(Zeroth in a series) I’ve been interested in the sociology of psychology ever since my dissertation, but the recent dramas in social psychology have made this interest, like Tinder at the Olympic Village, “next level.” (Also, I’ve a genuinely remarkable advisee, David Peterson*, whose dissertation involves a multisite lab ethnography of psychology, and even though we’ve got nine thousand miles between us we’ve been corresponding on this issues quite a bit.)
I’m just explaining here what’s going on if you ever wonder, “Why does Jeremy talk so much about psychology?” Also, I worry that a lot of my concern about psychology appears like it’s strictly methodological, but a lot of the methodological critique adds up to a dire substantive point that I think sociologists should be extreme concerned about-but that’s a teaser for another post.
For now, let me link to one of the latest turns in the drama: a post by a Harvard psychologist arguing strongly against the value of replication at all, by as far as I can tell unwittingly following Harry Collins’s experimenter’s regress all the way to a sort of anti-replicationist fundamentalism.
I might say more specifically about this person’s arguments–although it also could be that I don’t know where to begin–but for the tl;dr crowd let me at least start by pointing out the very end:
As a rule, studies that produce null results—including preregistered studies—should not be published. As argued throughout this piece, null findings cannot distinguish between whether an effect does not exist or an experiment was poorly executed, and therefore have no meaningful evidentiary value even when specified in advance.
* On the market in 2015! Remember the name.