Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘psychological science (journal)’ Category

“Hindsight’s a bitch:” Colleagues dissect painful retraction

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Two blog posts are shining additional light on a recent retraction that included some unanswered questions — namely, the identity of the researcher who admitted to manipulating the results.

To recap: Psychological Science recently announced it was retracting a paper about the relationship between the words you use and your mood after a graduate student tampered with the results. But the sole author — William Hart, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama — was not responsible.

The post raised some questions — for instance, who was the graduate student, and if his or her work was so influential to a paper, why was he/she not listed as an author? Hart declined to identify the student, but two new blogs — including one by one of Hart’s collaborators at the University of Alabama — are providing more details.

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Study about words’ effect on mood to be retracted after investigation finds evidence of data manipulation

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A study examining whether the verb tense you use to describe a positive or negative experience influences your current mood will be retracted after a university investigation found the data had been manipulated.

By whom is the question — the notice cites an unnamed graduate student as the source of the manipulation, and says the only author, William Hart, was unaware of what had occurred.

We spoke with Hart, based at the University of Alabama, who declined to identify the student, nor say whether he or she was still working at the university. He did say the experience has been trying:

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Yes, “power pose” study is flawed, but shouldn’t be retracted, says one author

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psychological-scienceAfter the first author of a debated study about the benefits of positioning your body in an assertive ways — the so-called “power pose” — posted her concerns about the research, she has told us she does not believe the paper should be retracted.

As reported by New York magazine, late last night, the first author of a 2010 paper in Psychological Science posted a statement saying she no longer believes the effects of the “power pose” are real.

We contacted Dana Carney, now based at the University of California, Berkeley, to ask if she thought the next step would be to retract the paper. She told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 26th, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Duplicated data gets corrected — not retracted — by psych journal

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Psychological Science

A psychology journal is correcting a paper for reusing data. The editor told us the paper is a “piecemeal publication,” not a duplicate, and is distinct enough from the previous article that it is not “grounds for retraction.”

The authors tracked the health and mood of 65 patients over nine weeks. In one paper, they concluded that measures of physical well being and psychosocial well being positively predict one another; in the other (the now corrected paper), they concluded that health and mood (along with positive emotions) influence each other in a self-sustaining dynamic.

As a press release for the now-corrected paper put it: Read the rest of this entry »

Makeup use linked to testosterone levels? Not so fast, says retraction

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Psych SciA psychology journal is retracting a 2015 paper that attracted press coverage by suggesting women’s hormone levels drive their desire to be attractive, after a colleague alerted the last author to flaws in the statistical analysis.

The paper, published online in November, found women prefer to wear makeup when there is more testosterone present in their saliva. The findings were picked up by various media including Psychology Today (“Feeling hormonal? Slap on the makeup”), and even made it onto reddit.com.

However, upon discovering a problem in the analysis of the data, the authors realized that central finding didn’t hold up, according to Psychological Science‘s interim editor, Stephen Lindsay: Read the rest of this entry »

Study claiming dramatically higher rates of male military sexual trauma is retracted

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psychological servicesA study that found a 15-fold increase in the rate of sexual trauma among men in the U.S. military — and sparked suggestions of “an epidemic of male-on-male sex crimes” in the military among conservative media outlets — has been retracted because of a flaw in the analysis.

The study, published just last week, appeared in Psychological Services, an American Psychological Association (APA) journal. In an announcement Sunday titled “American Psychological Association Retracts Article Positing Excessively High Rates of Sexual Trauma Among Military Men,” the APA said that “Scholars raised valid concerns regarding the design and statistical analysis which compromise the findings.” Here’s the text: Read the rest of this entry »

Got the blues? You can still see blue: Popular paper on sadness, color perception retracted

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home_coverA paper published in August that caught the media’s eye for concluding that feeling sad influences how you see colors has been retracted, after the authors identified problems that undermined their findings.

The authors explain the problems in a detailed retraction note released today by Psychological Science. They note that they found sadness influenced how people see blues and yellows but not reds and greens, but they needed to compare those findings to each other in order to prove the validity of the conclusion. And once they performed that additional test, the conclusion no longer held up.

In the retraction note for “Sadness impairs color perception,” the editor reinforces that there was no foul play:

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4th ORI-flagged paper by Oregon student is retracted

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home_cover (2)The last of four papers containing data falsified by University of Oregon neuroscience student David Anderson has been retracted.

When the Office of Research Integrity report flagging the papers came out in July, Anderson told us he “made an error in judgment,” and took “full responsibility” for the misconduct.

The newly retracted paper, “A common discrete resource for visual working memory and visual search,” published in Psychological Science, has been cited 28 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. According to the abstract, it demonstrates a possible link between working memory and the ability to “rapidly identify targets hidden among distractors.”

But according to the retraction note, Anderson produced “results that conformed to predictions” by “removing outlier values and replacing outliers with mean values”  in some of the data.

Here’s the retraction note in full:

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Oregon grad student admits to faking data in four neuroscience papers

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oriweb_logoA graduate student at the University of Oregon in Eugene has admitted to faking data that appeared in four published papers in the field of visual working memory, according to the Office of Research Integrity.

David Anderson’s supervisor at the time was Edward Awh, who has since moved to the University of Chicago.

Anderson told Retraction Watch that the misconduct stemmed from “an error in judgment”:

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Retraction four appears for Dirk Smeesters

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smeestersDirk Smeesters, the former psychology professor at Erasmus University found to have committed misconduct, has had another paper retracted.

Here’s the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 10th, 2014 at 7:16 am