Scientists Can't Confirm Results Of Many Psychology Studies

Posted on August 31, 2015

Photo: flickr

Reproducibility is one of the primary principles of the scientific method, which is the ability of old and new researchers to replicate the same findings as the original study. Many controversies have enveloped this feature of science, such that the extent to which reproducibility represents the current research is not clear.

Now, a group of researchers started a project to investigate on the initial estimate of the reproducibility of studies involving psychological science.

The team of experts began their project in 2011, when its team leader named Brian Nosek from the University of Virginia, opted to see if suspect science is a far-reaching dilemma. More than 250 researchers comprised the group, which determined 100 studies published in 2008 from three psychology journals namely the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the Psychological Science and the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. The said experts performed the identified experimental and correlational studies with strict compliance to the published methodologies and in collaboration with the initial researchers. All the studies did not involve testing of treatments, instead it focused on the people's cognition, memory, perception and interactions.

The findings of the study, published in the journal Science, show that only 39 percent of the replication attempts produced the same results as that of the original. Most of the replications performed exhibited poor evidence of the initial findings despite the incorporation of materials that were used in the previous study, the adherence to the original procedures and the significant statistical impact used to determine the previous effect sizes.

"Anyone's study is not going to be the last word," said Nosek. Every single research has evidences for backup and these are used to draw a conclusion. However, the accuracy or inaccuracy of something can be determined through the aggregation of evidences gathered from multiple studies.

In conclusion, the authors said that their study did not mean to say that all the unconfirmed studies were wrong; however, it may serve as a reminder that concrete answers cannot be obtained by a one study alone thus, explaining why scientists often say that new study results warrant further investigations.


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