Psych Studies' Credibility Questioned

Reproducing study results can be difficult in any scientific field, but a study in the journal Science showed that confirming research in psychology is particularly challenging.

Reproducing study results can be difficult in any scientific field, but a study in the journal Science showed that confirming research in psychology is particularly challenging.

In a multi-author study credited to the Open Science Collaboration, the researchers looked at 100 experimental and correlational studies published in three psychology journals. They attempted to replicate results in all of these studies, with the help of 270 contributing authors. The replicators were also put in contact with the original authors of the studies.

They found that “replication effects were half the magnitude of the original effects” and that the statistical significance of study results dropped dramatically.

While 97% of the original studies had statistically significant results, only 36% of the replication studies had such results.

The authors noted that reproducibility is an issue for more empiric scientific research as well.

“In cell biology, two industrial laboratories reported success replicated the original results of landmark findings in only 11% and 25% (respectively) of the attempted cases,” a finding the authors called “stunning but also difficult to interpret.”

The studies for replication were taken from articles published in 2008 in Psychological Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.