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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

“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 […]

Cracks in the thin blue line

When people screw up or cheat in their research, what do their collaborators say? The simplest case is when coauthors admit their error, as Cexun Jeffrey Cai and I did when it turned out that we’d miscoded a key variable in an analysis, invalidating the empirical claims of our award-winning paper. On the other extreme, […]

Andrew Gelman is not the plagiarism police because there is no such thing as the plagiarism police.

The title of this post is a line that Thomas Basbøll wrote a couple years ago. Before I go on, let me say that the fact that I have not investigated this case in detail is not meant to imply that it’s not important or that it’s not worth investigating. It’s just not something that […]

Why is the scientific replication crisis centered on psychology?

The replication crisis is a big deal. But it’s a problem in lots of scientific fields. Why is so much of the discussion about psychology research? Why not economics, which is more controversial and gets more space in the news media? Or medicine, which has higher stakes and a regular flow of well-publicized scandals? Here […]

Acupuncture paradox update

The acupuncture paradox, as we discussed earlier, is: The scientific consensus appears to be that, to the extent that acupuncture makes people feel better, it is through relaxing the patient, also the acupuncturist might help in other ways, encouraging the patient to focus on his or her lifestyle. But whenever I discuss the topic with […]

An auto-mechanic-style sign for data sharing

Yesterday’s story reminds me of that sign you used to see at the car repair shop: Maybe we need something similar for data access rules: DATA RATES PER HOUR If you want to write a press release for us $ 50.00 If you want to write a new paper using our data $ 90.00 If […]

Sharing data: Here’s how you do it, and here’s how you don’t

I received the following email today: Professor Gelman, My name is **, I am a senior at the University of ** studying **, and recently came across your paper, “What is the Probability That Your Vote Will Make a Difference?” in my Public Choice class. I am wondering if you are able to send me […]

Bayesian Statistics Then and Now

I happened to recently reread this article of mine from 2010, and I absolutely love it. I don’t think it’s been read by many people—it was published as one of three discussions of an article by Brad Efron in Statistical Science—so I wanted to share it with you again here. This is the article where […]

Genius is not enough: The sad story of Peter Hagelstein, living monument to the sunk-cost fallacy

I sometimes pick up various old collections that will be suitable for bathroom reading, and so it was that the other day I was sitting on the throne reading the summer 1985 issue of Granta, entitled Science. Lots of great stuff here, including Oliver Sacks on Tourette’s syndrome, Thomas McMahan on Alexander Graham Bell, and […]

You may not be interested in peer review, but peer review is interested in you

Here’s an ironic juxtaposition from Tyler Cowen’s blog. On 28 Apr he discusses a paper with a market system for improving peer review and concludes, “Interesting, but the main problem with the idea is simply that no one cares.” The day before, his assorted links featured “Frequency of Sex Shapes Automatic, but Not Explicit, Partner […]

research-lies-allegations-windpipe update

Paul Alper writes: Found this today in the Washington Post. Recall that at my suggestion you blogged about this affair previously: http://andrewgelman.com/2016/06/16/research-lies-allegations-windpipe-surgery/ Damn windpipe surgeons, always causing trouble.

Participate in this cool experiment about online privacy

Sharad Goel writes: We just launched an experiment about online privacy, and I was wondering if you could post this on your blog. In a nutshell, people upload their browsing history, which we then fingerprint and compare to the profiles of 100s of millions of Twitter users to find a match. Browsing history is something […]

Publication bias occurs within as well as between projects

Kent Holsinger points to this post by Kevin Drum entitled, “Publication Bias Is Boring. You Should Care About It Anyway,” and writes: I am an evolutionary biologist, not a psychologist, but this article describes a disturbing Scenario concerning oxytocin research that seems plausible. It is also relevant to the reproducibility/publishing issues you have been discussing […]

Things that sound good but aren’t quite right: Art and research edition

There are a lot of things you can say that sound very sensible but, upon reflection, are missing something. For example consider this blog comment from Chris G: Years ago I heard someone suggest these three questions for assessing a work of art: 1. What was the artist attempting to do? 2. Were they successful? […]

An ethnographic study of the “open evidential culture” of research psychology

Claude Fischer points me to this paper by David Peterson, “The Baby Factory: Difficult Research Objects, Disciplinary Standards, and the Production of Statistical Significance,” which begins: Science studies scholars have shown that the management of natural complexity in lab settings is accomplished through a mixture of technological standardization and tacit knowledge by lab workers. Yet […]