Andrea Panizza writes:
I just read about psychologist Uri Simonson debunking a research by colleagues Raphael Silberzahn & Eric Uhlmann on the positive effects of noble-sounding German surnames on people’s careers (!!!). Here the fact is mentioned.
I think that the interesting part (apart, of course, from the general weirdness of Silberzahn & Uhlmann’s research hypothesis) is that Silberzahn & Uhlmann gave Simonson full access to their data, and apparently he debunked their results thanks to a better analytical approach.
My reply: Yes, this is an admirable reaction. I had seen that paper when it came out, and what struck me was that, if there is such a correlation, there could be lots of reasons not involving a causal effect of the name. in any case, it’s good to see people willing to recognize their errors: “Despite our public statements in the media weeks earlier, we had to acknowledge that Simonsohn’s technique showing no effect was more accurate.”
More generally, this sort of joint work is great, even if it isn’t always possible. Stand-alone criticism is useful, and collaborative criticism such as this is good too.
In a way it’s a sad state of affairs that we have to congratulate a researcher for acting constructively in response to criticism, but that’s where we’re at. Forward motion, I hope.