Dozens of Labs Respond to Call to Bolster Reliability of Psychology Research

Scientific American:

A large international group set up to test the reliability of psychology experiments has successfully reproduced the results of 10 out of 13 past experiments. The consortium also found that two effects could not be reproduced.

Psychology has been buffeted in recent years by mounting concern over the reliability of its results, after repeated failures to replicate classic studies. A failure to replicate could mean that the original study was flawed, the new experiment was poorly done or the effect under scrutiny varies between settings or groups of people.

Ten of the effects were consistently replicated across different samples. These included classic results from economics Nobel laureate and psychologist Daniel Kahneman at Princeton University in New Jersey, such as gain-versus-loss framing, in which people are more prepared to take risks to avoid losses, rather than make gains; and anchoring, an effect in which the first piece of information a person receives can introduce bias to later decisions. The team even showed that anchoring is substantially more powerful than Kahneman’s original study suggested.

Encouraging outcomes
“This is a really important initiative for psychology,” says Danny Oppenheimer, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, whose work was under scrutiny but who did not take part in the collaboration. “It means that the replicability problem, while by no means trivial, may not be as widespread as some critics of the field have suggested.”

Project co-leader Brian Nosek, a psychologist at the Center of Open Science in Charlottesville, Virginia, finds the outcomes encouraging. “It demonstrates that there are important effects in our field that are replicable, and consistently so,” he says. “But that doesn’t mean that 10 out of every 13 effects will replicate.”

Read the whole story: Scientific American

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