Joint perceptual decision-making: A case study in explanatory pluralism

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  • Drew Abney
    Drew AbneyUC MercedUnited States
  • Rick Dale
    Rick DaleUC MercedUnited States
  • Jeffrey Yoshimi
    Jeffrey YoshimiUC MercedUnited States
  • Chris Kello
    Chris KelloUC MercedDenmark
  • Kristian Tylén
  • Riccardo Fusaroli
Traditionally different approaches to the study of cognition have been viewed as competing explanatory frameworks. An alternative view, explanatory pluralism, regards different approaches to the study of cognition as complementary ways of studying the same phenomenon, at specific temporal and spatial scales, using appropriate methodological tools. Explanatory pluralism has been often described abstractly, but has rarely been applied to concrete cases. We present a case study of explanatory pluralism. We discuss three separate ways of studying the same phenomenon: a perceptual decision- making task (Bahrami et al., 2010), where pairs of subjects share information to jointly individuate an oddball stimulus among a set of distractors. Each approach analyzed the same corpus but targeted different units of analysis at different levels of description: decision-making at the behavioral level, confidence sharing at the linguistic level, and acoustic energy at the physical level. We discuss the utility of explanatory pluralism for describing this complex, multiscale phenomenon, show ways in which this case study sheds new light on the concept of pluralism, and highlight good practices to critically assess and complement approaches.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
ISSN1664-1078
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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