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Archive of posts filed under the Miscellaneous Science category.

“Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” and “The Narcissism Epidemic”: How can we think about the evidence?

Jay Livingston points to this hypey article, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?”, by Jean Twenge, who writes: I’ve been researching generational differences for 25 years . . . Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum. . . . [But] Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen […]

Low power and the replication crisis: What have we learned since 2004 (or 1984, or 1964)?

I happened to run across this article from 2004, “The Persistence of Underpowered Studies in Psychological Research: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies,” by Scott Maxwell and published in the journal Psychological Methods. In this article, Maxwell covers a lot of the material later discussed in the paper Power Failure by Button et al. (2013), and the […]

Testing Seth Roberts’ appetite theory

Jonathan Tupper writes: My organization is running a group test of Seth Roberts’ old theory about appetite. We are running something like a “web trial” as discussed in your Chance article with Seth. And in fact our design was very inspired by your conversation… For one, we are using a control group which takes light […]

I’m skeptical of the claims made in this paper

Two different people pointed me to a recent research article, suggesting that the claims therein were implausible and the result of some combination of forking paths and spurious correlations—that is, there was doubt that the results would show up in a preregistered replication, and that, if they did show up, that they would mean what […]

“No System is Perfect: Understanding How Registration-Based Editorial Processes Affect Reproducibility and Investment in Research Quality”

Robert Bloomfield, Kristina Rennekamp, Blake Steenhoven sent along this paper that compares “a registration-based Editorial Process (REP). Authors submitted proposals to gather and analyze data; successful proposals were guaranteed publication as long as the authors lived up to their commitments, regardless of whether results supported their predictions” to “the Traditional Editorial Process (TEP).” Here’s what […]

Snappy Titles: Deterministic claims increase the probability of getting a paper published in a psychology journal

A junior psychology researcher who would like to remain anonymous writes: I wanted to pass along something I found to be of interest today as a proponent of pre-registration. Here is a recent article from Social Psychological and Personality Science. I was interested by the pre-registered study. Here is the pre-registration for Study 1. The […]

Geoff Norman: Is science a special kind of storytelling?

Javier Benítez points to this article by epidemiologist Geoff Norman, who writes: The nature of science was summarized beautifully by a Stanford professor of science education, Mary Budd Rowe, who said that: Science is a special kind of story-telling with no right or wrong answers. Just better and better stories. Benítez writes that he doesn’t […]

The multiverse in action!

In a recent paper, “Degrees of Freedom in Planning, Running, Analyzing, and Reporting Psychological Studies: A Checklist to Avoid p-Hacking,” Jelte Wicherts, Coosje Veldkamp, Hilde Augusteijn, Marjan Bakker, Robbie van Aert, and Marcel van Assen write: The designing, collecting, analyzing, and reporting of psychological studies entail many choices that are often arbitrary. The opportunistic use […]

The Paper of My Enemy Has Been Retracted

The paper of my enemy has been retracted And I am pleased. From every media outlet it has been retracted Like a van-load of p-values that has been seized And sits in star-laden tables in a replication archive, My enemy’s much-prized effort sits in tables In the kind of journal where retraction occurs. Great, square […]

NSF Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM

The National Science Foundation is funding this program: NSF Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM (CCE STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics]) Funding: The maximum amount for 5-year awards is $600,000 (including indirect costs) and the maximum amount for 3-year awards is $400,000 (including indirect costs). The average award is $275,000. Deadline: Internal Notice of Intent […]

The Trumpets of Lilliput

Gur Huberman pointed me to this paper by George Akerlof and Pascal Michaillat that gives an institutional model for the persistence of false belief. The article begins: This paper develops a theory of promotion based on evaluations by the already promoted. The already promoted show some favoritism toward candidates for promotion with similar beliefs, just […]

Hey, here’s a new reason for a journal to reject a paper: it’s “annoying” that it’s already on a preprint server

Alex Gamma writes: I’m interested in publishing in journal X. So I inquire about X’s preprint policy. X’s editor informs me that [Journal X] does not prohibit placing submitted manuscripts on preprint servers. Some reviewers may notice the server version of the article, however, and they may find the lack of anonymity so annoying that […]

The puzzle: Why do scientists typically respond to legitimate scientific criticism in an angry, defensive, closed, non-scientific way? The answer: We’re trained to do this during the process of responding to peer review.

[image of Cantor’s corner] Here’s the “puzzle,” as we say in social science. Scientific research is all about discovery of the unexpected: to do research, you need to be open to new possibilities, to design experiments to force anomalies, and to learn from them. The sweet spot for any researcher is at Cantor’s corner. (See […]

The retraction paradox: Once you retract, you implicitly have to defend all the many things you haven’t yet retracted

Mark Palko points to this news article by Beth Skwarecki on Goop, “the Gwyneth Paltrow pseudoscience empire.” Here’s Skwarecki: When Goop publishes something weird or, worse, harmful, I often find myself wondering what are they thinking? Recently, on Jimmy Kimmel, Gwyneth laughed at some of the newsletter’s weirder recommendations and said “I don’t know what […]

Intelligence has always been artificial or at least artefactual.

I (Keith O’Rourke) thought I would revisit a post of Andrew’s on artificial intelligence (AI) and statistics. The main point seemed to be that “AI can be improved using long-established statistical principles. Or, to put it another way, that long-established statistical principles can be made more useful through AI techniques.” The point(s) I will try […]

I’m with Errol: On flypaper, photography, science, and storytelling

[image of a cat going after an insect] I’ve been reading this amazing book, Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography, by Errol Morris, who, like John Waters, is a pathbreaking filmmaker who is also an excellent writer. I recommend this book, but what I want to talk about here is one particular […]

The failure of null hypothesis significance testing when studying incremental changes, and what to do about it

A few months ago I wrote a post, “Cage match: Null-hypothesis-significance-testing meets incrementalism. Nobody comes out alive.” I soon after turned it into an article, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, with the title given above and the following abstract: A standard mode of inference in social and behavioral science is to establish stylized […]

UNDER EMBARGO: the world’s most unexciting research finding

Kevin Lewis writes: Since it’s so surprising: From: Society for Personality and Social Psychology Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 12:01 PM Subject: Embargoed: Want to be popular? Work on your emotional intelligence UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL SEPTEMBER 27, 2016 at 7:30 AM EDT Media Contact: Annie Drinkard, Public and Media Relations Manager Society for Personality and […]

Working Class Postdoc

As soon as you’re born they make you feel small By giving you no time instead of it all Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all A working class hero is something to be A working class hero is something to be They hurt you at home and they hit you […]

Stranger than fiction

Someone pointed me to a long discussion, which he preferred not to share publicly, of his perspective on a scientific controversy in his field of research. He characterized a particular claim as “impossible to be true, i.e., false, and therefore, by definition, fiction.” But my impression of a lot of research misconduct is that the […]