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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

Powerpose update

I contacted Anna Dreber, one of the authors of the paper that failed to replicate power pose, and asked her about a particular question that came up regarding their replication study. One of the authors of the original power pose study wrote that the replication “varied methodologically in about a dozen ways — some of […]

We fiddle while Rome burns: p-value edition

Raghu Parthasarathy presents a wonderfully clear example of disastrous p-value-based reasoning that he saw in a conference presentation. Here’s Raghu: Consider, for example, some tumorous cells that we can treat with drugs 1 and 2, either alone or in combination. We can make measurements of growth under our various drug treatment conditions. Suppose our measurements […]

Nooooooo, just make it stop, please!

Dan Kahan wrote: You should do a blog on this. I replied: I don’t like this article but I don’t really see the point in blogging on it. Why bother? Kahan: BECAUSE YOU REALLY NEVER HAVE EXPLAINED WHY. Gelman-Rubin criticque of BIC is *not* responsive; you have something in mind—tell us what, pls! Inquiring minds […]

Emails I never bothered to answer

So, this came in the email one day: Dear Professor Gelman, I would like to shortly introduce myself: I am editor in the ** Department at the publishing house ** (based in ** and **). As you may know, ** has taken over all journals of ** Press. We are currently restructuring some of the […]

p=.03, it’s gotta be true!

Howie Lempel writes: Showing a white person a photo of Obama w/ artificially dark skin instead of artificially lightened skin before asking whether they support the Tea Party raises their probability of saying “yes” from 12% to 22%. 255 person Amazon Turk and Craigs List sample, p=.03. Nothing too unusual about this one. But it’s […]

This is not news.

Anne Pier Salverda writes: I’m not sure if you’re keeping track of published failures to replicate the power posing effect, but this article came out earlier this month: “Embodied power, testosterone, and overconfidence as a causal pathway to risk-taking.” From the abstract: We were unable to replicate the findings of the original study and subsequently […]

Hark, hark! the p-value at heaven’s gate sings

Three different people pointed me to this post, in which food researcher and business school professor Brian Wansink advises Ph.D. students to “never say no”: When a research idea comes up, check it out, put some time into it and you might get some success. I like that advice and I agree with it. Or, […]

What is valued by the Association for Psychological Science

Someone pointed me to this program of the forthcoming Association for Psychological Science conference: Kind of amazing that they asked Amy Cuddy to speak. Weren’t Dana Carney or Andy Yap available? What would really have been bold would have been for them to invite Eva Ranehill or Anna Dreber. Good stuff. The chair of the […]

fMRI clusterf******

Several people pointed me to this paper by Anders Eklund, Thomas Nichols, and Hans Knutsson, which begins: Functional MRI (fMRI) is 25 years old, yet surprisingly its most common statistical methods have not been validated using real data. Here, we used resting-state fMRI data from 499 healthy controls to conduct 3 million task group analyses. […]

“Dear Major Textbook Publisher”: A Rant

Dear Major Academic Publisher, You just sent me, unsolicited, an introductory statistics textbook that is 800 pages and weighs about 5 pounds. It’s the 3rd edition of a book by someone I’ve never heard of. That’s fine—a newcomer can write a good book. The real problem is that the book is crap. It’s just the […]

Hot hand 1, WSJ 0

In a generally good book review on “uncertainty and the limits of human reason,” William Easterly writes: Failing to process uncertainty correctly, we attach too much importance to too small a number of observations. Basketball teams believe that players suddenly have a “hot hand” after they have made a string of baskets, so you should […]

Data 1, NPR 0

Jay “should replace the Brooks brothers on the NYT op-ed page” Livingston writes: There it was again, the panic about the narcissism of millennialas as evidenced by selfies. This time it was NPR’s podcast Hidden Brain. The show’s host Shankar Vedantam chose to speak with only one researcher on the topic – psychologist Jean Twenge, […]

“A bug in fMRI software could invalidate 15 years of brain research”

About 50 people pointed me to this press release or the underlying PPNAS research article, “Cluster failure: Why fMRI inferences for spatial extent have inflated false-positive rates,” by Anders Eklund, Thomas Nichols, and Hans Knutsson, who write: Functional MRI (fMRI) is 25 years old, yet surprisingly its most common statistical methods have not been validated […]

“Breakfast skipping, extreme commutes, and the sex composition at birth”

Bhash Mazumder sends along a paper (coauthored with Zachary Seeskin) which begins: A growing body of literature has shown that environmental exposures in the period around conception can affect the sex ratio at birth through selective attrition that favors the survival of female conceptuses. Glucose availability is considered a key indicator of the fetal environment, […]

Good news! PPNAS releases updated guidelines for getting a paper published in their social science division

From zero to Ted talk in 18 simple steps: Rolf Zwaan explains how to do it! The advice is from 2013 but I think it still just might work. Here’s Zwaan: How to Cook up Your Own Social Priming Article 1. Come up with an idea for a study. Don’t sweat it. It’s not as […]

Sniffing tears perhaps not as effective as claimed

Marcel van Assen has a story to share: In 2011 a rather amazing article was published in Science where the authors claim that “We found that merely sniffing negative-emotion-related odorless tears obtained from women donors induced reductions in sexual appeal attributed by men to pictures of women’s faces.” The article is this: Gelstein, S., Yeshurun, […]

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 […]

“Another terrible plot”

Till Hoffman sent me an email with the above subject line and the following content: These plots from the Daily Mail in the UK probably belong in your hall of fame of terrible visualisations: I was gonna click on this, but then I thought . . . the Daily Mail? Even I have limits […]

Rotten all the way through

In a conversation with a journalist regarding bad research papers, I said, “I think there are journals and years where I would guess more than half the papers have essentially fatal errors.” The journalist asked me where this estimate came from, and I replied: I have no systematic statistics on this. My “more than half” […]

Unintentional parody of Psychological Science-style research redeemed by Dan Kahan insight

Cat-owner Kahan’s no Freud expert but he spied the above piece of work and sent it to me along with the comment: I can pretty much tell (meaning I put odds at 9.7:1; obviously I’ll revise when I read) that this is a disaster b/c it tries to tell me what the inferences are and […]