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Parsimony Assumption

The parsimony assumption is an assumption that argues that is probably true for the majority of the situations but this is not always the true. In example, we can examine the physical characteristics of feathers of the birds. For example, we can compare three different species of birds. We can assign them with letters say species X, Y and Z. The birds in species X and Y are said to have feathers while species Z does not have. Bases on the parsimony assumption, we may conclude that those two species of birds, that is, species X and species Y are closely related. This is to say, the two species can be can be said to share a common ancestry. This is because, the feather trait would have evolved once thus coming up with the different between the first two species, X and Y. It could also be argued based on the parsimony assumption that the ancestor of the species Z had no close relation to that of the species X and Y which seems to be from the same ancestor.

In the above example based on the evolution of the three different species, the assumption that is most likely to be true does not always stand to be true. In the history of evolution, it is assumed that there were few ancestors of different species and that most of the species are said to have evolved from a common ancestor. For this reason, it is assumed that two different species that portray more similar characteristics such as the one above, between the species X and Y are said to be from the same ancestor and those with varying characteristics such as that of species X and Z to be from different ancestor. The above example may not always be true since evolution is not always said to be parsimonious.

The principle of parsimony

The principle of parsimony states that among given explanations, the simplest one is the most likely to be correct”. This principle is used by the scientist to select the competing models that are used to describe a certain phenomenon. It can be used to study and manage some of the behavioral and psychological symptoms.

Using the article written by Noguchi, Kawano and Yamanaka, the four main criteria namely brevity, assumption, observation and generalization have been used to meet the principle of parsimony assumptions. In the article, there are things that are used to come up with the study. Tables were developed which showed relationships between different aspects of the study.

In the first table, on page 5 of the article, is the page showing the subject named C leaving her seat for the restroom and the rate at which he engages in the leisure activities. On the same graph, there is a representation of the rate at which the staff provides several items so as to support the patient in his activities during the period of observation. From this graph, we can notice that the frequency at which the patient leaves her seat for the rest room is inversely related at her rate in engaging in the leisure activity during different periods. It can also be observed that the patient must be provided with items by the staff to support her in the leisure activities.

In this study, some of the graphs can be seen to lend themselves to the parsimony more than others. For the example, the graph representing the rate at which the staff provides items to support patients’ activities and the graph representing the rate at which the patient engages in leisure activities lends themselves to a parsimony. This is because, the patient needs to be given items so as to engage in the leisure activities.

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