Firing pea-shooters at elephants

Gozna, Lynsey and Boon, J. C. W. (2009) Firing pea-shooters at elephants. The Psychologist, 22 (9). pp. 762-765. ISSN 0952-8229

Full content URL: http://www.thepsychologist.org.uk/archive/archive_...

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Abstract

More than 35 years ago, computer scientist and cognitive
psychologist Allen Newell famously asserted that ‘you can’t play 20 questions with nature and win’ (Newell,
1973). Referencing a quiz show in which contestants attempted to guess, with up to 20 questions, an object that the quizmaster held written on a card, Newell was alluding to the near complete failure of psychological research in achieving anything approaching unified growth.

There was a ceaseless stream of research into interesting facets of psychology, yet no corresponding growth that in any way coalesced into a unified science. In contrast to sciences such as physics, mathematics, chemistry and biology, the endeavour of psychology was a fruitless,
pseudo-scientific one – a ‘discipline’ characterised by pockets of disconnected research that, although employing a
multitude of researchers, is nevertheless hopelessly doomed to failure as a scientific enterprise.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:More than 35 years ago, computer scientist and cognitive psychologist Allen Newell famously asserted that ‘you can’t play 20 questions with nature and win’ (Newell, 1973). Referencing a quiz show in which contestants attempted to guess, with up to 20 questions, an object that the quizmaster held written on a card, Newell was alluding to the near complete failure of psychological research in achieving anything approaching unified growth. There was a ceaseless stream of research into interesting facets of psychology, yet no corresponding growth that in any way coalesced into a unified science. In contrast to sciences such as physics, mathematics, chemistry and biology, the endeavour of psychology was a fruitless, pseudo-scientific one – a ‘discipline’ characterised by pockets of disconnected research that, although employing a multitude of researchers, is nevertheless hopelessly doomed to failure as a scientific enterprise.
Keywords:psychological research, chameleon offender
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:4208
Deposited By: Alison Wilson
Deposited On:17 Mar 2011 14:49
Last Modified:18 Jul 2011 16:39

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