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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

I hate that “Iron Law” thing

Dahyeon Jeong wrote: While I was reading your today’s post “Some people are so easy to contact and some people aren’t”, I’ve come across your older posts including “Edlin’s rule for routinely scaling down published estimates.” In this post you write: Also, yeah, that Iron Law thing sounds horribly misleading. I’d not heard that particular […]

The Night Riders

Retraction Watch linked to this paper, “Publication bias and the canonization of false facts,” by Silas Nissen, Tali Magidson, Kevin Gross, and Carl Bergstrom, and which is in the Physics and Society section of Arxiv which is kind of odd since it has nothing whatsoever to do with physics. Nissen et al. write: In the […]

The time reversal heuristic (priming and voting edition)

Ed Yong writes: Over the past decade, social psychologists have dazzled us with studies showing that huge social problems can seemingly be rectified through simple tricks. A small grammatical tweak in a survey delivered to people the day before an election greatly increases voter turnout. A 15-minute writing exercise narrows the achievement gap between black […]

The king must die

“And then there was Yodeling Elaine, the Queen of the Air. She had a dollar sign medallion about as big as a dinner plate around her neck and a tiny bubble of spittle around her nostril and a little rusty tear, for she had lassoed and lost another tipsy sailor“– Tom Waits It turns out I turned […]

Statistical Significance and the Dichotomization of Evidence (McShane and Gal’s paper, with discussions by Berry, Briggs, Gelman and Carlin, and Laber and Shedden)

Blake McShane sent along this paper by himself and David Gal, which begins: In light of recent concerns about reproducibility and replicability, the ASA issued a Statement on Statistical Significance and p-values aimed at those who are not primarily statisticians. While the ASA Statement notes that statistical significance and p-values are “commonly misused and misinterpreted,” […]

If you want to know about basketball, who ya gonna trust, a mountain of p-values . . . or that poseur Phil Jackson??

Someone points me with amusement to this published article from 2012: Beliefs About the “Hot Hand” in Basketball Across the Adult Life Span Alan Castel, Aimee Drolet Rossi, and Shannon McGillivray University of California, Los Angeles Many people believe in streaks. In basketball, belief in the “hot hand” occurs when people think a player is […]

In the open-source software world, bug reports are welcome. In the science publication world, bug reports are resisted, opposed, buried.

Mark Tuttle writes: If/when the spirit moves you, you should contrast the success of the open software movement with the challenge of published research. In the former case, discovery of bugs, or of better ways of doing things, is almost always WELCOMED. In some cases, submitters of bug reports, patches, suggestions, etc. get “merit badges” […]

“La critique est la vie de la science”: I kinda get annoyed when people set themselves up as the voice of reason but don’t ever get around to explaining what’s the unreasonable thing they dislike.

Someone pointed me to a blog post, Negative Psychology, from 2014 by Jim Coan about the replication crisis in psychology. My reaction: I find it hard to make sense of what he is saying because he doesn’t offer any examples of the “negative psychology” phenomenon that he discussing. I kinda get annoyed when people set […]

Beyond “power pose”: Using replication failures and a better understanding of data collection and analysis to do better science

So. A bunch of people pointed me to a New York Times article by Susan Dominus about Amy Cuddy, the psychology researcher and Ted-talk star famous for the following claim (made in a paper written with Dana Carney and Andy Yap and published in 2010): That a person can, by assuming two simple 1-min poses, […]

From perpetual motion machines to embodied cognition: The boundaries of pseudoscience are being pushed back into the trivial.

This exchange came from a comment thread last year. Diana Senechal points to this bizarre thing: Brian Little says in Me, Myself, and Us (regarding the “lemon introvert test”): One of the more interesting ways of informally assessing extraversion at the biogenic level is to do the lemon-drop test. [Description of experiment omitted from present […]

Beyond forking paths: using multilevel modeling to figure out what can be learned from this survey experiment

Under the heading, “Incompetent leaders as a protection against elite betrayal,” Tyler Cowen linked to this paper, “Populism and the Return of the ‘Paranoid Style’: Some Evidence and a Simple Model of Demand for Incompetence as Insurance against Elite Betrayal,” by Rafael Di Tella and Julio Rotemberg. From a statistical perspective, the article by Tella […]

“congratulations, your article is published!” Ummm . . .

The following came in the email under the heading, “congratulations, your article is published!”: I don’t know that I should be congratulated on correcting an error, but sure, whatever. P.S. The above cat is adorably looking out and will notice all of your errors.

Sudden Money

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 […]

BREAKING . . . . . . . PNAS updates its slogan!

I’m so happy about this, no joke. Here’s the story. For awhile I’ve been getting annoyed by the junk science papers (for example, here, here, and here) that have been published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences under the editorship of Susan T. Fiske. I’ve taken to calling it PPNAS (“Prestigious proceedings […]

When considering proposals for redefining or abandoning statistical significance, remember that their effects on science will only be indirect!

John Schwenkler organized a discussion on this hot topic, featuring posts by – Dan Benjamin, Jim Berger, Magnus Johannesson, Valen Johnson, Brian Nosek, and E. J. Wagenmakers – Felipe De Brigard – Kenny Easwaran – Andrew Gelman and Blake McShane – Kiley Hamlin – Edouard Machery – Deborah Mayo – “Neuroskeptic” – Michael Strevens – […]

Alan Sokal’s comments on “Abandon Statistical Significance”

The physicist and science critic writes: I just came across your paper “Abandon statistical significance”. I basically agree with your point of view, but I think you could have done more to *distinguish* clearly between several different issues: 1) In most problems in the biomedical and social sciences, the possible hypotheses are parametrized by a […]

The “fish MRI” of international relations studies.

Kevin Lewis pointed me to this paper by Stephen Chaudoin, Jude Hays and Raymond Hicks, “Do We Really Know the WTO Cures Cancer?”, which begins: This article uses a replication experiment of ninety-four specifications from sixteen different studies to show the severity of the problem of selection on unobservables. Using a variety of approaches, it […]

Automated Inference on Criminality Using High-tech GIGO Analysis

Yee Whye Teh writes: You might be interested in this article. My reply was that this is just a big joke, one more bit of hype over a bunch of correlations. Lots of obvious problems with this paper, and it’s too bad that journalists fell for it. And, as an MIT grad, I’m particularly sad […]

“Cheerleading with an agenda: how the press covers science”

Yarden Katz writes: I thought you might be interested in this new (critical) perspective on science journalism: Cheerleading with an agenda: how the press covers science. It’s a topic far less urgent than the election (but related to the broader press failures that have been very visible in politics). My reply: This is an excellent […]

Further evidence that creativity and innovation are stimulated by college sports: Evidence from a big regression

Kevin Lewis sent along this paper from the Creativity Research Journal: Further Evidence that Creativity and Innovation are Inhibited by Conservative Thinking: Analyses of the 2016 Presidential Election The investigation replicated and extended previous research showing a negative relationship between conservatism and creative accomplishment. Conservatism was estimated, as in previous research, from voting patterns. The […]