The authors of a 2018 paper on the effects of gun laws on domestic violence have retracted the article after discovering errors in their analysis and replaced it with a clean version. The new study shows that some gun laws — particularly ones that keep firearms out of the hands of violent offenders, even if their offenses don’t involve domestic assaults — do seem to reduce the incidence of domestic killings.
The paper, which appeared last November in the American Journal of Epidemiology and received some press coverage, including this piece in the New York Times, looked specifically at whether laws that keep guns away from people convicted of violent crimes beyond domestic abuse reduce the number of intimate partner homicides. It also considered the effect of laws that covered dating partners and not simply spouses or former spouses. The first author is April Zeoli, of Michigan State University. Zeoli has published other papers on the topic and delivered a TEDMED talk on it as well.
Retraction Watch readers may be familiar with the name Piero Anversa. Until several years ago, Anversa, a scientist at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was a powerful figure in cardiac stem cell research.
The chief scientific officer of a cannabis product company whose stock price has been hotter than a flaming joint (sorry) was known more than 18 months ago to have committed research misconduct while at the U.S. National Institutes of Health — casting a cloud of suspicion over the firm’s operations.
Marketwatch reported yesterday that the company, India Globalization Capital, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange as IGC, has at least nine other “red flags” for investors, from questions about its ability to manufacture cannabinoids to a history of trouble with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Until August, the company’s stock had been trading below 50 cents per share. It began a dramatic rise, eventually reaching $13 per share. MarketWatch notes:
Until late last month, however, there was no multidisciplinary attempt to replicate the study. (As best we can tell, anyway. Who has time to do a proper literature review these days?) Now there is, along with an editor’s note that calls it “an exceptionally fine piece of scholarship.” We felt the best way to celebrate this auspicious occasion — coming about as far on the calendar from April 1 as one can — would be to interview the corresponding author of the new paper, Matt Brodhead, of Michigan State University. Lucky for us, he did not suffer from writer’s block, so he could respond to our questions by email.
If you read this space, you probably know the name Brad Bushman. He studies the effects of violent video games on the people who play them. He also has just retracted his third paper, and significantly corrected another.
The retraction notice from Current Opinion in Psychology states the paper showed too much similarity to a 2016 paper in the same journal by Bushman and Arlin James Benjamin, based at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. It notes that although Bushman was the guest editor of the issue of the journal:
A liver physiologist at the University of Connecticut with millions of dollars in Federal U.S. funding included false data in half a dozen grant applications, according to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.
A cancer researcher and emeritus professor at The Ohio State University has retracted four more papers, bringing his total to nine from a single journal.
The four retractions of work by Samson Jacob appear in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, from which Jacob retracted five papers in March. The original papers — one of which has been cited more than 250 times — date back to 2002.
The authors of a 2018 paper on how noisy distractions disrupt memory are retracting the article after finding a flaw in their study.
The paper, “Unexpected events disrupt visuomotor working memory and increase guessing,” appeared in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, a publication of the Psychonomic Society. (For those keeping score at home, psychonomics is the study of the laws of the mind.)
The article purported to show that an unexpected “auditory event,” like the sudden blare of a car horn, reduced the ability of people to remember visuomotor cues. Per the abstract: