The psychology of science is a branch of the studies of science that includes philosophy of science, history of science, and sociology of science or sociology of scientific knowledge. The psychology of science is defined most simply as the scientific study of scientific thought or behavior. Some key figures currently in the psychology of science are William Brewer, Kevin Dunbar, Gregory Feist, Michael Gorman, David Klahr, Barbara Kosloswki, Deanna Kuhn, Sofia Liberman, Dean Keith Simonton, Will Shadish, Frank Sulloway, Paul Thagard, Ryan Tweney, Ron Westrum, and Wendy Parker.
The psychology of science applies methods and theory from psychology to the analysis of scientific thought and behavior, each of which is defined both narrowly and broadly. Narrowly defined, "science" refers to thought and behavior of professional scientists and technologists. More broadly defined, "science" refers to thought and behavior of any one (present or past) of any age engaged in theory construction, learning scientific or mathematical concepts, model building, hypothesis testing, scientific reasoning, problem finding or solving, or creating or working on technology. Indeed, mathematical, engineering, and invention activities are included in both the broader and narrower definitions as well. The methods of psychology that are applied to the study of scientific thought and behavior range from psychohistorical, psychobiographical, observational, descriptive, correlational, and experimental techniques.
The psychology of science has well-established literatures in most every subfield of psychology, including but not limited to: neuroscience, development, cognition, personality, motivation, social, industrial/organizational, and clinical. Feist's recent book The Psychology of Science and the Origins of the Scientific Mind reviews and integrates much of this literature. How scientific concepts are learned is a major topic for the psychology of science education.
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