Under the heading, “Unlearning implicit social biases during sleep,” Nick Brown writes:
What do you make of this?
At first sight I’m unimpressed; it looks like just another glamour journal fluff piece. For example, it seems to me that Figure 1F commits the error described here; and the authors seem to ignore the large increase (regression to the mean) in the second column (of 4) between Figures 1D and 1E. But maybe I’m being too instantly skeptical, in what I suppose may come to be known as “LaCour month”.
I replied: Wow—the tabloids strike again! What made you look at this article in the first place?
And Nick responded:
It was the #3 item in the “World News” section of the BBC app a couple of days ago. Not the Science section, or even the Health section under which they filed it, but apparently the third most important piece of news in the world. “FFS”, as the kids say (or maybe that’s the UK only, and “WTF” is the international English version).
All the tabloid-y discussion was about ethics, brainwashing, brave new world, etc. To me it looks like yet another study which is just “obviously wrong” (insufficient power, etc), even before I read it.
Nick then blogged it, under the heading, “Dream on: Playing pinball in your sleep does not make you a better person.”
But, hey, it was a net win for the journal Science: the BBC listed their article as the third-most-important piece of news in the world. And, unlike with LaCour and Green, the data were real. What more could you ask for??
P.S. I’m thinking that a better title for this post would be “Unlearning common sense during research.”