IN THE NEWS: FiveThirtyEight (December 6, 2018)

[From the article “Psychology’s Replication Crisis Has Made The Field Better” by Christie Aschwanden, published at FiveThirtyEight]
“The replication crisis arose from a series of events that began around 2011, the year that social scientists Uri Simonsohn, Leif Nelson and Joseph Simmons published a paper, “False-Positive Psychology,” that used then-standard methods to show that simply listening to the Beatles song “When I’m Sixty-Four” could make someone younger. It was an absurd finding, and that was the point. The paper highlighted the dangers of p-hacking — adjusting the parameters of an analysis until you get a statistically significant p-value (a difficult-to-understand number often misused to imply a finding couldn’t have happened by chance) — and other subtle or not-so-subtle ways that researchers could tip the scales to produce a favorable result. Around the same time, other researchers were reporting that some of psychology’s most famous findings, such as the idea that “priming” people by presenting them with stereotypes about elderly people made them walk at a slower pace, were not reproducible.”
“A lot has happened since then. I’ve been covering psychology’s replication problem for FiveThirtyEight since 2015, and in that time, I’ve seen a culture change. “If a team of research psychologists were to emerge today from a 7-year hibernation, they would not recognize their field,” Nelson and his colleagues wrote in the journal Annual Reviews last year. What has changed?”
To read more, click here.

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