We were reading “Out, Damned Spot: Can the ‘Macbeth effect’ be replicated?” (Earp,B., Everett,J., Madva,E., and Hamlin,J. 2014, in Basic and Applied Social Psychology 36: 91-8) in an informal gathering of our 6334 seminar yesterday afternoon at Thebes. Some of the graduate students are interested in so-called “experimental” philosophy, and I asked for an example that used statistics for purposes of analysis. The example–and it’s a great one (thanks Rory M!)–revolves around priming research in social psychology. Yes the field that has come in for so much criticism as of late, especially after Diederik Stapel was found to have been fabricating data altogether (search this blog, e.g., here).
But since then the field has, ostensibly, attempted to clean up its act. On the meta-level, Simmons, Nelson, and Simonsohn (2011) is an excellent example of the kind of self-scrutiny the field needs, and their list of requirements and guidelines offer a much needed start (along with their related work). But the research itself appears to be going on in the same way as before (I don’t claim this one is representative), except that now researchers are keen to show their ability and willingness to demonstrate failure to replicate. So negative results are the new positives! If the new fashion is non-replication, that’s what will be found (following Kahneman‘s call for a “daisy chain” in ). Continue reading