Using multiple independent methods or tools to inquire into a phenomenon (a practice called triangulation) is considered valuable to achieve robust information about that phenomenon. Critics however have objected that triangulation is valuable only in specific situations, namely when findings from different methods are reliable and consistent. Tools used in cognitive neuroscience often provide partial, inconsistent, and divergent findings on the role of brain processes and mechanisms in cognition. Consequently, it is unclear whether triangulation is of any value in cognitive neuroscience. I consider a messy case, where different neuroscientific tools have provided inconsistent and divergent evidence and compare this with a successful case of triangulation from epidemiology. I then discuss the epistemic rationale of a relatively novel practice, namely the triangulation of tools within the same experimental setting. I conclude by arguing that triangulation is valuable also when evidence is discordant. Using multiple independent tools to inquire into the role of the brain in cognition is helpful with the minimization of errors and with the integration of data and findings, contributing to understanding how the mind works.

Triangulating tools in the messiness of cognitive neuroscience

Tramacere, A.
Primo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
2022

Abstract

Using multiple independent methods or tools to inquire into a phenomenon (a practice called triangulation) is considered valuable to achieve robust information about that phenomenon. Critics however have objected that triangulation is valuable only in specific situations, namely when findings from different methods are reliable and consistent. Tools used in cognitive neuroscience often provide partial, inconsistent, and divergent findings on the role of brain processes and mechanisms in cognition. Consequently, it is unclear whether triangulation is of any value in cognitive neuroscience. I consider a messy case, where different neuroscientific tools have provided inconsistent and divergent evidence and compare this with a successful case of triangulation from epidemiology. I then discuss the epistemic rationale of a relatively novel practice, namely the triangulation of tools within the same experimental setting. I conclude by arguing that triangulation is valuable also when evidence is discordant. Using multiple independent tools to inquire into the role of the brain in cognition is helpful with the minimization of errors and with the integration of data and findings, contributing to understanding how the mind works.
The Tools of Neuroscience Experiment Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives
176
194
Tramacere, A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/844659
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