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Mental Models in Data Interpretation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2022

Clark A. Chinn
Affiliation:
Rutgers University
William F. Brewer
Affiliation:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Abstract

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.

Type
Philosophical Issues in Cognitive Science
Copyright
Copyright © Philosophy of Science Association 1996

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Footnotes

Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 603 East Daniel St., Champaign, IL 61820.

References

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