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Is psychology one of the reasons why government science is so bad?


Bright Idea From Peter Wood and David Randall at the Wall Street Journal:

Half the results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals are probably wrong.

The biggest newsmakers in the crisis have involved psychology. Consider three findings: Striking a “power pose” can improve a person’s hormone balance and increase tolerance for risk. Invoking a negative stereotype, such as by telling black test-takers that an exam measures intelligence, can measurably degrade performance. Playing a sorting game that involves quickly pairing faces (black or white) with bad and good words (“happy” or “death”) can reveal “implicit bias” and predict discrimination.

All three of these results received massive media attention, but independent researchers haven’t been able to reproduce any of them properly. It seems as if there’s no end of “scientific truths” that just aren’t so. For a 2015 article in Science, independent researchers tried to replicate 100 prominent psychology studies and succeeded with only 39% of them. More.

Psychology is not a science. There are too many variables and too much wishful thinking or fearful thinking to begin to sort them out. Cutting psychology loose from science and returning it to (one hopes, restored) humanities might help restore confidence in science.

Note: The article is now paywalled and the quote is from an excerpt at Instapundit.

See also: Can science tell us who will become a mass shooter?

Facts are shaking the foundations of psychology?


Introductory psych textbooks offer a “highly misleading” view of intelligence,say researchers


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