|Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2015-08-27 20:48Z by Steven|
The New York Times
Benedict Carey, Science Reporter
The past several years have been bruising ones for the credibility of the social sciences. A star social psychologist was caught fabricating data, leading to more than 50 retracted papers. A top journal published a study supporting the existence of ESP. The journal Science pulled a political science paper on the effect of gay canvassers on voters’ behavior – also because of concerns about fake data.
A University of Virginia psychologist decided in 2011 to find out whether such suspect science was a widespread problem. He and his team recruited more than 250 researchers, identified 100 studies that had each been published in one of three leading journals in 2008, and rigorously redid the experiments in close collaboration with the original authors.
The results are now in: More than 60 of the studies did not hold up. They include findings that were circulated at the time — that a strong skepticism of free will increases the likelihood of cheating; that physical distances could subconsciously influence people’s sense of personal closeness; that attached women are more attracted to single men when highly fertile than when less so.
The new analysis, called the Reproducibility Project and posted Thursday by Science, found no evidence of fraud or that any original study was definitively false. Rather, it concluded that the evidence for most published findings was not nearly as strong as originally claimed…
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