Saturday, 29 August 2015

social studies or regression to the mean

The brilliant Mind Hacks covers the landmark project that explores the reproducibility of classical experiments in cognitive science and psychology. The credence of the discipline, especially for some of the more dogmatic factions of academics and the public, is now hanging—not without controversy, on whether some of the foundational trials can be replicated with the same assuring results.

 The outcome is looking mixed—and for better or worse, no one can say, it does not seem as if the hallmarks of psychology and behavioural health practises are based on robust principles and may be driven more by publication-bias or the environment of care, coddling and what’s normative as a whole. This sort of peer-review and consistency is of course what makes or breaks research in other fields, and fraud should be weeded-out. Interestingly, much of Sigmund Freud’s archived sessions are still secret and not accessible to anyone some two centuries on—which is pretty ironic, I think, since Freud chiefly argued that repression will always out—mostly in strange and destructive ways. What do you think? This project does not necessarily invalidate what we not about psychology by highlighting the weaker argument but rather points to those areas which we can investigate with greater assurance. I am just afraid that these results will be communicated to the public in a way that sews distrust and rejection.