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Science as Psychology
Sense-Making and Identity in Science Practice

$46.99 (C)

  • Date Published: August 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521708418

$ 46.99 (C)
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About the Authors
  • 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. In this study, 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 illustrates a way of addressing 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. Drawing on George Kelly’s “person as scientist” metaphor, the authors extend the implications of this analysis to general psychology. The book is thus a contribution to science studies, the psychology of science, and general psychology.

    • Presents an integrated account of science practice, incorporating cognitive, social and personal dimensions
    • Provides exciting insight into the lived experience of science practice: transcripts give an accessibility and immediacy to scientific activity
    • Presents the research laboratory as a microcosm of human activity, forging a new way of looking at the relation of science to psychology
    • Could serve as a textbook in either science studies or psychology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “Science as Psychology helps us make sense of ourselves – especially how we can understand both our formal scientific and our informal everyday acts of knowing, which together express some of our ‘highest human ideals’ as rational beings. In pursuing that daunting task, these prominent authors help to mend the ‘science wars’ in a profoundly innovative, nonpolemical, and demystifying way, not least by challenging the ‘rational-social divides’ that have for so long fueled them. In so doing, they significantly advance our knowledge of human beings, who dually embody the objects of psychological knowledge and the knowing subjects themselves. I strongly recommend this book for anyone in search of a novel, compelling way to study human (psychological) nature, most prominently our capacity to know the world in which we live – including, of course, the world of human nature itself.”
    – Barbara S. Held, Barry N. Wish Professor of Psychology, Bowdoin College, Maine

    “Science as Psychology provides a fascinating and innovative examination of the multiple dimensions of persons acting as research scientists. Based on observations and interviews in medical engineering laboratories, this book provides new ways of thinking about distributed and situated cognition that will be important to anyone interested in the psychology of science or learning.”
    – Peter Machamer, University of Pittsburgh

    “The first integrated picture of how the ‘sense-making’ activities of science are interwoven with personal identity, social discursive processes, and cognitive processes, this insightful book stands out among the many works on the practices of science. The approach will be of interest to social scientists generally, and the methods used, drawing from a range of disciplines, will be a model for how such studies should be conducted.”
    – Ryan D. Tweney, Bowling Green State University

    "....Science as Psychology contains many insights...."
    –Ronald N. Giere, Science

    "....Osbeck and colleagues have done an excellent job of showing us exactly how science is psychology.... the writing is crisp, clear, and compelling. The comments from various scientists who work in the laboratories the authors examined add a nice personal touch.... If you have kept up with such recent advances as the ever-increasing number and complexity of qualitative research methods currently being used by psychologists, then you likely will greet this new volume with open arms. On the other hand, if your research/scientific grounding was in the traditional IV–DV model of science, then this volume may prove to be a bit challenging. But do not despair and don’t set the book aside: Your perseverance will be rewarded, and your conception of scientists and their activities will be expanded."
    –Stephen F. Davis, PsycCRITIQUES

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521708418
    • length: 288 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • contains: 3 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: science and persons
    2. Methods of study
    3. The problem-solving person
    4. The feeling person
    5. The positioning person
    6. The person negotiating cultural identities
    7. The learning person
    8. Epilogue: science as psychology: a tacit tradition and its implications.

  • Authors

    Lisa M. Osbeck, University of West Georgia
    Lisa M. Osbeck is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of West Georgia. She holds a PhD in General Psychology from Georgetown University and was a visiting Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh. She was a visiting research scientist in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology during the year most of this book was written. Dr Osbeck is the recipient of the 2005 Sigmund Koch Award for Early Career Contributions to Psychology bestowed by the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology (American Psychological Association, Division 24). She has served on the executive committee of the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology and is on the editorial boards of Theory and Psychology, the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology and the International Journal for the Psychology of Science and Technology. Professor Osbeck also recently won the Arthur W. Staats Lecture for Unifying Psychology Award 2015.

    Nancy J. Nersessian, Georgia Institute of Technology
    Nancy J. Nersessian is Regents' Professor of Cognitive Science at Georgia Institute of Technology. She is a pioneer in the area of cognitive studies of science and technology, a former chair of the Cognitive Science Society, a member of the governing board of the Philosophy of Science Association, and a founding member of the International Society for the Psychology of Science. She is also a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Foreign Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr Nersessian has received numerous grants and fellowships, including from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and has held several residential fellowship positions, most recently at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is the author of numerous publications on the creative research practices of scientists and engineers, including the recent book Creating Scientific Concepts, and on science learning.

    Kareen R. Malone, University of West Georgia
    Kareen R. Malone is Professor of Psychology at the University of West Georgia and is also on the Women's Studies Faculty. She is Director of the Doctoral Program in Psychology, a program that addresses the relationship of subject and context and individual and culture. She is associate editor of Theory and Psychology, is on the editorial board of Psychoanalysis, Society, and Culture, is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and was elected 2009–10 President of the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. Dr Malone has co-edited three volumes of Lacanian psychoanalysis and is the author of numerous chapters, articles, and reviews in the areas of Lacanian psychoanalysis, gender, race and science, feminism and the epistemology of psychology, cognitive psychology, and subjectivity.

    Wendy C. Newstetter, Georgia Institute of Technology
    Wendy C. Newstetter is the Director of Learning Sciences Research in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She works with faculty both at Georgia Tech and throughout the nation through Project Kaleidoscope to create and develop more effective science, math, and engineering educational environments informed by learning and cognitive science research. Dr Newstetter has published in numerous journals and conference proceedings, including the Journal of Engineering Education, Research in Engineering Design and the Annals of Biomedical Engineering. She is senior editor for the Journal of Engineering Education.

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