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In summer 2015, the field of psychology had a moment—possibly one of the most influential events in science last year. On August 27, a group called the Open Science Collaboration published the results of its Reproducibility Project, a three-year effort to re-do 100 psychology studies. Replication is, of course, one of the fundamental tenets of good science. The group wanted to see how many of the original effects they could replicate. The result: It only worked about 40 percent of the time.
That did not go over well. But now the psychology establishment is fighting back. Along with some colleagues, Dan Gilbert, a psychologist at Harvard University, has re-analyzed the paper about re-analyzing papers, and they say that it’s wrong. And in fact, the public’s conclusions about the paper—that psychology is in crisis—are even wronger. More wrong. “We’re arguing with virtually every journalist we know that wrote some version of ‘psychology’s in deep trouble,’” Gilbert says. The comment on the Reproducibility Project is an attempt to reinterpret the data and highlight what the researchers see as flaws. Their conclusion: Reproducibility in psychology is doing great.
First, a brief look at those papers. The original study had some serious problems, says the comment: It only looked at 100 studies, which limited its statistical power. Gilbert and colleagues also argue that the paper overestimated the rate of replication failure because the re-done studies weren’t faithful re-dos. In fact, sometimes they differed dramatically, like studying attitudes toward African Americans in Italians (in the replication) instead of Americans (in the original).
Read full, original post: Psychology is in crisis over whether it’s in crisis