Psychology results evaporate upon further review | Science News


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Psychology results evaporate upon further review

Surprising reports, findings with marginal statistical significance least likely to be reproduced, study concludes

2:00pm, August 27, 2015
stack papers

VANISHING EFFECTS  An international project finds that statistically significant findings reported in papers published in three major psychology journals often disappear when independent teams redo the original studies.

Psychologists have recently bemoaned a trend for provocative and sometimes highly publicized findings that vanish in repeat experiments. A large, collaborative project has now put an unsettling, and contested, number on the extent of that problem.

Only 35 of 97 reports of statistically significant results published in three major psychology journals in 2008 could be replicated, a group led by psychologist Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville reports in the Aug. 28 Science. Nosek is executive director of the Center for Open Science, which coordinated 270 researchers involved in the replication project.

“There is a lot of room to improve reproducibility in psychology,” Nosek says.   

He and his colleagues can’t say whether nonreproduced results represented illusory effects in the original studies that needed debunking or genuine

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