Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘psychology’ Category

Diederik Stapel ups count to 55 retractions

with 5 comments

stapel_npc

Diederik Stapel

Dutch social psychologist and well-known fraudster Diederik Stapel is up to 55 retractions. He remains secure in his spot at #4 on our leaderboard.

The “fraudulent” Social Cognition article found, according to its abstract, that the more positively you perceive yourself, the less you need to compare yourself to other people. Conversely, negative thoughts were linked to more comparison to others. As an article in the New York Times points out, where Stapel’s faulty studies often succeeded is in telling us what we want to believe about the world.

Here’s the retraction note for the article:

Read the rest of this entry »

Paper on narcissistic CEOs earns big correction

without comments

home_coverIt may not be much of a surprise that narcissistic CEOs of pharmaceutical companies will make bold choices, such as adopting radically new technology. That idea remains true, despite a lengthy correction to a paper that supports it.

The paper, “CEO Narcissism, Audience Engagement, and Organizational Adoption of Technological Discontinuities,” in Administrative Science Quarterly, found support for the following hypothesis:

Read the rest of this entry »

“Goodbye…”?: Editor pulls farewell editorial after deeming it “inappropriate”

without comments

3We’ve unearthed a retraction of an editorial titled “Goodbye…”, pulled from Cognition, Technology & Work by its retiring editor after he decided it was “inappropriate.”

The original text is not online. The note in its place reads, in full:

This article has been retracted due to unintended publication.

The author of the editorial is psychologist Erik Hollnagel, based at the University of Southern Denmark, who left the journal after a decade. Interestingly, his own research includes studies of “When Things Go Wrong” (per the title of one of his book chapters), ranging from financial crises to the Fukushima disaster.

The error that led to this reaction seems tiny, in comparison. Hollnagel explains:

Read the rest of this entry »

Oregon grad student admits to faking data in four neuroscience papers

with 6 comments

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”:

Read the rest of this entry »

“To our horror”: Widely reported study suggesting divorce is more likely when wives fall ill gets axed

with 10 comments

home_coverA widely reported finding that the risk of divorce increases when wives fall ill — but not when men do — is invalid, thanks to a short string of mistaken coding that negates the original conclusions, published in the March issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

The paper, “In Sickness and in Health? Physical Illness as a Risk Factor for Marital Dissolution in Later Life,” garnered coverage in many news outlets, including The Washington Post, New York magazine’s The Science of Us blog, The Huffington Post, and the UK’s Daily Mail 

But an error in a single line of the coding that analyzed the data means the conclusions in the paper — and all the news stories about those conclusions — are “more nuanced,” according to first author Amelia Karraker, an assistant professor at Iowa State University.

Karraker — who seems to be handling the case quickly and responsibly —  emailed us how she realized the error:

Read the rest of this entry »

Psych journal axes study of child molesters

with one comment

Journal Of Sexual Aggression

A journal has issued a “notice of redundant publication” for a paper that used virtual reality to understand arousal patterns in child molesters — the result of “an unfortunate sequence of personal events relating to the first author.”

The study, “Using immersive virtual reality and ecological psychology to probe into child molesters’ phenomenology,” was originally published online in 2011 and printed in 2013.

The Journal of Sexual Aggression announced the “notice of redundant publication” after the editors discovered the article contained “content of which much was included in an article published between the first online publication date of the original article and the final publication”. The article shares many of the same co-authors, and has since been retracted.

Patrice Renaud, the first author and a lecturer at the University of Quebec in Outaouais, took responsibility for the additional publications. In an email to Retraction Watch, Renaud said that the issues arose because of a family medical emergency:

Read the rest of this entry »

Recursive recursiveness: Retracted Lewandowsky et al conspiracy ideation study republished

with 13 comments

Stephan Lewandowsky

Stephan Lewandowsky

A paper on “the role of conspiracist ideation in climate denial” whose puzzling publication (and retraction) history formed the basis of a series of Retraction Watch posts in 2013 and 2014 is back, as part of a new article in a different journal.

Retraction Watch readers may recall a paper published in 2013 in Frontiers in Psychology. That paper, “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation,” was an attempt by Stephan Lewandowsky and colleagues to describe the reactions to another controversial Psychological Science paper Lewandowsky had co-authored, “NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science.”

The reason we started writing about the Frontiers paper was that it was removed from the journal’s site in March of 2013, for unclear reasons, before being formally retracted a year later with a reference to an investigation that “did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study” but found that “the legal context is insufficiently clear.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 8th, 2015 at 3:00 am

Yet another investigation casts doubt on Förster’s findings; he responds with “outrage”

with 21 comments

Jens Förster

Jens Förster

A new group of experts is suggesting there’s something fishy in the body of work of social psychologist Jens Förster.

The University of Amsterdam, Förster’s former employer, commissioned three statistical experts to examine his publication record, looking for signs that the data are not authentic.

Well, they found some signs:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

June 3rd, 2015 at 10:05 am

Beleaguered Förster turns down prestigious professorship, citing personal toll

with 24 comments

forster-j-a1

Jens Förster

Jens Förster, a social scientist accused of research misconduct, has turned down a highly coveted — and well-endowed — professorship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Foster explained his decision to decline the 5 million Euro award in a post on his personal website: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

April 20th, 2015 at 11:07 am

Psychology retractions have quadrupled since 1989: study

with 6 comments

stapel

Diederik Stapel

Marc Hauser. Dirk Smeesters. Diederik Stapel.

Psychology has been home to some of the most infamous cases of fraud in recent years, and while it’s just a few bad apples who are spoiling the bunch, the field itself has seen an overall increase in retractions, according to a new paper by Jürgen Margraf appearing in Psychologische Rundschau and titled “Zur Lage der Psychologie.”

That increase, Margraf found, is not entirely due to its most well-known fraudsters. Here’s the relevant figure:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 5th, 2015 at 11:30 am