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Plasticity and PathologyOn the Formation of the Neural Subject$
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David Bates and Nima Bassiri

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823266135

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823266135.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

Toward an Ethnography of Experimental Psychology

Toward an Ethnography of Experimental Psychology

(p.1) 1 Toward an Ethnography of Experimental Psychology
Plasticity and Pathology

Emily Martin

Fordham University Press

This chapter offers a modest engagement with the issue of “training” in relation to psychological experimentation as a way of understanding how experimental psychologists grapple with issues of subjectivity and objectivity. A basic goal of the experimental method in cognitive psychology is to keep the human subject stable in time and space. This is a hard job given that human beings are, in many other contexts in the history of neurology, understood as constitutively mobile, changeable, and profoundly plastic. Thus, it should not be surprising if accomplishing such a hard, perhaps impossible job produces some contradictions. The chapter first turns to the history of experimental psychology, which was closely connected to anthropology at its beginning, to understand what role subjectivity and objectivity were granted at an earlier time and to offer a partial solution to the puzzle that will be introduced in due course. It then describes two incidents from the author’s current fieldwork with experimental cognitive psychologists to present a puzzle about what role subjectivity has today in experimental psychology. It discusses the ways in which experimental cognitive psychologists maintain objectivity in their experiments through various forms of control.

Keywords:   training, psychological experimentation, subjectivity, objectivity, cognitive psychology, experimental method, cognitive psychologists

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