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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

Mmore from Ppnas

Kevin Lewis asks for my take on two new papers: Study 1: Honesty plays a key role in social and economic interactions and is crucial for societal functioning. However, breaches of honesty are pervasive and cause significant societal and economic problems that can affect entire nations. Despite its importance, remarkably little is known about the […]

Molyneux expresses skepticism on hot hand

image Guy Molyneux writes: I saw your latest post on the hot hand too late to contribute to the discussion there. While I don’t disagree with your critique of Gilovich and his reluctance to acknowledge past errors, I do think you underestimate the power of the evidence against a meaningful hot hand effect in sports. […]

Cross Purposes

A correspondent writes: I thought you might enjoy this… I’m refereeing a paper which basically looks at whether survey responses on a particular topic vary when the question is asked in two different ways. In the main results table they split the sample along several relevant dimensions (education; marital status; religion; etc). I give them […]


Jochen Weber writes: As I follow your blog (albeit loosely), I figured I’d point out an “early release” paper from PNAS I consider to be “garbage” (at least by title, and probably by content). The short version is, the authors claim to have found the neural correlate of a person being “cognizant of” the outcome […]

Dear Cornell University Public Relations Office

image I received the following email, which was not addressed to me personally: From: ** Date: Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 9:42 AM To: “” Cc: ** Subject: Information regarding research by Professor Brian Wansink I know you have been following this issue, and I thought you might be interested in new information posted today […]

Annals of Spam

[cat picture] I’ve recently been getting a ton of spam—something like 200 messages a day in my inbox! The Columbia people tell me that soon we’ll be switching to a new mail server that will catch most of these, but for now I have to spend a couple minutes every day just going thru and […]

“Study showing that humans have some psychic powers caps Daryl Bem’s career”

[cat picture] On the webpage of Russ Roberts’s interview with me, I happened to come across this article from the Cornell Chronicle, Dec. 6, 2010: Study showing that humans have some psychic powers caps Daryl Bem’s career By George Lowery It took eight years and nine experiments with more 1,000 participants, but the results offer […]

Life imitates art

[cat picture] I hate to interrupt our discussion of traffic deaths, but this is important. . . . Someone pointed me to this news article, “A Retiree Discovers an Elusive Math Proof,” and I noticed this sentence: Not knowing LaTeX, the word processer of choice in mathematics, he typed up his calculations in Microsoft Word […]

Gilovich doubles down on hot hand denial

[cat picture] A correspondent pointed me to this Freaknomics radio interview with Thomas Gilovich, one of the authors of that famous “hot hand” paper from 1985, “Misperception of Chance Processes in Basketball.” Here’s the key bit from the Freakonomics interview: DUBNER: Right. The “hot-hand notion” or maybe the “hot-hand fallacy.” GILOVICH: Well, everyone who’s ever […]

Move along, nothing to see here

[cat picture] I don’t really want to go into details on this one as our paper is under review at a journal, but the short story is that my colleagues and I have conducted replications of a high-profile psychology study. Not all our replications had results that made sense, and so from a perfectly reasonable […]

Aggregate age-adjusted trends in death rates for non-Hispanic whites and minorities in the U.S.

Following up on our recent Slate article, Jonathan Auerbach made some graphs of mortality rate trends by sex, ethnicity, and age group, aggregating over the entire country. Earlier we’d graphed the trends within each state but there was so much going on there, it was hard to see the big picture. All our graphs are […]


[cat picture] I got this email from a journalist: This seems . . . irresponsible to me. Particularly: For the first 100 years that meteorologists kept weather records at Central Park, from 1869 through 1996, they recorded just two snowstorms that dumped 20 inches or more. But since 1996, counting this week’s storm, there have […]

The Association for Psychological Pseudoscience presents . . .

[cat picture] Hey! The organization that publishes all those Psychological Science-style papers has scheduled their featured presentations for their next meeting. Included are: – That person who slaps the label “terrorists” on people who have the nerve to question their statistical errors. – One of the people who claimed that women were 20 percentage points […]

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?

[cat picture] 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, […]

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

[cat picture] 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 […]

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

[cat picture] 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 […]

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

[cat picture] 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 […]

How is preregistration like random sampling and controlled experimentation

image 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 […]