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Zipf’s law

in linguistics, the observation that the length of words in any language is inversely related to their frequency of usage, so that high-frequency words are generally short, and uncommon words are generally long. Also called Zipfian distribution; Zipf’s distribution. [George Kingsley Zipf (1902–1950), U.S. statistician and linguist]

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Psychology term of the day

June 17th 2024

method of residues

method of residues

the fourth of the five canons of empirical science laid down by John Stuart Mill. It is meant to establish sufficient conditions for a phenomenon through the elimination of alternative potential causes on the basis of previous experiments or already known laws. For example, if the phenomena E1 and E2 occur together having antecedents C1 and C2, and if it is known by prior research or established law that C1 cannot cause E2 but causes E1, one may conclude that C2 is the cause of E2. Also called residue method.