The Crisis in Social Psychology That Isn’t

The New Yorker:

Things aren’t quite as bad as they seem, though. Although Natures report was headlined “Disputed results a fresh blow for social psychology,” it scarcely noted that there have been some replications of experiments modelled on Dijksterhuis’s phenomenon. His finding could still out turn to be right, if weaker than first thought. More broadly, social priming is just one thread in the very rich fabric of social psychology. The field will survive, even if social priming turns out to have been overrated or an unfortunate detour.

The Reproducibility Project, from the Center for Open Science is now underway, with its first white paper on the psychology and sociology of replication itself. Thanks to Daniel Simons and Bobbie Spellman, the journal Perspectives in Psychological Science is now accepting submissions for a new section of each issue devoted to replicability. The journal Social Psychology is planning a special issue on replications for important results in social psychology, and has already received forty proposals. Other journals in neuroscience and medicine are engaged in similar efforts: my N.Y.U. colleague Todd Gureckis just used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to replicate a wide range of basic results in cognitive psychology. And just last week, Uri Simonsohn released a paper on coping with the famous file-drawer problem, in which failed studies have historically been underreported.

It’s worth remembering, too, that social psychology isn’t the only field affected by these problems—medicine, for example, has been coping with the same concerns. But as Brian Nosek, of the Center for Open Science, wrote to me in an e-mail, psychologists are specially equipped to deal with these issues. “Psychology is at the forefront of wrestling with reproducibility by turning its research expertise on itself,” he said.

Read the whole story: The New Yorker

See Barbara Spellman, Uri Simonsohn, & Brian Nosek at the 25th APS Annual Convention.

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