- Cognitive science of science
- History of psychology
- Visual representation in statistical reasoning
- Representational effects in problem solving and inference
I am interested in the "Cognitive Science of Science," the application of methods and theories derived from cognitive science to the understanding of real-world scientific thinking. My students and I have used methods ranging from experiments that simulate selected aspects of scientific inference and problem solving, to historical case studies based on cognitive frameworks. Most recently, following my discovery of a large number of microscopic slide specimens prepared by Michael Farady, and described in Faraday's diary, we have been doing some "historical chemistry', attempting to replicate the way he made these slides (see some of the results by checking the web page, above). We are using this material to reconstruct the cognitive strategies used in Faraday's research. My interest in scientific cognition leads quite naturally to concerns about the nature of statistical methodology in psychology, a reflection of my ongoing studies of the role of instruments, mathematics, and graphic representations on scientific cognition.
Tweney, R. D., Mears, R. P., Gibby, R. E., Spitzmüller, C., & Sun, Y. (2002, in press). Precipitate replications: The cognitive analysis of Michael Faraday's exploration of gold precipitates and colloids. In C. Schunn & W. Gray (Eds.), Proceedings of the twenty fourth annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Tweney, R. D. (2001). Scientific thinking: A cognitive-historical approach. In K. Crowley, C. D. Schunn, & T. Okada, (Eds.), Designing for Science: Implications from everyday, classroom, and professional settings (pp. 141-173). Mawah, NJ: Erlbaum.