Mind & Society

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 43-50

First online:

Cheating neuropsychologists: A study of cognitive processes involved in scientific anomalies resolution

  • Luca PezzulloAffiliated withDipartimento di Psicologia Generale, Università di Padova

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This research was carried out to explore some of the cognitive processes involved in scientific anomalies resolution. 40 subjects with a good neuropsychology expertise were asked to explain two (invented) anomalous neuropsychological cases. The subjects' efforts to give a meaningful structure to the data were recorded, and the resulting “reasoning blocks” were analysed to extract and compute the inferential (deductive, inductive and abductive) and analogical processes used. The processes were intercorrelated to experimentally verify the co-occurrence of different forms of logical thinking. Statistical analysis point out the relevance of abductive inferences, the possible presence of an “inferential-style switching process”, the high number of “external” analogies used, the “cognitive closeness” manifested by expert reasoners.


scientific reasoning inferential processes analogy anomalies resolution abductive reasoning psychology of science experimental anomalies