Archive for the ‘psychology’ Category
“Just significant” results have been around for decades in psychology — but have gotten worse: study
Last year, two psychology researchers set out to figure out whether the statistical results psychologists were reporting in the literature were distributed the way you’d expect. We’ll let the authors, E.J. Masicampo, of Wake Forest, and Daniel Lalande, of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, explain why they did that:
The psychology literature is meant to comprise scientific observations that further people’s understanding of the human mind and human behaviour. However, due to strong incentives to publish, the main focus of psychological scientists may often shift from practising rigorous and informative science to meeting standards for publication. One such standard is obtaining statistically significant results. In line with null hypothesis significance testing (NHST), for an effect to be considered statistically significant, its corresponding p value must be less than .05.
When Masicampo and Lalande looked at a year’s worth of three highly cited psychology journals — the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; and Psychological Science — from 2007 to 2008, they found: Read the rest of this entry »
Second Life is a virtual reality site in which you can “Experience endless surprises and unexpected delights in a world imagined and created by people like you.” Only Nikolaos Pellas, of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, is now having two papers on virtual reality retracted because he apparently experienced endless surprises and unexpected delights in a world imagined and created by other people.
…the authors predict that a ratio of positive to negative affect at or above 2.9 will characterize individuals in flourishing mental health.
The paper made quite a splash. It has been cited 360 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, and formed the basis of a 2009 book by Fredrickson, Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life.
But something didn’t sit right with Nick Brown, a psychology grad student at the University of East London. He found the paper’s claims wanting, and contacted Alan Sokal — yes, that Alan Sokal, who published a fake paper in Social Text in 1996. Sokal agreed, and he, Brown, and Harris Friedman published a critique of the paper in July of this year in American Psychologist. Its abstract: Read the rest of this entry »
Last month, we reported on a retraction in Judgment and Decision Making that said “problems were discovered with the data.” At the time, corresponding author Wen-Bin Chiou, of National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, told us that a research assistant who had since left the lab hadn’t kept questionnaires used in the research, making replication impossible.
But it turns out that wasn’t the whole story of “Shame for money: Shame enhances the incentive value of economic resources,” to put it charitably. We’ve now heard from people familiar with the case and can provide a fuller account.
The problems with the paper, according to our source, Read the rest of this entry »
The fifth of six expected retractions for copyright infringement has arrived for a group of sex researchers led by Willibrord Weijmar Schultz, this one in the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer of a 1992 article.
As we reported earlier this year, Schultz (whose 1999 paper on sex in an MRI won an Ig Nobel prize) and his colleague, Mels F. Van Driel, were found not to have committed plagiarism by investigators at the University of Groningen. Instead, they were found guilty of “unintended and unknowing breach of copyright.”
But they were asked to apologize formally to a litany of people — from the editors involved to the sponsors of the research — for what the institution described as “unintended and unknowing breach of copyright” of the work of one Diana Jeffrey, whose 1985 dissertation evidently was very much worth reading.
Here’s the latest retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »
When Retraction Watch readers think of problematic psychology research, their minds might naturally turn to Diederik Stapel, who now has 54 retractions under his belt. Dirk Smeesters might also tickle the neurons.
But a look at our psychology category shows that psychology retractions are an international phenomenon. (Remember Marc Hauser?) And a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests that it’s behavioral science researchers in the U.S. who are more likely to exaggerate or cherry-pick their findings.
For the new paper, Daniele Fanelli — whose 2009 paper in PLoS ONE contains some of the best data on the prevalence of misconduct — teamed up with John Ioannidis, well known for his work on “why most published research findings are false.” They looked at Read the rest of this entry »
The corresponding author of a paper on whether “a sense of shame heightens the desire for money” has retracted it, he claims, after being unable to repeat his analysis to try to fix an issue in the study.
Five months after the Office of Research Integrity announced they had found evidence of misconduct by Adam Savine, a former Washington University graduate student in neuroscience, another journal has published a retraction of his work.
Here’s the retraction notice in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General for “A characterization of individual differences in prospective memory monitoring using the Complex Ongoing Serial Task”:
Read the rest of this entry »