DARPA Seeks Information on Experimental Falsifiability

This is an illustration of different types of graphs.Psychological scientists have called for an increased focus on replication to strengthen the reproducibility of scientific research. Now, other groups are beginning to follow suit: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), best known for developing emerging technologies for the military, has taken an interest in evaluating research in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences.

This month, DARPA put out a request for information (RFI) seeking tools and approaches for disconfirming models, theories, and hypotheses. The information request targets three areas related to this goal: (1) predictive modeling and hypothesis generation, (2) innovative experimental methods, and (3) analysis and interpretation.

“These capabilities should seek to overcome some of the challenges of replication, reproducibility, and generalizability,” the RFI instructs.

Some areas of interest in the RFI are particularly relevant to psychological scientists. DARPA seeks information regarding methods for combining quantitative and qualitative results, predicting effect sizes, and generating models. The agency is also interested in enhancing informed consent processes, lowering barriers to experimental replication, and developing new methods for managing complicated datasets.

Individuals or organizations interested in responding to the RFI will need to submit a document to DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office by October 16, 2015.


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