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New discipline of psychology of science?


New discipline of psychology of science?

From “A New Discipline Emerges: The Psychology of Science” (ScienceDaily, Oct. 20, 2011), we learn:

Reviewing about two dozen articles, Feist mentions work in many psychological subspecialties. Neuroscientists have observed the brain correlations of scientific reasoning, discovering, for instance, that people pay more attention to data that concur with their own personal theories. Developmental psychologists have found that infants can craft theories of the way the world works. They’ve also looked at the ages at which small children begin to distinguish theories from evidence.

In its focus on such processes as problem-solving, memory, and creativity, cognitive psychology may be the most mature of the specialties in its relationship to the doing of science. Feist’s own work in this area offers some intriguing findings. In meta-analyses of personality studies of scientific interest and creativity, he has teased out a contradiction: People who are highly interested in science are higher than others in “conscientiousness” (that is, such traits as caution and fastidiousness) and lower in “openness” to experience. Meanwhile, scientific creativity is associated with low conscientiousness and high openness.

Which is probably why there aren’t many great scientists.

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose


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