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Considerations of methodological complexity and taste versus explanatory power in the evaluation of competing scientific models: A reply to cone (1998)

Elsevier Ltd
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0005-7894(98)80011-7
  • Medicine


Cone (1998) charges that the hierarchical model (a) requires more complex methodology than the three-systems model, and (b) is a return to abstract, highly inferential, medical-model logic, which behavior therapists have historically found distasteful. The validity of both of Cone's criticisms are found to be wanting: (a) the three-systems model requires the same multitrait-multisystem-multibehavior-multimethod analyses as does the hierarchical model; it is necessary to measure two or more responses in each system using two or more methods regardless of whether the systems are hypothesized to be fully independent (as in the three-systems model) or only partially independent (as in the hierarchical model); and (b) the hierarchical model rejects the two hallmark assumptions of the medical model. It is also argued that even if Cone's criticisms are valid, considerations of explanatory power should take precedence over considerations of complexity and taste. The evidence rather clearly indicates that the three-systems model should be rejected in favor of models that include unitary anxiety and panic constructs.

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