A scientist's dilemma: Follow my hypothesis or my findings?

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Over the course of my 50 years of brain-behavioral research, choicepoints presented themselves as to either follow my original hypothesis or follow my puzzling empirical findings. I trusted the latter more than the former because I believe it is where reality is to be found. Phil Teitelbaum's teachings had a major influence on those decisions. In the present essay, I describe the evolution of those choicepoints that led me from studies of hormone-brain-behavior interactions to a rhythmical brain-behavior connection, to sexual behavior, pain blockage, human brain-behavior interactions, and human brain imaging. Along this tortuous course, I learned that vaginal stimulation can block pain, the vagus nerve apparently can convey genital sensory activity to the brain, bypassing spinal cord injury, and all major brain systems evidently contribute to women's orgasm. An important message I learned is: pay attention to what you observe in your experiments, and have the courage to follow it up, particularly if what you observe is not what you were looking for...because it, rather than your hypothesis, is more likely to reveal reality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-265
Number of pages4
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Analgesia
  • FMRI
  • Genital
  • Human
  • Orgasm
  • Teitelbaum
  • Theta rhythm


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