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Archive of posts filed under the Miscellaneous Science category.

Just Filling in the Bubbles

Collin Hitt writes: I study wrong answers, per your blog post today. My research focuses mostly on surveys of schoolchildren. I study the kids who appear to be just filling in the bubbles, who by accident actually reveal something of use for education researchers. Here’s his most recent paper, “Just Filling in the Bubbles: Using […]

“Using prediction markets to estimate the reproducibility of scientific research”

A reporter sent me this new paper by Anna Dreber, Thomas Pfeiffer, Johan Almenberg, Siri Isaksson, Brad Wilson, Yiling Chen, Brian Nosek, and Magnus Johannesson, which begins: Concerns about a lack of reproducibility of statistically significant results have recently been raised in many fields, and it has been argued that this lack comes at substantial […]

Neuroscience research in Baltimore

Joshua Vogelstein sends along these ads for students, research associates, and postdocs in his lab at Johns Hopkins University:

Don’t miss this one: “Modern Physics from an Elementary Point of View”

I was googling *back of the envelope* for a recent post and I came across these lecture notes by Victor Weisskopf from 1969. I can no longer really follow this sort of thing—I really really wish this had been my textbook back when I was studying physics. If they’d taught us this stuff, I might’ve […]

3 postdoc opportunities you can’t miss—here in our group at Columbia! Apply NOW, don’t miss out!

Hey, just once, the Buzzfeed-style hype is appropriate. We have 3 amazing postdoc opportunities here, and you need to apply NOW. Here’s the deal: we’re working on some amazing projects. You know about Stan and associated exciting projects in computational statistics. There’s the virtual database query, which is the way I like to describe our […]

Here’s a theoretical research project for you

We were having a listserv discussion on the replication project in psychology and someone asked about the rate of replication failures of stunning claims at top journals, compared to run-of-the-mill claims at lower-impact journals. E. J. wrote: Boring research is more likely to replicate. I have no data to back this up, so let’s just […]

Mars Missions are a Scam

Dan Vergano, science reporter at BuzzFeed News and formerly of USA Today, writes: We wonder if you, or someone you’d recommend, might comment on a replication debate that is playing out in the journal Political Psychology. Essentially, a researcher at Fordham claimed pictures of eyes on mailers increased voter turnout in 2014. Two authors elsewhere […]

Cognitive skills rising and falling

David Hogg writes: I thought this was either interesting or bunk—using online games to infer how various kinds of cognitive intelligence vary with age. I thought it might be interesting to you on a number of levels. For one: Are there really categories of intelligence and can these map onto online games? For another: How […]

Low-power pose

“The samples were collected in privacy, using passive drool procedures, and frozen immediately.” Anna Dreber sends along a paper, “Assessing the Robustness of Power Posing: No Effect on Hormones and Risk Tolerance in a Large Sample of Men and Women,” which she published in Psychological Science with coauthors Eva Ranehill, Magnus Johannesson, Susanne Leiberg, Sunhae […]


Leonid Schneider writes: I am cell biologist turned science journalist after 13 years in academia. Despite my many years experience as scientist, I shamefully admit to be largely incompetent in statistics. My request to you is as follows: A soon to be published psychology study set on to reproduce 100 randomly picked earlier studies and […]


Reflecting on the recent psychology replication study (see also here), journalist Megan McArdle writes an excellent column on why we fall for bogus research: The problem is not individual research papers, or even the field of psychology. It’s the way that academic culture filters papers, and the way that the larger society gets their results. […]

Meet Teletherm, the hot new climate change statistic!

Peter Dodds, Lewis Mitchell, Andrew Reagan, and Christopher Danforth write: We introduce, formalize, and explore what we believe are fundamental climatological and seasonal markers: the Summer and Winter Teletherm—the on-average hottest and coldest days of the year. We measure the Teletherms using 25 and 50 year averaging windows for 1218 stations in the contiguous United […]

To understand the replication crisis, imagine a world in which everything was published.

John Snow points me to this post by psychology researcher Lisa Feldman Barrett who reacted to the recent news on the non-replication of many psychology studies with a contrarian, upbeat take, entitled “Psychology Is Not in Crisis.” Here’s Barrett: An initiative called the Reproducibility Project at the University of Virginia recently reran 100 psychology experiments […]

Uri Simonsohn warns us not to be falsely reassured

I agree with Uri Simonsohn that you don’t learn much by looking at the distribution of all the p-values that have appeared in some literature. Uri explains: Most p-values reported in most papers are irrelevant for the strategic behavior of interest. Covariates, manipulation checks, main effects in studies testing interactions, etc. Including them we underestimate […]

New paper on psychology replication

The Open Science Collaboration, a team led by psychology researcher Brian Nosek, organized the replication of 100 published psychology experiments. They report: A large portion of replications produced weaker evidence for the original findings despite using materials provided by the original authors, review in advance for methodological fidelity, and high statistical power to detect the […]

“Women Respond to Nobel Laureate’s ‘Trouble With Girls'”

Someone pointed me to this amusing/horrifying story of a clueless oldster. Some people are horrified by what the old guy said, other people are horrified by how he was treated. He was clueless in his views about women in science, or he was cluelessly naive about gotcha journalism. I haven’t been following the details and […]

“We can keep debating this after 11 years, but I’m sure we all have much more pressing things to do (grants? papers? family time? attacking 11-year-old papers by former classmates? guitar practice?)”

Someone pointed me to this discussion by Lior Pachter of a controversial claim in biology. The statistics The statistical content has to do with a biology paper by M. Kellis, B. W. Birren, and E.S. Lander from 2004 that contains the following passage: Strikingly, 95% of cases of accelerated evolution involve only one member of […]

Richard Feynman and the tyranny of measurement

I followed a link at Steve Hsu’s blog and came to this discussion of Feyman’s cognitive style. Hsu writes that “it was often easier for [Feynman] to invent his own solution than to read through someone else’s lengthy paper” and he follows up with a story in which “Feynman did not understand the conventional formulation […]

Psych dept: “We are especially interested in candidates whose research program contributes to the development of new quantitative methods”

This is cool. The #1 psychology department in the world is looking for a quantitative researcher: The Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position. The expected start date is September 1, 2016. The primary criterion for appointment is excellence in research and teaching. We are […]

“Physical Models of Living Systems”

Phil Nelson writes: I’d like to alert you that my new textbook, “Physical Models of Living Systems,” has just been published. Among other things, this book is my attempt to bring Bayesian inference to undergraduates in any science or engineering major, and the course I teach from it has been enthusiastically received. The book is […]