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The psychology of science is a branch of the studies of science that includes philosophy of science, history of science, and sociology of science or sociology of scientific knowledge. The psychology of science is defined most simply as the scientific study of scientific thought or behavior. Some key figures currently in the psychology of science are William Brewer, Kevin Dunbar, Gregory Feist, Michael GormanTemplate:Disambiguation needed, David Klahr, Barbara Kosloswki, Deanna Kuhn, Sofia Liberman, Dean Keith Simonton, Will Shadish, Frank Sulloway, Paul Thagard, Ryan Tweney, Ron Westrum, and Wendy Parker.

The psychology of science applies methods and theory from psychology to the analysis of scientific thought and behavior, each of which is defined both narrowly and broadly. Narrowly defined, "science" refers to thought and behavior of professional scientists and technologists. More broadly defined, "science" refers to thought and behavior of any one (present or past) of any age engaged in theory construction, learning scientific or mathematical concepts, model building, hypothesis testing, scientific reasoning, problem finding or solving, or creating or working on technology. Indeed, mathematical, engineering, and invention activities are included in both the broader and narrower definitions as well. The methods of psychology that are applied to the study of scientific thought and behavior range from psychohistorical, psychobiographical, observational, descriptive, correlational, and experimental techniques.

The psychology of science has well-established literatures in most every subfield of psychology, including but not limited to: neuroscience, development, cognition, personality, motivation, social, industrial/organizational, and clinical. Feist's recent book The Psychology of Science and the Origins of the Scientific Mind[1] reviews and integrates much of this literature. How scientific concepts are learned is a major topic for the psychology of science education.

In 2006 the first scientific society for the psychology of science was founded in Zacatecas, Mexico, The International Society for the Psychology of Science and Technology (ISPST). Members of ISPST are psychologists and other scholars who study any form of scientific or technological thought or behavior, either narrowly or broadly defined. One goal of the society is to promote the application of psychology to the study of thought and behavior in science and technology. Research on the psychology of science and technology has the potential to inform policy, education, and business in selecting, recruiting, training, teaching, and hiring scientific and technological students and personnel. Therefore, ISPST seeks to:

  • Promote research aimed at furthering the understanding of recruiting, recognizing, and retaining scientific talent.
  • Promote research aimed at furthering the understanding of how students learn and how non-scientists reason about scientific concepts.
  • Foster interdisciplinary relationships and research with educators, business leaders, and scientists themselves.

See also


Template:More footnotes

  1. Feist, G.J. (2006). The Psychology of Science and the Origins of the Scientific Mind. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Suggested reading

  • Campbell, D.T. (1988). Epistemology and methodology for social science. Chicago: Chicago University Press. ISBN 0-226-09248-8
  • Dunbar, K. (2002). Understanding the role of cognition in science: The Science as Category framework. In In P. Carruthers, S. Stich, and M. Siegal (Eds.). The cognitive basis of science (pp. 154–171). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-81229-1
  • Feist, G.J. (2006). The Psychology of Science and the Origins of the Scientific Mind. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-11074-X
  • Feist, G.J., & Gorman, M.E. (1998). Psychology of science: Review and integration of a nascent discipline. Review of General Psychology, 2, 3-47.
  • Fuller, S. (1993, 2nd edition). Philosophy of science and its discontents. New York: Guilford Press.ISBN 0898620201
  • Giere, R. (Ed.)(1992). Cognitive models of science. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota University Press.ISBN 0816619794
  • Gholson, B., Shadish, W.R., Neimeyer, R.A., & Houts, A.C. (Eds.) (1989). The psychology of science: Contributions to metascience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.ISBN 0-521-35410-2
  • Gorman, M. E. (1992). Simulating science: Heuristics, mental models and technoscientific thinking. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-32608-7
  • Klahr, D. (2000). Exploring science: The cognition and development of discovery processes. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-11248-5
  • Koslowski, B. (1996). Theory and evidence: The development of scientific reasoning. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-11209-4
  • Kuhn, D., E. Amsel, & M. O’Loughlin. (1988). The development of scientific thinking skills. Orlando FL: Academic. ISBN 0-12-428430-2
  • Liberman S. Sofía. y K. B. Wolf. Las redes de Comunicación Científica. Aportes de Investigación / 41. CRIM. UNAM. 1990. ISBN 968-36-1519-8
  • Shadish, W., & Fuller, S. (1994). The social psychology of science. Guilford Press. ISBN 0-89862-021-X
  • Maslow, A.. The Psychology of Science: A Reconnaissance, New York: Harper & Row, 1966; Chapel Hill: Maurice Bassett, 2002.
  • Mitroff, I. (1974). The subjective side of science. Amsterdam: Elsevier.ISBN 0914105213
  • Simonton, D.K. (1988). Scientific genius: A psychology of science. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-35287-8
  • Simonton, D.K. (2004). Creativity in science: Chance, logic, genius, and Zeitgeist. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-35287-8
  • Sulloway, F. J. (1996). Born to rebel: Birth order, family dynamics, and creative lives. New York: Pantheon. ISBN 0-679-75876-3
  • Thagard, P. (1992). Conceptual revolutions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02490-1
  • Tweney, R. D. (1989). A framework for the cognitive psychology of science. In B. Gholson Shadish Jr., W. R., Neimeyer, R. A., & Houts, A. C. (Eds.), Psychology of science: Contributions to metascience (pp. 342–366). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-35410-2
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