Friday, April 30, 2010
Scientists' Unscientific Tendencies
Wired Magazine has published a report on how ego get's in the way of scientist's results.
A foundational study in the early 1990s discovered more than 50% of scientific experiments produce unexpected results in tested labs. Researchers almost always blamed mistakes for their surprising findings, even when the anomalies showed up multiple times.
Although scientists like to believe they are empiricists, in reality most experiment failures are ignored. Tests have revealed that even experts activate their anterior cingulate cortex - an area of the brain which suppresses conclusions contrary to what the individual believes. That is, trust in a pre-conceived idea trumps reality.
It seems that religious people are not the only one's who can fall victim to dogma.