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Psychology in Crisis
A considerable amount of established knowledge is being called into question 🎧
from the CONNORS FORUM
Psychology in Crisis
Most people will not be familiar with this since it has been happening in academia but we promise it is not only quite intriguing and full of juicy details but it also has some pretty big implications for the larger society.
So what is the replication crisis?
Over the past 15 years or so it has been discovered that many research findings in major academic journals actually don’t hold up to scrutiny.
When an academic publishes a study they are required to describe their research methodology in detail. If another researcher tries to conduct the same study using the same methodology, this is an attempt at “replication.” If the replication finds the same results, this is further evidence that the original study was on to something. If they don’t find the same results, it suggests that the original study may not have found the thing that it had claimed to find.
In 2005, John Ioannidis, a professor in the Stanford University School of Medicine, published an article that got a lot of attention titled, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.” In it he wrote that:
“There is increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims. . . this should not be surprising. It can be proven that most claimed research findings are false.”
Then, in 2011, there was a significant controversy over a paper by social psychologist Daryl Bem that claimed that people can have “precognition,” or ESP, and backed up this claim using the accepted research methods of psychology. This led many researchers to question dominant research methods, how the peer review process could fail so miserably, and whether this problem was much bigger than a few papers.
In 2015, researchers published an article in the prestigious journal Science in which they detailed their attempts to reproduce 100 psychology studies. Alarmingly, they found that they were only able to successfully replicate 39 of those studies. Other similar efforts since then have also shown that many major published studies that have become accepted knowledge cannot be replicated and should be called into question.
Over the past few years, academic fields have been grappling with the replication crisis and debating ways to strengthen the guardrails in academic research and publishing so that fewer flawed studies become accepted knowledge.
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