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Description: If your engagement with the field of psychology has been through your textbooks and your reading of research articles as part of your experiences in undergraduate (or even graduate) level courses you may not have had opportunity to directly observe the actual people (the researchers) who are designing, conducting, analyzing and writing up the research reported on in journals and textbooks. Lectures and written statements about how to properly design and conduct research or how to use research to properly inform your writing, thinking and actions in the world offered by teachers such as me somewhat obscure the fact that such decisions are an ongoing part of the everyday lives of researchers. Add to this the fact that the failure to replicate crisis in Social Psychology (if you missed my post on that see Crisis? What Crisis? Oh That Crisis!   http://wileypsychologyupdates.ca/research-methods/crisis-what-crisis-oh-that-crisis/ ) is not just a challenge to the foundational knowledge of the discipline but directly impacts the lives of the researchers that contributed to the building of those foundations. The article linked below is a detailed account of the impact that the replication crisis has had on the life of a Social Psychologist (Amy Cuddy, who delivered the second most popular TED talk of all time based on her research into the power posing) whose research on the effect of taking “power postures” on the psychological (replicated) and physiological (not replicated) correlates of social power. The article also introduces us to the key players in developing and advancing the replicability crisis also as human beings who happen to be working on research related issues. A read of the article will both provide a concise overview of the issues that make up the replication crisis and show you the human side of the researchers who do this sort of stuff for a living (and because they engaged in their research disciplines.

Source: When the Revolution Came for Amy Cuddy? Susan Dominus, Grey Matter, the New York Time Magazine, New York Times

Date: October 22, 2017

Photo Credit:  Alec Soth, New York Times

Links:  Article Link — https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/18/magazine/when-the-revolution-came-for-amy-cuddy.html

The issues of replicability and p-hacking and the related questions about the actual solidity of the foundations of science (and social science and social psychology) are nicely brought out in the linked article. The human side of the research enterprise is also displayed in ways we rarely get to experience (unless we are on the inside as a member of that or another research community). I hope you found it to be an interesting read.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is p-hacking?
  2. Why is p-hacking an issue for the fields of social psychology? Is it an issue unique to social psychology?
  3. How might or perhaps, how should, the things discussed in the article inform the ways in which we train graduate students in psychology?

References (Read Further):

Carney, D. R., Cuddy, A. J., & Yap, A. J. (2010). Power posing: Brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychological science, 21(10), 1363-1368. http://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/mygsb/faculty/research/pubfiles/4679/power.poses_.PS_.2010.pdf

Cuddy, Amy Your body language may shape who you are. TED Talk https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are

Overview of the state of the science on postural feedback, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/my-overview-state-science-postural-feedback-power-posing-amy-cuddy

Inside the debate about power posing: A Q & A with Amy Cuddy http://ideas.ted.com/inside-the-debate-about-power-posing-a-q-a-with-amy-cuddy/

A colleague of mine (Alex Bierman, thanks Alex!) found these follow up or responce links:

For those interested, there was something of a response to the NYT piece from Andy Gelman, who has been one of the main voices quite critical of the power pose research:
http://andrewgelman.com/2017/10/18/beyond-power-pose-using-replication-failures-better-understanding-data-collection-analysis-better-science/
See also this article from Slate, which in some ways provides a counter-counterpoint to Gelman’s counterpoint:
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2017/10/did_power_posing_guru_amy_cuddy_deserve_her_public_shaming.html

 

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