, Volume 194, Issue 11, pp 4519–4540 | Cite as

Value of cognitive diversity in science

  • Samuli PöyhönenEmail author


When should a scientific community be cognitively diverse? This article presents a model for studying how the heterogeneity of learning heuristics used by scientist agents affects the epistemic efficiency of a scientific community. By extending the epistemic landscapes modeling approach introduced by Weisberg and Muldoon, the article casts light on the micro-mechanisms mediating cognitive diversity, coordination, and problem-solving efficiency. The results suggest that social learning and cognitive diversity produce epistemic benefits only when the epistemic community is faced with problems of sufficient difficulty.


Social epistemology Diversity Social learning Division of cognitive labor 



I would like to thank the anonymous referees for their useful comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of the paper. I am also thankful to Manuela Fernández Pinto, Marion Godman, Jaakko Kuorikoski, Otto Lappi, Caterina Marchionni, Carlo Martini, and Petri Ylikoski for helpful discussions about the paper and about epistemic landscapes modeling in general. The paper also benefited from comments by the participants at the Agent-based Models in Philosophy conference at LMU Munich, TINT brown bag seminar, and the cognitive science research seminar at University of Helsinki. This research has been financially supported by the Academy of Finland and the University of Helsinki.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social and Moral Philosophy/Department of Political and Economic StudiesUniversity of HelsinkiTurkuFinland

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