Types of Scientists, Epistemic Attitudes, and Estimations of Possible Future Scientific Discoveries

By Cătălin Mamali.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Following Mitroff’s study on Apollo Moon scientists the present field study explores the relation between the self-categorization and the expected self-categorization of scientists in relation to the major types of scientists: hard experimentalist, abstract theorizer, intuitive synthesizer, and humanistic scientist. The dynamic of these changes was studied across a 3 years interval during which real and anticipated changes in the typological self-categorization by the researchers themselves were measured. The study explores how major epistemic attitudes varies across these types and how it relates with the mode in which scientists anticipate 16 possible future scientific achievements projected during 1990 - 2200 time interval and later on. It investigates the motivational force, assessed vectorially for intrinsic and extrinsic components, and its variation across the main types of scientists during time. The empirical findings are based on a set of field studies, including a longitudinal one carried out in Romania while under communist rule (1981 –1984) of scientific researchers. The findings suggest the existence of a strong correlation between the rank order of the assessed scientific importance of the 16 possible scientific achievements and the temporal horizon of their perceived realization. However, the correlation between the scientific importance and social importance of the same discoveries is significantly weaker. The study explores some of the political constraints imposed to such a research project within a totalitarian communist society and presents procedures used under these conditions to increase the conversational relation between researcher and respondents.

Keywords: Types of Scientists, Epistemic Attitudes, Intrinsic Motives, Self-categorization, Possible Scientific Discoveries, Their Scientific and Social Importance, Intellectuals and Ideology

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.271-300. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 981.984KB).

Dr. Cătălin Mamali

Department of Psychology, Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, USA

Social Psychologist Cătălin Mamali, Ph.D., participated in cross-cultural studies initiated, among others, by Johan Galtung, John Harvey, Otto Klineberg, and by J. Botkin, M.Elmandjra, & Mircea Malita within the Rome Club, and published research on motivation, interpersonal cognitive behavior, interpersonal relationships within totalitarian societies, interrogative orientations of scientists, the interface diary-correspondence, and on participative methods. He has published a few books such as: Interknowledge (1974); Motivational balance and coevolution (1981); The Gandhian mode of becoming (1998).

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