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Jacqueline Woolley, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

A group discussion of the alleged problem of false positives in psychology and proposed solutions

Mon, September 24, 2012 • 3:00 AM - 4:00 AM • SEA 3.250

A group discussion of the alleged problem of false positives in psychology and proposed solutions. Simmons et al (2011) is recommended background reading for the discussion.

Abstract:

In this article, we accomplish two things. First, we show that despite empirical psychologists’ nominal endorsement of a low rate of false-positive findings (x .05), flexibility in data collection, analysis, and reporting dramatically increases actual false-positive rates. In many cases, a researcher is more likely to falsely find evidence that an effect exists than to correctly find evidence that it does not. We present computer simulations and a pair of actual experiments that demonstrate how unacceptably easy it is to accumulate (and report) statistically significant evidence for a false hypothesis. Second, we suggest a simple, low-cost, and straightforwardly effective disclosure-based solution to this problem. The solution involves six concrete requirements for authors and four guidelines for reviewers, all of which impose a minimal burden on the publication process.

Simmons, J. P., Nelson, L. D., & Simonsohn, U. (2011). False-Positive Psychology. Psychological Science, 22(11), 1359–1366. doi:10.1177/0956797611417632

Download from http://pss.sagepub.com/content/22/11/1359

Sponsored by: Cognitive Systems Seminar


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