does psychology have a public relations problem?* – Simine Vazire (sometimes i'm wrong)

  IMG_4655 near holland, mi

some people worry that having a loud and public debate about the reproducibility of psychology findings may be detrimental to our public image. in this blog post, i make the bold argument that not only is this not what will happen, but if we have a public relations problem it's the opposite: we sometimes come across as too naive, not skeptical enough of our own preliminary results.
why do i believe the replicability discussion is not going to cause harm to our reputation?
i'm not generally known for my deep respect for the average person, but i do think people understand the basic concept of science - that we are getting closer and closer to the truth, but that all current knowledge is incomplete and subject to revision. in his essay The Relativity of WrongAsimov makes the point that science is all about becoming less and less wrong. undergoing the kind of critical self-examination psychology is currently in the midst of is a normal part of science.
[for a fascinating example, see kuo's march 2014 discovery, at a 'five sigma' level of confidence (i.e., p < .0000003), that the universe expanded rapidly immediately after the big bang ('chaotic inflation theory').  when the discovery was made, the guy who had come up with the theory thirty years before (andrei linde) said "If this is true, ..." which seemed super modest to me at the time.  fast forward to january 2015, and it turns out the evidence they thought they had was wrong. Continue reading

What should SPSP do about APA and the Hoffman report? – Sanjay Srivastava (The Hardest Science)

I am a member-at-large in the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. We will be having our semiannual board meeting in a couple of weeks. On the agenda is a discussion of the Hoffman Report, which details collusion between American Psychological Association officials and the U.S. military to enable and support abusive interrogations. I have had several discussions with people about what, if anything, SPSP should be doing about its relationship with APA. But I’d really like to open up the discussion and get feedback from more people, especially SPSP members. In this post I’d like to lay out some background about SPSP’s relationship with APA, and bring up some possibilities about what to do next. What is SPSP’s current legal and financial relationship with APA? It’s easy to get confused about this. Heck, I’m on the SPSP board and I still find it a bit confusing. (If I get any of this wrong I hope somebody corrects me.) Here goes. Continue reading

Resolving the “Conscientiousness Paradox” – Scott A. McGreal MSc. (Unique—Like Everybody Else)

Conscientious individuals generally have good outcomes, but countries with high national levels of conscientiousness generally have poorer levels of human development. What does this apparent "conscientiousness paradox" mean?

Bargain Basement Bayes – David Funder (funderstorms)

One of the more salutary consequences of the “replication crisis” has been a flurry of articles and blog posts re-examining basic statistical issues such as the relations between N and statistical power, the importance of effect size, the interpretation of confidence intervals, and the meaning of probability levels. A lot of the discussion of what is now often called the “new statistics” really amounts to a re-teaching (or first teaching?) of things anybody, certainly anybody with an advanced degree in psychology, should have learned in graduate school if not as an undergraduate. It should not be news, for example, that bigger N’s give you a bigger chance of getting reliable results, including being more likely to find effects that are real and not being fooled into thinking you have found effects when they aren’t real. Nor should anybody who had a decent undergrad stats teacher be surprised to learn that p-levels, effect sizes and N’s are functions of each other, such that if you know any two of them you can compute the third, and that therefore statements like “I don’t care about effect size” are absurd when said by anybody who uses p-levels and N’s. But that’s not my topic for today. My topic today is Bayes’ theorem, which is an important alternative to the usual statistical methods, but which is rarely taught at the undergraduate or even graduate level.(1)  I am far from expert about Bayesian statistics. This fact gives me an important advantage: I won’t get bogged down in technical details; in fact that would be impossible, because I don’t really understand them. A problem with discussions of Bayes’ theorem that I often see in blogs and articles is that they have a way of being both technical and dogmatic. A lot of ink – virtual and real – has been spilled about the exact right way to compute Bayes Factors and advocating that all statistical analyses should be conducted within a Bayesian framework. I don’t think the technical and dogmatic aspects of these articles are helpful – in fact I think they are mostly harmful – for helping non-experts to appreciate what thinking in a semi-Bayesian way has to offer. So, herewith is my extremely non-technical and very possibly wrong (2) appreciation of what I call Bargain Basement Bayes. Continue reading

What Are Situations? – Ryne Sherman (Sherman's Head)

Reblogged from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-situation-lab/201507/what-are-situations What were you doing yesterday at 10am? 2pm? 8pm? Why were you doing those things? A moment’s reflection on our day’s activities makes it obvious that situations impact our behavior. But what are situations actually? I’ve spent the past 9 years doing research aimed at answering this very question. This post reflects what we currently know about situations. One obvious definition of a situation is that it constitutes everything that is outside the person. That is, a person is—psychologically speaking—made up of goals, motives, values, interests, skills, abilities, etc., and situations are everything else, including other people. Continue reading

submit your papers to SPPS! – Simine Vazire (sometimes i'm wrong)

  Spps

remember how i like to tell journal editors how to do their job?  well..... i am super excited to be starting my stint as editor in chief of Social Psychological and Personality Science, a journal that belongs to a consortium of four organizations (SPSP, SESP, EASP, and ARP), is co-sponsored by two more (AASP and SASP), and is published by SAGE. as always, my blog posts reflect my own views and not those of SPPS, SAGE, or any other organization. i'm excited to take on this role for several reasons.  first, Allen McConnell, and before him Vincent Yzerbyt, built up this new journal into one of the top outlets for short reports in social/personality psychology.  the journal now receives almost 600 submissions in a typical year, publishes eight volumes per year, has a circulation of over 7,700, and has its first impact factor (2.56*). not bad for a six-year-old journal. second, i kind of love this journal. Continue reading

Regional Differences in Personality: Surprising Findings – Scott A. McGreal MSc. (Unique—Like Everybody Else)

Individual personality traits and the geographic region where one lives are correlated with important social outcomes. Research has found that personality traits are also geographically clustered in ways correlated with these same outcomes. Some of the results are surprising as the individual level and societal level correlates of personality can differ strikingly.