There’s an interesting article in Wired about how scientists deal with data that conflicts with their expectations and whether biases in how the brain deals with contradictory information might influence scientific reasoning.
The piece is based on the work of Kevin Dunbar who combines the sociology of science with the cognitive neuroscience of scientific reasoning.
In other words, he’s trying to understand what scientists actually do to make their discoveries (rather than what they say they do, or what they say they should do) and whether there are specific features of the way the brain handles reasoning that might encourage these practices.
One of his main findings is that when experimental results appear that can’t be explained, they’re often discounted as being useless. The researchers might say that the experiment was designed badly, the equipment faulty, and so on.
The Wired article in question is also worth reading.