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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

Dead Wire

Kevin Lewis pointed me to this quote from a forthcoming article: Daniele Fanelli and colleagues examined more than 3,000 meta-analyses covering 22 scientific disciplines for multiple commonly discussed bias patterns. Studies reporting large effect sizes were associated with large standard errors and large numbers of citations to the study, and were more likely to be […]

When does research have active opposition?

A reporter was asking me the other day about the Brian Wansink “pizzagate” scandal. The whole thing is embarrassing for journalists and bloggers who’ve been reporting on this guy’s claims entirely uncritically for years. See here, for example. Or here and here. Or here, here, here, and here. Or here. Or here, here, here, . […]

Clarke’s Law: Any sufficiently crappy research is indistinguishable from fraud (Pizzagate edition)

This recent Pizzagate post by Nick Brown reminds me of our discussion of Clarke’s Law last year. P.S. I watched a couple more episodes of Game of Thrones on the plane the other day. It was pretty good! And so I continue to think this watching GoT is more valuable than writing error-ridden papers such […]

Whassup, Pace investigators? You’re still hiding your data. C’mon dudes, loosen up. We’re getting chronic fatigue waiting for you already!

James Coyne writes: For those of you who have not heard of the struggle for release of the data from the publicly funded PACE trial of adaptive pacing therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, graded exercise therapy, and specialist medical care for chronic fatigue syndrome, you can access my [Coyne’s] initial call for release of the portion […]

Fatal Lady

Eric Loken writes: I guess they needed to add some drama to Hermine’s progress. [background here] P.S. The above post was pretty short. I guess I should give you some more material. So here’s this, that someone sent me: You’ve written written about problems with regression discontinuity a number of times. This paper that just […]

Fair Warning

A few months ago we shared Rolf Zwaan’s satirical advice on how to conduct a research project in social psychology, write it up, and publicize it, under the principle of minimal effort in the research, maximum claims in the writeup, and maximal publicity in the aftermath. I called it, “From zero to Ted talk in […]

How is preregistration like random sampling and controlled experimentation

In the discussion following my talk yesterday, someone asked about preregistration and I gave an answer that I really liked, something I’d never thought of before. I started with my usual story that preregistration is great in two settings: (a) replicating your own exploratory work (as in the 50 shades of gray paper), and (b) […]

Blind Alley

Paul Alper points in a comment to an excellent news article by James Glanz and Agustin Armendariz: Dr. Carlo Croce is among the most prolific scientists in an emerging area of cancer research . . . a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Croce has parlayed his decades-long pursuit of cancer remedies into […]

Science communication is not a one-shot game

In our recent discussion of Ted doubling down on power pose, commenter Michael raised an interesting question: I think the general attitude of most people who work on communicating science to the public is that their responsibility is only to make sure that any information they present has a source with the proper credentials (published […]

Low-power pose update: Ted goes all-in

There’s a motto in poker: Fold or raise, never call. I thought of this after seeing this long interview with Amy “power pose” Cuddy at the Ted talk site. Ted’s really going all in on this one. The interview was 100% Cuddy with not a single link to any critical remarks. Here’s a partial list […]

Note to Deborah Mayo

I have a post coming on 2 Mar on preregistration that I think you’ll like. It unifies some ideas regarding statistical design and analysis, and in some ways it’s a follow-up to my Borscht Belt post.

Division of labor and a Pizzagate solution

I firmly believe that the general principles of social science can improve our understanding of the world. Today I want to talk about two principles—division of labor from economics, and roles from sociology—and their relevance to the Pizzagate scandal involving Brian Wansink, the Cornell University business school professor and self-described “world-renowned eating behavior expert for […]

Pizzagate and Kahneman, two great flavors etc.

1. The pizzagate story (of Brian Wansink, the Cornell University business school professor and self-described “world-renowned eating behavior expert for over 25 years”) keeps developing. Last week someone forwarded me an email from the deputy dean of the Cornell business school regarding concerns about some of Wansink’s work. This person asked me to post the […]


OK, guess the year of this quote: Experimental social psychology today seems dominated by values that suggest the following slogan: “Social psychology ought to be and is a lot of fun.” The fun comes not from the learning, but from the doing. Clever experimentation on exotic topics with a zany manipulation seems to be the […]

Pizzagate update: Don’t try the same trick twice or people might notice

I’m getting a bit sick of this one already (hence image above; also see review here from Jesse Singal) but there are a couple of interesting issues that arose in recent updates.

Authority figures in psychology spread more happy talk, still don’t get the point that much of the published, celebrated, and publicized work in their field is no good

Susan Fiske, Daniel Schacter, and Shelley Taylor write (link from Retraction Watch): Psychology is not in crisis, contrary to popular rumor. Every few decades, critics declare a crisis, point out problems, and sometimes motivate solutions. When we were graduate students, psychology was in “crisis,” raising concerns about whether it was scientific enough. Issues of measurement […]

The Mannequin

Jonathan Falk points to this article, “Examining the impact of grape consumption on brain metabolism and cognitive function in patients with mild decline in cognition: A double-blinded placebo controlled pilot study,” and writes: Drink up! N=10, no effect on thing you’re aiming at, p value result on a few brain measurements (out of?), eminently pr-able […]

Research connects overpublication during national sporting events to science-journalism problems

Ivan Oransky pointed me to a delightful science-based press release, “One’s ability to make money develops before birth”: Researchers from the Higher School of Economics have shown how the level of perinatal testosterone, the sex hormone, impacts a person’s earnings in life. Prior research confirms that many skills and successes are linked to the widely […]

Death of the Party

Under the subject line, “Example of a classy response to someone pointing out an error,” Charles Jack​son writes: In their recent book, Mazur and Stein describe the discovery of an error that one of them had made in a recent paper writing: “Happily, Bartosz Naskreki spotted this error . . .” See below for full […]

Pizzagate, or the curious incident of the researcher in response to people pointing out 150 errors in four of his papers

There are a bunch of things about this story that just don’t make a lot of sense to me. For those who haven’t been following the blog recently, here’s the quick backstory: Brian Wansink is a Cornell University business school professor and self-described “world-renowned eating behavior expert for over 25 years.” It’s come out that […]