us correctly describe and predict various phenomena does not grant it reality at all.
Keywords: psychological model, psychological reality, multilevel analysis.