An ambitious group of researchers embarked on the unprecedented task of replicating 100 psychology studies to observe if they can get the same results. The results were concerning, as less than 40% of the repeated studies arrived at the same conclusion.
It doesn’t mean that any of the studies were wrong, bur rather a powerful reminder that a single study cannot provide a conclusive answer. This is exactly the reason why most researchers often accompany their new findings with the phrase: “Further research is needed”.
A psychology professor involved in the new study says that any one study is not going to be definitive and that each study comes with a grain of truth. Experiments are conducted to find information that would later lead to a conclusion. A viable conclusion will always be based on a number of evidence accumulated over many studies.
The leader of the study declared at a press conference that even this research on replication is not completely satisfactory.
The people involved in the study are from all over the world and because they all came from the field of psychology they unanimously decided to focus only on the researches based on that topic. An important task of the 300 experts involved was working with the authors of the original studies, for a better reproduction value in the new attempts. In spite of that, more than half of the replicated attempts showed different results than the original studies.
The work concentrated around 100 experiments published from 2008 to 2010 in the three leading psychology journals. All of the researches focused on central psychological learnings and they tested the way people think, perceive and interact with one another. For example, one of the studies explored if people who are lonely create human bonds with objects.
The studies that came with stronger statistical data were replicated more easily, whereas the studies with highly interpreted conclusions could not all be properly replicated.
There are several explanations for that. The logistics of the original study could be incorrect. Or they could be correct, but essential details were overlooked by the second study. That doesn’t exclude the possibility that both studies could be right but with conflicting conclusions due to their incompleteness
Although many publications and media sites started to question the reliability of psychology, the author of the study stresses that if the study was translated to any other field, the results would likely be similar.
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