Only half of psychology studies can be replicated. That’s a big problem

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Image credit: Davide Bonazzi

Over the past few years, an international team of almost 200 psychologists has been trying to repeat a set of previously published experiments from its field, to see if it can get the same results. Despite its best efforts, the project, called Many Labs 2, has only succeeded in 14 out of 28 cases.

In recent years, it has become painfully clear that psychology is facing a “reproducibility crisis,” in which even famous, long-established phenomena—the stuff of textbooks and ted Talks—might not be real.

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Many psychologists have blamed these replication failures on sloppy practices. Their peers, they say, are too willing to run small and statistically weak studies that throw up misleading fluke results, to futz around with the data until they get something interesting, or to only publish positive results while hiding negative ones in their file drawers.

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But skeptics have argued that the misleadingly named “crisis” has more mundane explanations. First, the replication attempts themselves might be too small. Second, the researchers involved might be incompetent, or lack the know-how to properly pull off the original experiments. Third, people vary, and two groups of scientists might end up with very different results if they do the same experiment on two different groups of volunteers.

Despite the large sample sizes and the blessings of the original teams, the team failed to replicate half of the studies.

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Read full, original post: Psychology’s Replication Crisis Is Running Out of Excuses

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