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Products for grant FA-51560-05

Human Creativity in Science: An Integrated Look
Nancy Nersessian, Georgia Tech

Grant details:

Creating Scientific Concepts (Book) [show prizes]
Title: Creating Scientific Concepts
Author: Nancy J. Nersessian
Abstract: How do novel scientific concepts arise? In Creating Scientific Concepts, Nancy Nersessian seeks to answer this central but virtually unasked question in the problem of conceptual change. She argues that the popular image of novel concepts and profound insight bursting forth in a blinding flash of inspiration is mistaken. Instead, novel concepts are shown to arise out of the interplay of three factors: an attempt to solve specific problems; the use of conceptual, analytical, and material resources provided by the cognitive-social-cultural context of the problem; and dynamic processes of reasoning that extend ordinary cognition. Focusing on the third factor, Nersessian draws on cognitive science research and historical accounts of scientific practices to show how scientific and ordinary cognition lie on a continuum, and how problem-solving practices in one illuminate practices in the other. Her investigations of scientific practices show conceptual change as deriving from the use of analogies, imagistic representations, and thought experiments, integrated with experimental investigations and mathematical analyses. She presents a view of constructed models as hybrid objects, serving as intermediaries between targets and analogical sources in bootstrapping processes. Extending these results, she argues that these complex cognitive operations and structures are not mere aids to discovery, but that together they constitute a powerful form of reasoning—model-based reasoning—that generates novelty. This new approach to mental modeling and analogy, together with Nersessian's cognitive-historical approach, makes Creating Scientific Concepts equally valuable to cognitive science and philosophy of science.
Year: 2008
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-0-262-1410

Science as Psychology: Sense Making and Identity in Science Practice (Book)
Title: Science as Psychology: Sense Making and Identity in Science Practice
Author: Wendy Newstetter
Author: Lisa Osbeck
Author: Nancy J. Nersessian
Author: Kareen Malone
Abstract: Science as Psychology reveals the complexity and richness of rationality by demonstrating how social relationships, emotion, culture and identity, are implicated in the problem-solving practices of laboratory scientists. The authors gather and analyze interview and observational data from innovation-focused laboratories in the engineering sciences to show how the complex practices of laboratory research scientists provide rich psychological insights, and how a better understanding of science practice facilitates understanding of human beings more generally. The study focuses not on dismantling the rational core of scientific practice, but on illustrating how social, personal and cognitive processes are intricately woven together in scientific thinking. The authors argue that this characterization addresses the integration problem in science studies - how to characterize the fluid entanglements of cognitive, affective, material, cultural and other dimensions of discovery and problem solving. The book is thus a contribution to science studies, the psychology of science and general psychology.
Year: 2011
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Cambridge University Press
Type: Multi-author monograph
ISBN: 978-0-521-8820