Skip to content
Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

Primed to lose

David Hogg points me to a recent paper, “A Social Priming Data Set With Troubling Oddities” by Hal Pashler, Doug Rohrer, Ian Abramson, Tanya Wolfson, and Christine Harris, which begins: Chatterjee, Rose, and Sinha (2013) presented results from three experiments investigating social priming—specifically, priming effects induced by incidental exposure to concepts relating to cash or […]

Forking paths vs. six quick regression tips

Bill Harris writes: I know you’re on a blog delay, but I’d like to vote to raise the odds that my question in a comment to http://andrewgelman.com/2015/09/15/even-though-its-published-in-a-top-psychology-journal-she-still-doesnt-believe-it/gets discussed, in case it’s not in your queue. It’s likely just my simple misunderstanding, but I’ve sensed two bits of contradictory advice in your writing: fit one complete model all at […]

When does peer review make no damn sense?

Disclaimer: This post is not peer reviewed in the traditional sense of being vetted for publication by three people with backgrounds similar to mine. Instead, thousands of commenters, many of whom are not my peers—in the useful sense that, not being my peers, your perspectives are different from mine, and you might catch big conceptual […]

Empirical violation of Arrow’s theorem!

Regular blog readers know about Arrow’s theorem, which is that any result can be published no more than five times. Well . . . I happened to be checking out Retraction Watch the other day and came across this: “Exactly the same clinical study” published six times Here’s the retraction notice in the journal Inflammation: […]

One thing I like about hierarchical modeling is that is not just about criticism. It’s a way to improve inferences, not just a way to adjust p-values.

In an email exchange regarding the difficulty many researchers have in engaging with statistical criticism (see here for a recent example), a colleague of mine opined: Nowadays, promotion requires more publications, and in an academic environment, researchers are asked to do more than they can. So many researchers just work like workers in a product […]

“Why IT Fumbles Analytics Projects”

Someone pointed me to this Harvard Business Review article by Donald Marchand and Joe Peppard, “Why IT Fumbles Analytics,” which begins as follows: In their quest to extract insights from the massive amounts of data now available from internal and external sources, many companies are spending heavily on IT tools and hiring data scientists. Yet […]

The time-reversal heuristic—a new way to think about a published finding that is followed up by a large, preregistered replication (in context of Amy Cuddy’s claims about power pose)

[Note to busy readers: If you’re sick of power pose, there’s still something of general interest in this post; scroll down to the section on the time-reversal heuristic. I really like that idea.] Someone pointed me to this discussion on Facebook in which Amy Cuddy expresses displeasure with my recent criticism (with Kaiser Fung) of […]

Ted Versus Powerpose and the Moneygoround, Part One

So. I was reading the newspaper the other day and came across a credulous review of the recent book by Amy “Power Pose” Cuddy. The review, by Heather Havrilesky, expressed some overall wariness regarding the self-help genre, but I was disappointed to see no skepticism regarding Cuddy’s scientific claims. And then I did a web […]

Rogue sociologist can’t stop roguin’

Mark Palko points me to two posts by Paul Campos (here and here) on this fascinating train wreck of a story. What happens next? It was ok that George Orwell and A. J. Liebling and David Sedaris made stuff up because they’re such good writers. And journalists make up quotes all the time. But who’s […]

Middle-aged white death trends update: It’s all about women in the south

Jonathan Auerbach and I wrote up some of the age-adjustment stuff we discussed on this blog a couple months ago. Here’s our article, a shorter version of which will appear as a letter in PPNAS. And here’s the new analysis we did showing age-adjusted death rates for 45-54-year-old non-Hispanic white men and women: Wow!! Remember […]

The devil really is in the details; or, You’ll be able to guess who I think are the good guys and who I think are the bad guys in this story, but I think it’s still worth telling because it provides some insight into how (some) scientists view statistics

I noticed this on Retraction Watch: “Scientists clearly cannot rely on the traditional avenues for correcting problems in the literature.” PubPeer responds to an editorial slamming the site. I’ve never actually read anything on PubPeer but I understand it’s a post-publication review site, and I like post-publication review. So I’m heading into this one on […]

Scientists Not Behaving Badly

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 […]

The PACE trial and the problems with discrete, yes/no thinking

I don’t often read the Iranian Journal of Cancer Prevention, but I like this quote: I was thinking more about the PACE trial. God is in every leaf of every tree. There’s been a lot of discussion about statistical problems with the PACE papers, and also about the research team’s depressing refusal to share their […]

PACE study and the Lancet: Journal reputation is a two-way street

One thing that struck me about this PACE scandal: if this study was so bad as all that, how did it taken so seriously by policymakers and the press? There’s been a lot of discussion about serious flaws in the published papers, and even more discussion about the unforgivable refusal of the research team to […]

“Why researchers keep citing retracted papers”

Lucas Estevam points us to this interesting article by Keith Collins.

Citation shocker: “The lifecycle of scholarly articles across fields of economic research”

David Backus writes: Check esp fig 2 here. He was pointing me to a post by Sebastian Galiani, Ramiro Galvez, and Maria Victoria Anauati called The lifecycle of scholarly articles across fields of economic research. And here’s fig 2: And, as usual, I duck all the interesting questions and move toward triviality: This should be […]

More on the PACE (chronic fatigue syndrome study) scandal

Last week we reported on the push to get the data released from that controversial PACE study on chronic fatigue syndrome. Julie Rehmeyer points to a news article with background on the story: Patients rapidly discovered serious scientific problems with the 2011 Lancet paper. Despite these errors, the study, known as the PACE trial, went […]

A Replication in Economics: Does “Genetic Distance” to the US Predict Development?

Douglas Campbell writes: A new study finding that more than half of psychology studies failed to replicate is a very positive step forward for social science. Could a similar study be undertaken in economics, and what would it find? Most empirical economics research is non-experimental, and thus I suspect that most studies would replicate in the sense […]

“Baby Boomer” as an inaccurate, all-purpose insult

From a recent book review by Christopher Tayler: In age and sensibility, they’re caught in the crossfire of the intergenerational squabble that caused David Foster Wallace, speaking for ‘the children of all the impassioned infidelities and divorces Updike wrote about so beautifully’, to characterise the typical Updikean baby boomer as ‘an asshole’. John Updike was […]

Cannabis/IQ follow-up: Same old story

Ole Rogeberg writes: The way researchers respond to criticism is a recurring theme on your blog, so you might find this amusing as a brief follow-up on the cannabis/IQ discussion you’ve covered before: The Dunedin longitudinal study has now been going for 40 years, and the lead researchers in charge of the study recently published an […]