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Observation is a phenomenal instance of noticing or perceiving in nature and the natural sciences and is the acquisition of information from a primary source. In living beings, observation employs the senses. In science, observation can also involve the perception and recording of data via the use of scientific instruments. The term may also refer lớn any data collected during the scientific activity. Observations can be qualitative, that is, only the absence or presence of a property is noted, or quantitative if a numerical value is attached lớn the observed phenomenon by counting or measuring.
The scientific method requires observations of natural phenomena lớn formulate and test hypotheses. It consists of the following steps:
- Ask a question about a natural phenomenon
- Make observations of the phenomenon
- Formulate a hypothesis that tentatively answers the question
- Predict logical, observable consequences of the hypothesis that have not yet been investigated
- Test the hypothesis' predictions by an experiment, observational study, field study, or simulation
- Draw a conclusion from data gathered in the experiment, or revise the hypothesis or size a new one and repeat the process
- Write a descriptive method of observation and the results or conclusions reached
- Have peers with experience researching the same phenomenon evaluate the results
Observations play a role in the second and fifth steps of the scientific method. However, the need for reproducibility requires that observations by different observers can be comparable. Human sense impressions are subjective and qualitative, making them difficult lớn record or compare. The use of measurement was developed lớn allow recording and comparison of observations made at different times and places, by different people. The measurement consists of using observation lớn compare the phenomenon being observed lớn a standard unit. The standard unit can be an artifact, process, or definition which can be duplicated or shared by all observers. In measurement, the number of standard units which is equal lớn the observation is counted. Measurement reduces an observation lớn a number that can be recorded, and two observations which result in the same number are equal within the resolution of the process.
Human senses are limited and subject lớn errors in perception, such as optical illusions. Scientific instruments were developed lớn aid human abilities of observation, such as weighing scales, clocks, telescopes, microscopes, thermometers, cameras, and tape recorders, and also translate into perceptible size events that are unobservable by the senses, such as indicator dyes, voltmeters, spectrometers, infrared cameras, oscilloscopes, interferometers, Geiger counters, and radio receivers.
One problem encountered throughout scientific fields is that the observation may affect the process being observed, resulting in a different outcome than thở if the process was unobserved. This is called the observer effect. For example, it is not normally possible lớn kiểm tra the air pressure in an automobile tire without letting out some of the air, thereby changing the pressure. However, in most fields of science, it is possible lớn reduce the effects of observation lớn insignificance by using better instruments.
Considered as a physical process itself, all forms of observation (human or instrumental) involve amplification and are thus thermodynamically irreversible processes, increasing entropy.
In some specific fields of science, the results of observation differ depending on factors that are not important in everyday observation. These are usually illustrated with apparent "paradoxes" in which an sự kiện appears different when observed from two different points of view, seeming lớn violate "common sense".
- Relativity: In relativistic physics which giao dịch with velocities close lớn the tốc độ of light, it is found that different observers may observe different values for the length, time rates, mass, and many other properties of an object, depending on the observer's velocity relative lớn the object. For example, in the twin paradox one twin goes on a trip near the tốc độ of light and comes trang chủ younger than thở the twin who stayed at trang chủ. This is not a paradox: time passes at a slower rate when measured from a frame moving concerning the object.[clarification needed] In relativistic physics, an observation must always be qualified by specifying the state of motion of the observer, its reference frame.
- Quantum mechanics: In quantum mechanics, which giao dịch with the behavior of very small objects, it is not possible lớn observe a system without changing the system, and the "observer" must be considered part of the system being observed. In isolation, quantum objects are represented by a wave function which often exists in a superposition or mixture of different states. However, when an observation is made lớn determine the actual location or state of the object, it always finds the object in a single state, not a "mixture". The interaction of the observation process appears lớn "collapse" the wave function into a single state. So any interaction between an isolated wave function and the external world that results in this wave function collapse is called an observation or measurement, whether or not it is part of a deliberate observation process.
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The human senses tự not function lượt thích a Clip camcorder, impartially recording all observations. Human perception occurs by a complex, unconscious process of abstraction, in which certain details of the incoming sense data are noticed and remembered, and the rest is forgotten. What is kept and what is thrown away depends on an internal model or representation of the world, called by psychologists a schema, that is built up over our entire lives. The data is fitted into this schema. Later when events are remembered, memory gaps may even be filled by "plausible" data the mind makes up lớn fit the model; this is called reconstructive memory. How much attention the various perceived data are given depends on an internal value system, which judges how important it is lớn the individual. Thus two people can view the same sự kiện and come away with entirely different perceptions of it, even disagreeing about simple facts. This is why eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.
Several of the more important ways observations can be affected by human psychology are given below.
Human observations are biased toward confirming the observer's conscious and unconscious expectations and view of the world; we "see what we expect lớn see". In psychology, this is called confirmation bias. Since the object of scientific research is the discovery of new phenomena, this bias can and has caused new discoveries lớn be overlooked; one example is the discovery of x-rays. It can also result in erroneous scientific tư vấn for widely held cultural myths, on the other hand, as in the scientific racism that supported ideas of racial superiority in the early 20th century. Correct scientific technique emphasizes careful recording of observations, separating experimental observations from the conclusions drawn from them, and techniques such as blind or double blind experiments, lớn minimize observational bias.
Modern scientific instruments can extensively process "observations" before they are presented lớn the human senses, and particularly with computerized instruments, there is sometimes a question as lớn where in the data processing chain "observing" ends and "drawing conclusions" begins. This has recently become an issue with digitally enhanced images published as experimental data in papers in scientific journals. The images are enhanced lớn bring out features that the researcher wants lớn emphasize, but this also has the effect of supporting the researcher's conclusions. This is a size of bias that is difficult lớn quantify. Some scientific journals have begun lớn mix detailed standards for what types of image processing are allowed in research results. Computerized instruments often keep a copy of the "raw data" from sensors before processing, which is the ultimate defense against processing bias, and similarly, scientific standards require preservation of the original unenhanced "raw" versions of images used as research data.
"Observe always that everything is the result of a change, and get used lớn thinking that there is nothing Nature loves sánh well as lớn change existing forms and lớn make new ones lượt thích them."
Process philosophy is the observation of our senses and minds related lớn ourselves. Processed as hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch and thought.
For example, let us suppose that an observer sees a parent beat their child and consequently may observe that such an action is either good or bad. Deductions about what behaviors are good or bad may be based on preferences about building relationships, or the study of the consequences resulting from the observed behavior. Over time, impressions stored in the consciousness about many, together with the resulting relationships and consequences, permit the individual lớn build a construct about the moral implications of behavior.
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