In a post on reviewing academic articles, I was really struck by the way academics deal with surprises.
Yes, I regularly check (some) references. If the author of a (history) paper I am refereeing makes a surprising claim – e.g., something that if true I might reasonably be expected to have encountered before, not just something I know FA about – I almost instinctively check to see what his/her source is, and if it’s something I have readily to hand, may actually go to the text to see if it supports what the author concluded.
Usually it does, and I’ve learned something new.
From surprise to curiosity to learning. Straight forward enough, but how many of us dismiss surprises outright, or believe them straight away?