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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

Josh Miller hot hand talks in NYC and Pittsburgh this week

Joshua Miller (the person who, with Adam Sanjurjo, discovered why the so-called “hot hand fallacy” is not really a fallacy) will be speaking on the topic this week. In New York, Thurs 17 Nov, 12:30pm, 19 W 4th St, room 517, Center for Experimental Social Science seminar. In Pittsburgh, Fri 18 Nov, 12pm, 4716 Posvsar […]

“Men with large testicles”

Above is the title of an email I received from Marcel van Assen. We were having a discussion of PPNAS papers—I was relating my frustration about Case and Deaton’s response to my letter with Auerbach on age adjustment in mortality trends—and Assen wrote: We also commented on a paper in PNAS. The original paper was […]

The role of models and empirical work in political science

Bill Kelleher writes: I recently posted a review of A Model Discipline, by Clarke and Primo on My review is entitled “Why Physics Envy will Persist,” at As you likely know, they are critical of the widespread belief among political scientists in the hypothetical-deductive method. As part of my review of the book, […]

Can a census-tract-level regression analysis untangle correlation between lead and crime?

Daniel Hawkins pointed me to a post by Kevin Drum entitled, “Crime in St. Louis: It’s Lead, Baby, Lead,” and the associated research article by Brian Boutwell, Erik Nelson, Brett Emo, Michael Vaughn, Mario Schootman, Richard Rosenfeld, Roger Lewis, “The intersection of aggregate-level lead exposure and crime.” The short story is that the areas of […]

How effective (or counterproductive) is universal child care? Part 2

This is the second of a series of two posts. Yesterday we discussed the difficulties of learning from a small, noisy experiment, in the context of a longitudinal study conducted in Jamaica where researchers reported that an early-childhood intervention program caused a 42%, or 25%, gain in later earnings. I expressed skepticism. Today I want […]

How effective (or counterproductive) is universal child care? Part 1

This is the first of a series of two posts. We’ve talked before about various empirically-based claims of the effectiveness of early childhood intervention. In a much-publicized 2013 paper based on a study of 130 four-year-old children in Jamaica, Paul Gertler et al. claimed that a particular program caused a 42% increase in the participants’ […]

They say it because it’s true . . .

. . . We really do have the best comment section on the internet.

Kahan: “On the Sources of Ordinary Science Knowledge and Ignorance”

Dan Kahan points me to this paper: It is impossible to make sense of persistent controversy over certain forms of decision-relevant science without understanding what happens in the vastly greater number of cases in which members of the public converge on the best available evidence without misadventure. In order to live well—or just to live, […]

How to improve science reporting? Dan Vergano sez: It’s not about reality, it’s all about a salary

I happened to be looking up some things on cat-owner Dan Kahan’s blog and I came across this interesting comment from 2013 that I’d not noticed before. The comment came from science journalist Dan Vergano, and it was in response to a post of Kahan that discussed an article of mine that had given advice […]

Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences

Jamie Druckman and Jeremy Freese write: We are pleased to announce that Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS) was renewed for another round of funding by National Science Foundation. TESS allows researchers to submit proposals for experiments to be conducted on a nationally-representative, probability-based survey research platform. Successful proposals are fielded at no cost […]

Happiness of liberals and conservatives in different countries

Jay Livingston writes: I recall that you have used my post showing that the happiness of conservatives is related to who’s in power. So you might be interested in this multi-nation study showing the same thing: Generally, conservatives are happier than non-conservatives. However, “that is mostly the case in conservative countries. In liberal countries, they […]

“How One Study Produced a Bunch of Untrue Headlines About Tattoos Strengthening Your Immune System”

Jeff points to this excellently skeptical news article by Caroline Weinberg, who writes: A recent study published in the American Journal of Human Biology suggests that people with previous tattoo experience may have a better immune response to new tattoos than those being inked for the first time. That’s the finding if you read the […]

The Psychological Science stereotype paradox

Lee Jussim, Jarret Crawford, and Rachel Rubinstein just published a paper in Psychological Science that begins, Are stereotypes accurate or inaccurate? We summarize evidence that stereotype accuracy is one of the largest and most replicable findings in social psychology. We address controversies in this literature, including the long-standing and continuing but unjustified emphasis on stereotype […]

Opportunity for publishing preregistered analyses of the 2016 American National Election Study

Brendan Nyhan writes: Have you heard about the Election Research Preacceptance Competition that Skip Lupia and I are organizing to promote preaccepted articles? Details here: A number of top journals have agreed to consider preaccepted articles that include data from the ANES. Authors who publish qualifying entries can win a $2,000 prize. We’re eager […]

“Marginally Significant Effects as Evidence for Hypotheses: Changing Attitudes Over Four Decades”

Kevin Lewis sends along this article by Laura Pritschet, Derek Powell, and Zachary Horne, who write: Some effects are statistically significant. Other effects do not reach the threshold of statistical significance and are sometimes described as “marginally significant” or as “approaching significance.” Although the concept of marginal significance is widely deployed in academic psychology, there […]

Transparency, replications, and publication

Bob Reed responded to my recent Retraction Watch article (where I argued that corrections and retractions are not a feasible solution to the problem of flawed science, because there are so many fatally flawed papers out there and retraction or correction is such a long, drawn-out process) with a post on openness, data transparency, and […]

Note to journalists: If there’s no report you can read, there’s no study

Blogger Echidne caught a study by the British organization Demos which was reported in Newsweek as “Half of Misogyny on Twitter Comes From Women.” But, as Echidne points out, there’s no study to report: I [Echidne] then e-mailed Demos to ask for the url of the study. The rapid response I received (thanks, Demos!) told […]

Michael Lacour vs John Bargh and Amy Cuddy

In our discussion of the Bargh, Chen, and Burrows priming-with-elderly-related-words-makes-people-walk-slowly-paper (the study which famously failed in a preregistered replication), commenter Lois wrote: Curious as to what people think of this comment on the Bargh et al. (1996) paper from Pubpeer: (see below). In Experiment 3, the experimenter rated participants on irritability, hostility, anger, and uncooperativeness […]

The never-back-down syndrome and the fundamental attribution error

David Allison told me about a frustrating episode in which he published a discussion where he pointed out problems with a published paper, and the authors replied with . . . not even a grudging response, they didn’t give an inch, really ungracious behavior. No “Thank you for finding our errors”; instead they wrote: We […]

NPR’s gonna NPR

I was gonna give this post the title, Stat Rage More Severe in the Presence of First-Class Journals, but then I thought I’d keep it simple. Chapter 1. Background OK, here’s what happened. A couple weeks ago someone pointed me to a low-quality paper that appeared in PPNAS (the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy […]