Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Cognitive Systems Seminar

Mon, September 24, 2012 | SEA 3.250

3:00 AM - 4:00 AM

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.

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

Download from

In this article, we accomplish two things. First, we show that despite empirical psychologists’ nominal endorsement of a low rate of false-positive findings (≤ .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.

Sponsored by: Department of Psychology

Bookmark and Share

  •   Map
  • Department of Psychology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    SEA 4.208
    108 E. Dean Keeton Stop A8000
    Austin, TX 78712-1043