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Since one cannot prove a theory, the best way to show support for a particular theory is by the method of strong inference – by disproving as many opposing to it theories as possible, while showing support for the main theory (Platt, 1964). Converging operations provide strong inference. It is important to recognize certain challenges in following a converging-operations approach. First, which has already been mentioned here, animal species differ from the human in radical ways.

Different animal species have different ecosystems, different body structures, and different developmental systems. Generalizing conclusions across species requires careful and systematic analysis of the similarities and differences observed. For example, there are many the difficulties involved in trying to compare and contrast the behavior of nonhuman animal and human infants and in using observations from one species to apply inferences based on observations of another species (Lickliter, 2000).

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Second, successful application of a convergent-operations approach typically requires good communication among scientists of different areas of the field studied and overcoming the fact that “researchers in different subdisciplines often structure their research questions differently, use different language for discussing similar phenomena, have different types of controls and measures, and draw from different literatures, even when investigating similar topics” (Lickliter, 2000).

And last, when going through a set of studies, it will simply take longer to get the final results on the topic studied, which will automatically multiply the financial and time involving costs of the already expensive and complicated research process. A project, which would potentially cost significantly more and would take significantly longer than another one, may not get chosen by some researchers, at least some of the time.


“The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words.” Chuang-tzu Progress in biopsychology typically comes from convergent evidence. Despite the difficulties, a convergent-operations approach creates a broader perspective in research than a more traditional single-method or species-specific approach and helps to identify theories and principles in psychology that could be generalized to different species and populations. (Lickliter, 2000). The strength of biopsychology is in the diversity of its methods and approaches, and, as a field, it is built on converging operations.

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