A social psychology journal has added an expression of concern to a paper by prominent social psychologist Jens Förster, whose work has been subject to much scrutiny.
This is the latest in a long-running saga involving Förster. The 2012 paper in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology had been flagged by a 2015 report describing an investigation into Förster’s work, which had concluded the paper likely contained unreliable data. Several other papers that received similar designations in that report have either been retracted or received expressions of concern (EoC).
The (paywalled) notice provides a lengthy explanation for why the journal chose to add an EoC, rather than retract the paper, as the University of Amsterdam had recommended. Here is an excerpt:
We all know replicability is a problem – consistently, many papers in various fields fail to replicate when put to the test. But instead of testing findings after they’ve gone through the rigorous and laborious process of publication, why not verify them beforehand, so that only replicable findings make their way into the literature? That is the principle behind a recent initiative called The Pipeline Project (covered in The Atlantic today), in which 25 labs checked 10 unpublished studies from the lab of one researcher in social psychology. We spoke with that researcher, Eric Uhlmann (also last author on the paper), and first author Martin Schweinsberg, both based at INSEAD.
Following questions about the veracity of multiple papers by his former employer, high-profile social psychologist Jens Förster has agreed to retract two papers as part of a deal with the German Society for Psychology (DGPs).
A correction to a 2011 paper doesn’t change its main conclusion: Hearing song lyrics about violence — “let the bodies hit the floor,” for example — can prompt aggressive behavior, even more so than violent imagery in music videos.
The correction follows an investigation by Macquarie University that found errors in data analysis to be an “honest mistake.”
Earlier this week, we reported on retractions six and seven , in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, for Lawrence Sanna, the former University of Michigan psychologist who resigned last May after questions were raised about his work. Retraction eight has now appeared, also in the JESP.
Three new retractions — two of papers by Lawrence Sanna and one of work by Dirk Smeesters — have appeared in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The retractions come along with a hard-hitting piece by the journal’s editor.