A Commitment to Better Research Practices (BRPs) in Psychological Science – Brent Roberts (pigee)

Scientific research is an attempt to identify a working truth about the world that is as independent of ideology as possible.  As we appear to be entering a time of heightened skepticism about the value of scientific information, we feel it is important to emphasize and foster research practices that enhance the integrity of scientific data and thus scientific information. We have therefore created a list of better research practices that we believe, if followed, would enhance the reproducibility and reliability of psychological science. The proposed methodological practices are applicable for exploratory or confirmatory research, and for observational or experimental methods.
  1. If testing a specific hypothesis, pre-register your research[1], so others can know that the forthcoming tests are informative. Report the planned analyses as confirmatory, and report any other analyses or any deviations from the planned analyses as exploratory.
  2. If conducting exploratory research, present it as exploratory. Then, document the research by posting materials, such as measures, procedures, and analytical code so future researchers can benefit from them. Also, make research expectations and plans in advance of analyses—little, if any, research is truly exploratory. State the goals and parameters of your study as clearly as possible before beginning data analysis.
  3. Consider data sharing options prior to data collection (e.g. Continue reading

The Paradox of Conscientious Prisoners – Scott McGreal (Unique—Like Everybody Else)

Criminals are usually lower than normal people in conscientiousness, yet a new study finds that prisoners are higher in this trait. What can explain this apparent paradox?

Can You Predict Your Scores on an Important Personality Test?

The Big Five model is a very big deal to psychologists, and has been for decades. At the moment, it is the most respected, widely studied method for accomplishing the tricky task of summing up someone’s personality. It consists of five dimensions, and as the University of Oregon social psychologist Sanjay Srivastava explains on his website, each is perhaps best understood as containing a bundle of traits. Continue reading →

power grab: why i’m not that worried about false negatives – Simine Vazire (sometimes i'm wrong)

[DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in my posts are personal opinions, and they do not reflect the editorial policy of Social Psychological and Personality Science or its sponsoring associations, which are responsible for setting editorial policy for the journal.]


i've been bitching and moaning for a long time about the low statistical power of psych studies.  i've been wrong. our studies would be underpowered, if we actually followed the rules of Null Hypothesis Significance Testing (but kept our sample sizes as small as they are).  but the way we actually do research, our effective statistical power is actually very high, much higher than our small sample sizes should allow. let's start at the beginning. background (skip this if you know NHST)

NHST tableNull Hypothesis Significance Testing (over)simplified

in this table, power is the probability of ending up in the bottom right cell if we are in the right column (i.e. Continue reading

How to Small Talk: What No One Ever Taught You

Do parties—or other gatherings that require you to interact with strangers or acquaintances—strike panic in your soul?

You’re not alone.

As I conduct research for my upcoming book on friendship, I’ve found that most people have experienced discomfort when attempting to strike up and maintain a conversation with someone they don’t know well.

But here’s an important observation. If we tried to avoid small talk, because of the tensions involved, it would likely prevent us from making friendships over time.

While small talk may sometimes be dismissed as the meaningless “fluff” of communication, it’s actually an essential building block for connecting with others.

To help take the mystery out of the daunting task of small talking, I’ve engaged another round of experts who’ve devoted themselves to studying human interaction. (If you missed the first round of interviews on friendship, you can check out that series here.) Continue reading →

Are Psychopaths Really Smarter Than the Rest of Us? – Scott McGreal (Unique—Like Everybody Else)

There is a popular belief that psychopaths are highly intelligent, but this isn't true. What accounts for this misconception?

now is the time to double down on self-examination – Simine Vazire (sometimes i'm wrong)

[DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in my posts are personal opinions, and they do not reflect the editorial policy of Social Psychological and Personality Science or its sponsoring associations, which are responsible for setting editorial policy for the journal.]

IMG_8627 (1) it can be tempting, when contemplating the onslaught that science is likely to face from the next administration and congress, to scrub away any sign of self-criticism or weakness that could be used against us.  as a "softer" science, psychology has reason to be especially nervous.*

but hiding our flaws is exactly the wrong response.  if we do that, we will be contributing to our own demise. the best weapon anti-science people can use against us is to point to evidence that we are no different from other ways of knowing.  that we have no authority when it comes to empirical/scientific questions.  our authority comes from the fact that we are open to scrutiny, to criticism, to being wrong.  the failed replications, and the fact that we are publishing and discussing them openly, is the best evidence we have that we are a real science.  that we are different from propaganda, appeals to authority, or intuition.  we are falsifiable.  the proof is that we have, on occasion, falsified ourselves.
we should wear our battle with replicability as a badge of honor. Continue reading