Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Psychology of ScienceImplicit and Explicit Processes$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Robert W. Proctor and E.J. Capaldi

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199753628

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753628.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 August 2019

The Theory Ladenness of the Mental Processes Used in the Scientific Enterprise 1

The Theory Ladenness of the Mental Processes Used in the Scientific Enterprise 1

Evidence from Cognitive Psychology and the History of Science

(p.289) 13 The Theory Ladenness of the Mental Processes Used in the Scientific Enterprise1
Psychology of Science

William F. Brewer

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the issue of the theory ladenness of observation. Data from laboratory experiments and episodes in the history of science provide convincing evidence that perception is theory-laden. The reviewed material supports a view that perception is constructed from theory-driven top-down information and bottom-up information from the world, the latter of which limits the potentially relativist epistemological consequences of theory ladenness. Theory ladenness seems to occur throughout the scientific process, in perception, attention, thinking, experimentation, memory, and communication. The top-down theory-laden processes tend to operate outside of awareness and can both facilitate and inhibit the the establishment of a correct representation of the world. So, one normative implication of this work is that scientists need to devote some of their methodological efforts to avoiding problems arising from top-down psychological factors. However, the overall normative implications with respect to controlling theory ladenness are for pluralism in science.

Keywords:   theory ladenness, experimentation, history of science, perception, top-down processing, bottom-up processing, attention, thinking, awareness, relativism

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .