Professor Alan Bundy is a well known computer scientists who has won numerous awards such as the Herbrand Award for Distinguished Contributions to Automated Reasoning and has also won the IJCAI 2007 Award for Research Excellence, which is given to a scientist who has carried out a program of research of consistently high quality yielding several substantial results.
Bundy has maintained a ‘Researcher’s Bible’ based on useful insight from his own and his co-authors’ experience. Within this ‘bible’, the comments on psychological hurdles are highlighted in this entry.
The first point is the mental attitude. A belief in the importance of the research conducted is critical for good motivation and energy level. The second hurdle is research impotence which is associated with lack of confidence in one’s ability. One way to tackle this not to get overawed by big names and realize that research ability is not innate and consists of skills which can be acquired.
Dealing with criticism is another aspect which is critical. Negative feedback should be looked at honestly and used to improve oneself and one’s publications. Bundy et al. highlight another issue of ‘cold start’ where it is tough to get some momentum in one’s working pattern. Solutions suggested by the authors are 1) ‘make a regular working schedule and stick to it and 2) make sure you leave some non-threatening, attractive task to do first thing.
A final psychological hurdle mentioned is the fear of exposure of one’s ideas in the case they may not be that good after all. The suggestion to this scenario is that ‘the sooner you subject your idea to the acid test, the sooner you will discover its limitations and be ready for the next problem’.
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