False Positives? Never!

How could hundreds of peer-reviewed studies possibly be so wrong? There may be a way to explain it, and it's shaking researchers to their cores.

Every time scientists conduct an experiment, there's a chance they'll find a false positive. But here's the scary thing: Psychologists are now realizing their institutions are structured so it's more likely that false positives will make it through to publication than inconclusive results.

"We’re now learning that there’s so much bias in the published literature that the meta-analyses can’t be trusted," Simine Vazire, a professor of psychology and the editor in chief of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, tells me.
We were just talking about the problems with multiple regression analyses. On the other hand, here's a meta-scientific study that concludes that earlier meta-scientific studies about the replicability of many other studies was tainted by failures to replicate the studies correctly. And then....


Anonymous said...

It is psychology. It invariably involves an insignificant number of data points for traditional statistical analysis.

Think of it this way: if you did a chemistry experiment using 1 mole of X and 1 mole of Y, and they combined to make XY, and you ran it 3 times, you'd get a chemist's idea of 3 data points, each of which would be the average of 6.02x10 to the 23rd power (6.02x10^23)(Avogadro's number) separate chemical reactions.

A million is 1 x 10 to the 6th power (1 x 10^6). A billion is 1x 10 to the 9th power (1 X10^9). Have you ever heard of a psychological experiment involving a billion people? And yet, a chemical experiment involving only a billion atoms would be so tiny we would have no reliable way to measure it.

The problem is not necessarily bias: it is too few results.


Anonymous said...

Good Grief this makes things complicated.

When Scientist are firmly planted in the faith in Jesus Christ this is not an issue.
Jesus is a rock solid foundation that allows civilization and science to flourish.

Christ is the great physician. When applied correctly, humility and honesty are restored to proper function.

Its called "right order"

Anonymous said...

Start removing tenure for publishing false results, and you may see a return to truth.
You may see the dismantling of soft hierarchies of falsehood.

Ymar Sakar said...

Academics tend to take bribes.

Science was corrupted when it started making too much money, drawing in the powers and wealth of the weak.