Transformative Learning Theory (Mezirow)

Summary: Transformative learning is a theory of adult learning that utilizes disorienting dilemmas to challenge students’ thinking. Students are then encouraged to use critical thinking and questioning to consider if their underlying assumptions and beliefs about the world are accurate.  Originator: Jack Mezirow (1923-2014) Keywords: adult education, higher education, academic development, disorienting dilemmas, assumptions, beliefs, […]

Chaos Theory

Summary: Chaos theory is a mathematical theory that can be used to explain complex systems such as weather, astronomy, politics, and economics. Although many complex systems appear to behave in a random manner, chaos theory shows that, in reality, there is an underlying order that is difficult to see. Originators: Henri Poincaré (1854-1912), Edward Lorenz […]

Social Proof

Summary: Social proof describes a psychological phenomenon in which people mirror the actions and opinions of others. In other words, people’s decisions are often impacted by the preferences and modeling of individuals or groups around them. Keywords: informational social influence, marketing, group norms, standards of behavior, testimonials, crowds, social modeling, sales, business, conformity, group conformity, […]

Network Effects

Summary: Network Effects describes the phenomenon how the value of a good or service increases as more people start to use that good or service. Originators: Theodore Vail (1845-1920), Robert Metcalfe (1946-Present) Keywords: network externality, demand-side economies of scale, marketing, customer base, value, monopoly, social media, congestion, good, service Certain products only have value if […]

Prisoner’s Dilemma

Summary: The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a hypothetical scenario which illustrates the difficulty of deciding whether to cooperate or compete with other people. Understanding the costs and benefits of cooperating and competing is applicable to various fields including business, economics, and politics. Originators: Merrill Flood (1908-1991, Melvin Dresher (1911-1992), Albert William Tucker (1905-1995) Keywords: game theory, […]

Law of Large Numbers

Summary: The Law of Large Numbers is a statistical theory related to the probability of an event. This theory states that the greater number of times an event is carried out in real life, the closer the real-life results will compare to the statistical or mathematically proven results. In research studies, this means that large sample […]


Summary: Scarcity is an economic term that describes the mindset people develop when they have many needs and not enough resources to meet those needs. When people operate out of a scarcity mindset, it can greatly impair their decision-making abilities. Originators: Lionel Robbins (1898-1984), Sendhil Mullainathan (1972 to Present), Eldar Shafir (1959 to Present) Keywords: […]