Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 April 2022
This paper presents a cognitive account of the process of evaluating scientific data. Our account assumes that when individuals evaluate data, they construct a mental model of a data-interpretation package, in which the data and theoretical interpretations of the data are integrated. We propose that individuals attempt to discount data by seeking alternative explanations for events within the mental model; data-interpretation packages are accepted when the individual cannot find alternative accounts for these events. Our analysis indicates that there are many levels at which data-interpretation packages can be accepted or denied.
Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.
Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 603 East Daniel St., Champaign, IL 61820.