Making Multiple Hypotheses Explicit: An Explicit Strategy for Computational Models of Scientific Discovery

Eric G. Freedman

Generating and evaluating alternative hypotheses is an essential component of scientific discovery. Evidence from cognitive psychology shows that testing multiple hypotheses, unfortunately, is not effective unless subjects state the hypotheses explicitly. The presence of multiple hypotheses facilitates the efficient elimination of incorrect hypotheses because it makes the possibility of disconfirmation more salient. Although several computational models of scientific discovery have included the generation and evaluation of multiple hypotheses, most of these approaches have not focused on multiple hypotheses. Therefore, further research needs to examine systematically the conditions under which multiple hypotheses are effective.

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