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Experiments of the mind : from the cognitive psychology lab to the world of Facebook and Twitter

Martin, Emily2021
"This book is an ethnographic investigation of the everyday professional lives of experimental cognitive psychologists, aimed at conveying to readers a sense of the social world of the laboratory, and explaining how the field produces knowledge about human cognition. Emily Martin did fieldwork in three labs conducting research in normal human cognition. In the early days of her fieldwork, Martin was struck by how irrelevant her own subjective experience was to the experimenters. What researchers conducting the experiments were seeking was data about how her brain responded to stimuli such as photographs and videos. Her own responses to the situation -- the set-up of the experiment, etc. -- were very much beside the point. This led Martin to wonder when, in the history of this field, introspection and related "messy" data concerning the social conditions of lab experimentation came to be expelled. Her book examines this history, provides a comparison with the history of her own field (anthropology), and discusses the evolution of a pillar of contemporary experimental cognitive psychology, the psychological experiment. In the course of this book Martin reports on her discussions with practicing experimental psychologists about the efficacy of placing persons in such unusual settings in the search for general knowledge. What emerges is an account of the cognitive psychology experiment as an artificial construction in which a certain kind of knowledge is produced and a certain kind of human subject is created. But this book is not a "debunking" of the discipline of experimental cognitive psychology. Martin readily acknowledges the fact that real knowledge is produced in these highly-structured and artificial experimental settings. She does, however, question the tendency within this discipline to dismiss the significance of the social and cultural setting of the formal psychological experiment, and argues that the field promotes a truncated view of the human subject and its capacities"-- Provided by publisher.
Princeton : Princeton University Press, [2021]©2021
xxiii, 279 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
9780691177311 (pbk)9780691177311
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