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Michel Cabanac
professor of physiology at Laval University in Québec

Research is a process leading the scientist from state A to state B. In the A state, the scientist makes an initial observation, or obtains results that are contradictory to the official thesis. He is then in a state of discomfort, because he himself believes in this ruling official theory. Yet, he must accept that his own results render the theory unlikely.

This is a privileged situation, because it brings in a new way of looking at the accepted theory. Now, I have found a crack in the wall. The scientist is now in the B state – he tries to find a replacing theory, in which the new facts and the old knowledge must be blended. When a scientist reaches a solution, they experience intense joy.

I lived the above process when I worked under Joseph Chatonnet, on my doctoral thesis. The experience was so stirring that I remained in research. I described the process, and its ensuing steps, in my book La Quête du Plaisir: Étude sur le Conflit des Motivations.

Michel Cabanac is author of Human Selective Brain Cooling (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)).