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An older story about a Terran on an exploration ship. He is an exponent of a new science which can predict behavior, even of aliens, based on the theories of his mentor. He correctly predicts the behavior of an alien (perhaps cat-like) being.

There may have been more than one story. This probably dates to the 1950s/60s/70s, though it may be later than that. This is not psychohistory, but perhaps a precursor to that idea.

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8

I think David W has got it right! It's The Voyage of the Space Beagle by A. E. van Vogt. The main protagonist of the novel is Dr. Elliott Grosvenor, the only Nexialist on board (a new discipline depicted as taking an actively generalist approach towards science).

Sounds right to me. Thanks David!! JLW

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  • FWIW, Van Vogt wrote a few other stories that were influenced by General Semantics, in particular, the Null-A stories.
    – PM 2Ring
    Oct 10 at 12:56

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