Psychologists are in the midst of an ongoing, difficult reckoning. Many believe that their field is experiencing a “reproducibility crisis,” because they’ve tried and failed to repeat experiments done by their peers. Even classic results—the stuff of textbooks and TED talks—have proven surprisingly hard to replicate, perhaps because they’re the results of poor methods and statistical tomfoolery. These problems have spawned a community of researchers dedicated to improving the practices of their field and forging a more reliable way of doing science.
These attempts at reform have met resistance. Critics have argued that the so-called crisis is nothing of the sort, and that researchers who have failed to repeat past experiments were variously incompetent, prejudiced, or acting in bad faith.
But if those critiques are correct, then why is it that scientists seem to be remarkably good at predicting which studies in psychology and other social sciences will replicate, and which will not?
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