New Dutch psychology scandal? Inquiry cites data manipulation, calls for retraction
The University of Amsterdam has called for the retraction of a 2011 paper by two psychology researchers after a school investigation concluded that the article contained bogus data, the Dutch press are reporting.
The paper, “Sense Creative! The Impact of Global and Local Vision, Hearing, Touching, Tasting and Smelling on Creative and Analytic Thought,” was written by Jens Förster and Markus Denzler and published in Social Psychological & Personality Science. It purported to find that:
Holistic (global) versus elemental (local) perception reflects a prominent distinction in psychology; however, so far it has almost entirely been examined in the domain of vision. Current work suggests that global/local processing styles operate across sensory modalities. As for vision, it is assumed that global processing broadens mental categories in memory, enhancing creativity. Furthermore, local processing should support performance in analytic tasks. Throughout separate 12 studies, participants were asked to look at, listen to, touch, taste or smell details of objects, or to perceive them as wholes. Global processing increased category breadth and creative relative to analytic performance, whereas for local processing the opposite was true. Results suggest that the way we taste, smell, touch, listen to, or look at events affects complex cognition, reflecting procedural embodiment effects.
But according to this article in the NRC Handelsblad (with an assist from Google Translate):
A scientific article by Jens Förster professor of social psychology at the University of Amsterdam ( UvA ) and his colleague Markus Denzler should be withdrawn because of manipulation research. In the decision, the names of anonymous Förster and Denzler are not mentioned. Who knows NRC Handelsblad in the complaint (in possession of the newspaper). The UvA said in September 2012 an integrity committee following a complaint over three articles Förster (two from him only in 2009 and 2011, the third in 2012 with Denzler ) . According to the complaint, the risk of such fine results 1 to 508 trillion. Was also notable that none of the 2,284 participants dropped out, exceptional in psychological experiments. The complainant requested by Förster the raw data from the study in 2012, but that she could not talk .
The NRC reports that the inquiry found:
The conclusion must be that the research data is manipulated is considered inevitable [...] On this basis, and taking part on the basis of inadequate justification of the data collection and the original data is a violation of academic integrity.
Update 4/29/14, 2:10 p.m Eastern: Jens Förster last year received funding from the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. According to this blurb:
Jens Förster is one of the world’s most productive and distinguished experimental psychologists in the field of social cognition and motivation. His work and concepts on areas like the regulation of approach and avoidance, distance, emotion and cognition, or on the situational factors influencing creativity and endurance have had an impact on economic, social and medical themes. At [Ruhr-Universität Bochum] Jens Förster would continue developing the research focus on psychology, especially business and social psychology, and steer it to the head of the international field. For this purpose, a Centre of Self-Regulation is also planned. He would cooperate with clinical psychologist and Alexander von Humboldt Professor Jürgen Margraf who is already in Bochum.
The award is worth as much as 5 million euros.
Please see an update on this post.
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