Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 229–238

Psychology of the scientist: An analysis of problem-solving bias

  • Michael J. Mahoney
  • Bobby G. DeMonbreun

DOI: 10.1007/BF01186796

Cite this article as:
Mahoney, M.J. & DeMonbreun, B.G. Cogn Ther Res (1977) 1: 229. doi:10.1007/BF01186796


The problem-solving skills of 30 Ph.D. scientists were compared to those of 15 conservative Protestant ministers. Of particular interest was the frequency with which these groups generated confirmatory (rather than disconfirmatory)experiments to test their hypotheses. Experimental results showed that—contrary to a popular assumption—the reasoning skills of the scientists were not significantly different from those of nonscientists. In this study, the ministers showed a longer latency to speculation and generated more experiments per hypothesis than did the scientists. These findings are discussed in terms of the psychology of the scientist.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Mahoney
    • 1
  • Bobby G. DeMonbreun
    • 1
  1. 1.Pennsylvania State UniversityUSA

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