Scientific Discovery Processes in Humans and Computers: Theory and Research in Psychology and Artificial Intelligence

By Morton Wagman | Go to book overview

Preface

This book presents a critical analysis of current theory and research in the psychological and computational sciences directed toward an elucidation of scientific discovery processes and structures, ranging from the domain of human scientific discovery heuristics to the domain of artificial intelligence scientific discovery systems.

The book is organized in four parts. In part I (chapters 1 and 2), human scientific discovery processes are examined. In part II (chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7), computer scientific discovery processes are analyzed. In part III (chapters 8 and 9), human and computer scientific discovery processes are discussed. In part IV (chapter 10), conclusions are presented.

In the first chapter, the scientific reasoning of the discoverers of the mechanism of gene control ( Monod and Jacob, Nobel Prize winners, 1965) is examined in the setting of a university experiment in which students replicated in one hour a discovery that had taken scientists 20 years to accomplish. Given the same knowledge that Monod and Jacob possessed just prior to their discovery, the students, using a computerbased experimental simulation of genetic hypotheses and experiments, follow the same course of scientific reasoning, positing a false activation mechanism of genetic control, obtaining inconsistent experimental results, revising their hypotheses, and concluding with the correct explanation that inhibition is the mechanism of gene control.

In the second chapter, scientific discovery heuristics used at different developmental levels are discussed. Experimental research in the differ

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