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Rebuilding after the replication crisis



roxgib 12d
Plack said, "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it ..."

I wish I could be more hopeful, but it seems like a large portion of researchers in fields like psychology are too worried about their prior, poor quality research to embrace change.

RosanaAnaDana 12d
Helmut10001 12d
How could any replication study sample from the same pattern of people, given that there are so many cultures with different ways of living, eating, spending time etc. All of these cultures also constantly change. Universal representativity is unattainable, so any replication will have a number of unknown sample variables that changed. This is still not highlighted enough in most papers I read.
77pt77 12d
Garbage in, garbage out.

The garbage in here pertains to the quality of the humans involved in the field.

Until that changes, the output will be the same.

naasking 12d
This article is worth a read if you want a good overview of where we are in the uphill fight against the replication crisis. If you only have time to read the article or the comments here on HN, skip the comments this time.
portpecos 12d
>One of my formative experiences as a PhD student, in 2011, was submitting a replication study to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, only to be told that the journal did not publish replications under any circumstances (you might be thinking, “WTF?” — and we were too).

A while back, I asked a psychology professor why replication studies were frowned upon. She said something like "studies need to be unique and never been done before" and "there's no money in replicating someone else's work". That's why replication studies are frowned upon.

If that's true, then I'm guessing we'll continue to get more Amy Cuddy's popping out of the social sciences.

jtaft 12d
Replication, not reptilian. The title makes more sense now.
machina_ex_deus 12d
Statistical research based psychology is hardly a real science. It has no feedback from reality. It has nothing whose success in the real world depends on the accuracy of the research.

Clinical psychology is still useful in my opinion. It still helps people. There's a real feedback loop where understanding can change outcomes.

I dislike the falsifiability approach (if its falsifiable it's science) and the peer review attitude (the peer review process and scientific consensus is what defines science).

My approach is that you need to close a loop. You need to do something useful whose success depended on the truthfulness of the research, and only to the extent of this dependence was anything proved.

bell-cot 12d
Useful background, if you aren't familiar:


Noteworthy is that the crisis is a huge deal in Psychology - a field which "real" scientists were sneering at a century or more ago.

Personal anecdote:

I once knew a guy who majored in Psychology at a pretty prestigious U.S. research university, back in the mid 1980's. He said that the Psych Dept. there did a big survey of Psych undergrads, asking what they thought of the subject. The most significant finding? That the Psych majors thought the first 2 years of Psych classes were real facts about the real world. But after that - they thought that it was all bullsh*t, and learning how create and spew bullsh*t yourself. (The guy went on to law school, and was quite successful. Which could be interpreted in interesting ways.)

acqbu 12d
Slowly, all articles published in this magazine are making their way to the front page.
williamcotton 12d
Science is an approach to epistemology.

My conjecture is that all truths must be experienced. This aligns with the notion of “nullius in verba”, the original motto of the Royal Society, arguably the birthplace of modern science.

Science takes place in a laboratory. Wether or not ink on a page is true depends on nothing other than replicating the methods for oneself.

That the current environment is for printing ink on paper and calling it a day tells me that we’ve moved on from science as an epistemological solution to the notion of truth and regressed to an era of truth emanating from privileged authorities.