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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘psychology’ Category

New Dutch psychology scandal? Inquiry cites data manipulation, calls for retraction

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sppsThe 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:

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Written by amarcus41

April 29, 2014 at 10:30 am

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 10, 2014 at 7:16 am

Co-author of retracted conspiracy ideation-climate skepticism paper addresses apparent contradictions

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Lewandowsky

Lewandowsky

We — and others — have been scratching our heads about the real reasons for the formal retraction on March 21 of a Frontiers in Psychology paper since the journal issued a statement on the subject on Friday that seemed to contradict the retraction notice and that certainly differed from accounts on some blogs. Today, we learned a few more details about what happened in the year between when the paper was provisionally removed and then formally retracted from a post by Stephan Lewandowsky, one of the co-authors of the paper.

The March 21 statement, writes Lewandowsky, Read the rest of this entry »

“The Chrysalis Effect: How Ugly Initial Results Metamorphosize Into Beautiful Articles”

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jomThe headline of this post is the title of a fascinating new paper in the Journal of Management suggesting that if the road to publication is paved with good intentions, it may also be paved with bad scientific practice.

Ernest Hugh O’Boyle and colleagues tracked 142 management and applied psychology PhD theses to publication, and looked for various questionable research practices — they abbreviate those “QRPs” — such as deleting or adding data after hypothesis tests, selectively adding or deleting variables, and adding or deleting hypotheses themselves.

Their findings?

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Written by Ivan Oransky

March 25, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Controversial paper linking conspiracy ideation to climate change skepticism formally retracted

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frontiersA year after being clumsily removed from the web following complaints, a controversial paper about “the possible role of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science” is being retracted.

The paper, “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation,” was authored by Stephan Lewandowsky, John Cook, Klaus Oberauer, and Michael Marriott, and published in Frontiers in Psychology: Personality Science and Individual Differences.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

March 21, 2014 at 7:54 am

Final report in Smeesters case serves up seven retractions

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smeestersErasmus University in Rotterdam has issued its final report on psychologist Dirk Smeesters, concluding that the former Erasmus faculty member had committed research misconduct in a total of seven papers. Three of those articles already have been retracted in the case, as we reported in December 2012.

The committee investigation is in fact a follow-up inquiry — thus its name, the Smeesters Follow-Up Investigation Committee — prompted by concerns that an initial probe was incomplete. According to the report, the four-member panel conducted an “in-depth analysis” of every paper Smeesters, who left the university’s Rotterdam School of Management in July 2012, was “actively” involved in. That turned out to be 22 articles (not including three others already retracted).

The final report is worth reading, presented here as a pdf. The four articles are: Read the rest of this entry »

Psychology researcher explains how retraction-causing errors led to change in her lab

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jperssocpsychLast month, we brought you the story of two retractions by Yale’s Laurie Santos because the team discovered errors in the way the first author had coded the data. That first author, Neha Mahajan, took full responsibility for the coding problems, according to the retraction notices, and a university investigation cleared her of any “intentional, knowing, reckless, or grossly negligent action.”

But a few of our readers noted that the papers refer to a second coder on some of the experiments, and have questioned whether that’s compatible with Mahajan being solely responsible for the errors.

We asked Santos earlier this week to explain the apparent discrepancy, which she did along with a description of how her lab has made changes to prevent such errors in the future: Read the rest of this entry »

Fraud topples second neuroscience word processing paper

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neuroimageWe have a second retraction from a group of neuroscience researchers in Belgium who discovered fatal errors in their work on how the brain sets about the task of reading written language. Spoiler alert: Turns out those errors weren’t errors after all.

As we reported back in May, the group, from the University of Leuven, was unable to replicate certain fMRI findings in a November 2012 article in Neuroscience. At the time, Hans P. Op de Beeck, who led the group, told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Another retraction for sex researcher Weijmar Schultz

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Weijmar Schultz

Weijmar Schultz

Willibrord Weijmar Schultz, the Groningen sex researcher (and Ig Nobel winner) who misused the 1985 thesis of an American scholar, and the work of another researcher, in at least five published articles, has tallied another retraction in the affair, his sixth.

As we reported earlier, Schultz had been cleared of plagiarism but found to have abused the work (in an “unintended and unknowing” fashion, we’re told) of one Diana Jeffrey, by taking passages from her dissertation without acknowledgement. These articles are pretty long in the tooth, having been published in the 1990s.

The latest, in the Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, appeared in 1992. Titled “Sexual rehabilitation after gynecological cancer treatment,” Schultz wrote it with a colleague H.B.M. Van de Wiel, whose name shows up on the other retractions, too.

According to the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Doing the right thing: Yale psychology lab retracts monkey papers for inaccurate coding

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developmental scienceIn the midst of the holiday season, it’s a pleasure to be able to share the story of a scientist doing the right thing at significant professional cost — especially a researcher in psychology, a field that has been battered lately by scandal.

Sometime after publishing two papers — one in Developmental Science and another in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology – Yale’s Laurie Santos and her students realized there were problems with their data. We’ll let Santos — who made sure to respond to our request for comment immediately, in the midst of holiday travel, so that we had all the details and could help get the word out — tell the story: Read the rest of this entry »

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