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Does “liberal bias” deepen replication crisis in psychology?

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Liberals outnumber conservatives in psychology 14 to 1. Studies claim that that does not produce a bias effect but then there’s this:

Here’s where the “no liberal bias” takeaway becomes slightly more complicated. With this technique, the researchers found that the more highly ideological a paper was, whether to the left or the right, the less likely it was to replicate – what they called an “ideological extremity effect”. For instance, a strongly liberal-rated study, which showed how subtle cues could make African-American professionals feel unwelcome, failed to replicate, as did the aforementioned, conservative-rated study on centerfold erotica. Overall, “more ideologically slanted research (regardless of liberal vs. conservative ideological slant) was between 34% (Study 1) and 6% (Study 2) less likely to replicate.”

“Taken together our results are a starting point for a richer conversation about the role and influence of politics in science,” the researchers concluded. “Our work suggests that politics may play a role in scientific replicability but not in the way many scholars have thought, as we did not find evidence of a liberal bias and instead found preliminary evidence of an ideological extremity effect.” It suggests that yes, there’s a link between ideology and replication-woes, but one that operates in a significantly more complicated way than some replication-crisis-theorists have posited.Jesse Singal, “Has the liberal bias in psychology contributed to the replication crisis?” at BPS Research Digest

Aw come on, it’s actually not all that complicated when you see it in action. One way you can know that liberal bias deepens the replication crisis is this: Consider the sheer number of ridiculous Sokal hoaxes that have played psychology journals. That would only be possible in an environment that is so overwhelmingly of one persuasion that few academics step back and say things like “What? ‘Misgendering’ dogs? This is ridiculous! Someone is trying to snooker us!” Because, you see, feelings within the group matter and someone who deeply cares might be offended. Better if we all look like fools together in the world’s eyes…

Things can only improve if the psychologists open a window but perhaps they would rather sink into discontented oblivion than open a window. It’s always easier to blame outsiders anyway.

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See also: So many studies cannot be reproduced that it is a crisis in science

Pushback against abandoning “statistical significance” in science

and

Abandon statistical significance, learn to live with uncertainty, scientists demand

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2 Replies to “Does “liberal bias” deepen replication crisis in psychology?

  1. 1
    Fasteddious says:

    So the probably liberal (14 to 1) authors “did not find any evidence of a liberal bias”? Perhaps I should read the paper, but I wonder if they repeated their research using conservative researchers? i.e. did they balance out the one in 15? This reminds me that I once complained that the CBC (Canada’s public broadcaster) was liberally biased, as do other conservatives. My liberally biased sister replied that she found the CBC to be well balanced and not biased at all. So, conservatives find bias, and liberals do not. Therefore some bias exists, QED.

  2. 2
    Bob O'H says:

    Fasteddious – you don’t even need to read the paper, just read the OP! Yes, they did also look at research from a conservative bias.

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