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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

Bruised and battered, I couldn’t tell what I felt. I was ungeneralizable to myself.

One more rep. The new thing you just have to read, if you’re following the recent back-and-forth on replication in psychology, is this post at Retraction Watch in which Nosek et al. respond to criticisms from Gilbert et al. regarding the famous replication project. Gilbert et al. claimed that many of the replications in the […]

Replication crisis crisis: Why I continue in my “pessimistic conclusions about reproducibility”

A couple days we again discussed the replication crisis in psychology—the problem that all sorts of ridiculous studies on topics such as political moderation and shades of gray, or power pose, or fat arms and political attitudes, or ovulation and vote preference, or ovulation and clothing, or beauty and sex ratios, or elderly-related words and […]

Creationist article Article with creationist language published in Plos-One

Dan Gianola pointed me to this one. It’s an article by Ming-Jin Liu, Cai-Hua Xiong, Le Xiong, and Xiao-Lin Huang with the innocuous title, “Biomechanical Characteristics of Hand Coordination in Grasping Activities of Daily Living,” and a boring abstract: Hand coordination can allow humans to have dexterous control with many degrees of freedom to perform […]

More on replication crisis

The replication crisis in social psychology (and science more generally) will not be solved by better statistics or by preregistered replications. It can only be solved by better measurement. Let me say this more carefully. I think that improved statistics and preregistered replications will have very little direct effect on improving psychological science, but they […]

At this point, even Tom Cruise is skeptical about claims of social priming. (Click to find out why)

The blogger known as Neuroskeptic writes: Can the thought of money make people more conservative? The idea that mere reminders of money can influence people’s attitudes and behaviors is a major claim within the field of social priming – the study of how our behavior is unconsciously influenced by seemingly innocuous stimuli. However, social priming […]

No, this post is not 30 days early: Psychological Science backs away from null hypothesis significance testing

A few people pointed me to this editorial by D. Stephen Lindsay, the new editor of Psychological Science, a journal that in recent years has been notorious for publishing (and, even more notoriously, promoting) click-bait unreplicable dead-on-arrival noise-mining tea-leaf-reading research papers. It was getting so bad for awhile that they’d be publishing multiple such studies […]

An apology and a note on Stockholm Syndrome

A few months ago I wrote a couple posts on Christian Hesse, a statistician who I referred to as “the plagiarist next door.” But as Christian correctly pointed out, the material in question was not plagiarized, or at least I have not been shown any evidence of such, and I have no reason to believe […]

Too big to fail: Why it’s unrealistic to expect scientific journals to retract their huge backlog of erroneous papers

I couple years ago I wrote an article, “It’s too hard to publish criticisms and obtain data for replication.” I gave two examples demonstrating the struggles of myself and others to get journals to admit errors. The problem is that the standards for post-publication review are higher than for pre-publication review. You can find an […]

Fast analysis, soft statistics, and junk data intake is unrelated to research quality for 0% of American scientists

Under the heading, “Yet another bad analysis making the rounds,” John Mount writes: This won’t waste much of your time—because there really isn’t much there. But I thought you would be disturbed by this new paper. Here’s my (Mount’s) commentary on what we can surmise about the methods. Mount is pretty scathing. He starts with […]

Miller and Sanjurjo share 5 tips on how to hit the zeitgeist jackpot

Josh Miller shared this email exchange with me, on the topic of you-know-what. This is possibly the most boring thing I’ve ever posted (even counting some of the politics items on the sister blog), but I’m sharing it with you just to get a sense of the kind of things we sometimes see from people […]

You’ll never guess what David Cox wrote about the garden of forking paths!

Erikson Kaszubowski writes: I have recently read

“Priming Effects Replicate Just Fine, Thanks”

I came across this 2012 post by John Bargh who does not seem to be happy about the failures of direct replications of his much-cited elderly-words-and-slow-walking study. What strikes me about Bargh’s comments is how they illustrate the moving-target approach to much of science. Here’s the quick story. In 1996, Bargh, Chen, and Burrows published […]

Scientific explanation of Panther defeat!

Roy’s comment on our recent post inspires me to reveal the true explanation underlying the Carolina team’s shocking Super Bowl loss. The Panthers were primed during the previous week with elderly-themed words such as “bingo” and “Manning.” As well-established research has demonstrated, this caused Cam and the gang to move more slowly, hence all the […]

Primed to lose

David Hogg points me to a recent paper, “A Social Priming Data Set With Troubling Oddities” by Hal Pashler, Doug Rohrer, Ian Abramson, Tanya Wolfson, and Christine Harris, which begins: Chatterjee, Rose, and Sinha (2013) presented results from three experiments investigating social priming—specifically, priming effects induced by incidental exposure to concepts relating to cash or […]

When does peer review make no damn sense?

Disclaimer: This post is not peer reviewed in the traditional sense of being vetted for publication by three people with backgrounds similar to mine. Instead, thousands of commenters, many of whom are not my peers—in the useful sense that, not being my peers, your perspectives are different from mine, and you might catch big conceptual […]

Empirical violation of Arrow’s theorem!

Regular blog readers know about Arrow’s theorem, which is that any result can be published no more than five times. Well . . . I happened to be checking out Retraction Watch the other day and came across this: “Exactly the same clinical study” published six times Here’s the retraction notice in the journal Inflammation: […]

One thing I like about hierarchical modeling is that is not just about criticism. It’s a way to improve inferences, not just a way to adjust p-values.

In an email exchange regarding the difficulty many researchers have in engaging with statistical criticism (see here for a recent example), a colleague of mine opined: Nowadays, promotion requires more publications, and in an academic environment, researchers are asked to do more than they can. So many researchers just work like workers in a product […]

The time-reversal heuristic—a new way to think about a published finding that is followed up by a large, preregistered replication (in context of Amy Cuddy’s claims about power pose)

[Note to busy readers: If you’re sick of power pose, there’s still something of general interest in this post; scroll down to the section on the time-reversal heuristic. I really like that idea.] Someone pointed me to this discussion on Facebook in which Amy Cuddy expresses displeasure with my recent criticism (with Kaiser Fung) of […]

Ted Versus Powerpose and the Moneygoround, Part One

So. I was reading the newspaper the other day and came across a credulous review of the recent book by Amy “Power Pose” Cuddy. The review, by Heather Havrilesky, expressed some overall wariness regarding the self-help genre, but I was disappointed to see no skepticism regarding Cuddy’s scientific claims. And then I did a web […]

Irritating pseudo-populism, backed up by false statistics and implausible speculations

I was preparing my lecture for tomorrow and happened to come across this post from five years ago. And now I’m irritated by Matt Ridley all over again! I wonder if he’s still bashing “rich whites” and driving that 1975 Gremlin? Grrrr…