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10.18.2011

Neuroscience feels more like "science"

An article in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience from 2008 suggests what many research psychologists already intuitively feel. Namely, having a neuroscience explanation in your scientific article (even if illogical) makes the work seem more satisfying.
We tested this hypothesis by giving na├»ve adults, students in a neuroscience course, and neuroscience experts brief descriptions of psychological phenomena followed by one of four types of explanation, according to a 2 (good explanation vs. bad explanation) × 2 (without neuroscience vs. with neuroscience) design. Crucially, the neuroscience information was irrelevant to the logic of the explanation, as confirmed by the expert subjects. Subjects in all three groups judged good explanations as more satisfying than bad ones. But subjects in the two nonexpert groups additionally judged that explanations with logically irrelevant neuroscience information were more satisfying than explanations without. The neuroscience information had a particularly striking effect on nonexperts’ judgments of bad explanations, masking otherwise salient problems in these explanations.
In other news, Jordan has chosen his career wisely...

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