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Through this and other examples of failed studies (most notably Bem’s ESP paper, but also hopelessly flawed Kanazawa and many others), and through lots of work by psychologists such as Nosek and others, we are developing a better understanding of how to do research on unstable, context-dependent human phenomena.

There’s no reason to think of the authors of those fatally flawed papers as being bad people.

Selection bias in what gets reported When people make statistical errors, I don’t say “gotcha,” I feel sad.

Even when I joke about it, I’m not happy to see the mistakes; indeed, I often blame the statistics profession—including me, as a textbook writer!

A few hundred years ago, I expect there were some wonderful, thoughtful, intelligent, good people doing astrology.

That doesn’t mean that they were doing good science!

The only thing that really bugged me about the NYT article is when Cuddy is quoted as saying, “Why not help social psychologists instead of attacking them on your blog? I remember this came up when Dominus interviewed me for the story, and I responded right away that I helped social psychologists! I’ve given many talks during the past few years to psychology departments and at professional meetings, and I’ve published several papers in psychology and related fields on how to do better applied research, for example here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. In summary, I think Dominus’s article was , but I do wish she hadn’t let that particular false implication by Cuddy, the claim that I didn’t help social psychologists, go unchallenged.

I even wrote an article, with Hilda Geurts, for The Clinical Neuropsychologist! Then again, I also don’t like it that Cuddy baselessly attacked the work of Simmons and Simonsohn and to my knowledge never has apologized for that. .” I never saw Cuddy present any evidence for these claims.) Good people can do bad science.

Dominus also writes, “Gelman considers himself someone who is doing others the favor of pointing out their errors, a service for which he would be grateful, he says.” This too is accurate, and let me also emphasize that this is a service for which I not only grateful when people point out my errors. Let me continue by saying something I’ve said before, which is that being a scientist, and being a good person, does not necessarily mean that you’re doing good science.

A bunch of people pointed me to a New York Times article by Susan Dominus about Amy Cuddy, the psychology researcher and Ted-talk star famous for the following claim (made in a paper written with Dana Carney and Andy Yap and published in 2010): offer some empirical evidence for, failed to show up in a series of external replication studies, first by Ranehill et al.

in 2015 and then more recently various other research teams (see, for example, here). paper was an analysis by Joe Simmons and Uri Simonsohn explaining how Carney, Cuddy, and Yap could’ve gotten it wrong in the first place.

As the subtitle of Dominus’s excellent article says, “suddenly, the rules changed.” It happened over several years, but it really did feel like something sudden.

And, yes, Carney, Cuddy, and Yap ideally should’ve known back in 2010 that they were chasing for patterns in noise. They, and we, were fortunate to have Ranehill et al.

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