Phil mentioned in the comments of an earlier post the recent news story about how martial infidelity has a heritability of .4, and the news story also features various more specific claims about the specific genes and systems supposedly involved and the purported evolutionary psychology of it all. Eric Turkheimer, who is hopefully already established as Sociology’s Favorite Behavioral Geneticist, has a nice blog post in which he explains problems with the news story. Enjoy!
(Substantial prelude with some light technical bits, feel free to jump to [UPSHOT] or [BOLDFACE PUNCHLINE])
As is shown in the meta-analysis Andy references in his last post, more or less every measurable outcome anybody cares about in any study of human beings is more similar among identical twins than it is among fraternal twins, which in the classical model applied to twin study data means the trait has a non-zero heritability.
Perhaps the major motivation of the giant meta-analysis, however, is evaluation of the extent to which identical twin correlations are twice the fraternal correlation. Continue reading “aside on the heritability of everything”
A new article by Polderman et al. in Nature Genetics, nicely summed up by Jeremy:
— Jeremy Freese (@jeremyfreese) May 25, 2015
is a meta-analysis of essentially every twin-based study of heritability of any trait between 1958 and 2012. The top-line coverage, encouraged by the authors’ press release, is:
One of the great tussles of science – whether our health is governed by nature or nurture – has been settled, and it is effectively a draw.
This is based on the fact that, across 17,804 traits in 28 “general trait domains,” the overall mean heritability was 49%. That prompted me to write:
— Andrew Perrin (@AndrewJPerrin) May 25, 2015
Read on for why I think that, what value there is in the below-the-fold part of the article, and why I think this kind of work is in desperate need of an injection of theory. Continue reading “are all human traits heritable?”
Of all of the issues brought up by the Lacour controversy, we have not devoted enough attention to one in my view. The
YaleColumbia* IRB made itself part of this problem.
In his initial comments to Retraction Watch, Lacour’s coauthor and Columbia political science professor Donal Green wrote,
Given that I did not have IRB approval for the study from my home institution, I took care not to analyze any primary data – the datafiles that I analyzed were the same replication datasets that Michael LaCour posted to his website. Looking back, the failure to verify the original Qualtrics data was a serious mistake.
This points to a real cost imposed by intransigent IRBs that become significant hurdles for research to progress. As institutions evaluate their response to this affair, and we reevaluate our own approaches to collaboration, those efforts would not be complete without considering the fact that IRBs hinder good, ethical research.
News broke recently of very serious concerns about the data in a high-profile political science study. Not to put too fine of a point on it, it now appears that a UCLA graduate student and rising star in political science, Michael LaCour, fabricated data nearly out of whole cloth. These data led to a surprising, widely-cited finding about the ability of relatively minor sympathetic contact to change attitudes toward LGBT people over the medium term. The original article is here, a very careful forensic investigation that revealed the likely fabrication is here, and Retraction Watch has a timeline and many relevant links here. Continue reading “the lacour and green retraction”
As a follow-up to Dan’s posting of the Junior Theorists Symposium’s call for papers last year, here is the recently released schedule. By the looks of it, 2015’s event promises to live up to the JTS’s reputation as a lively and thought-provoking way to kick off the ASA meetings. The event is open to all.*
There’s a new paper from Social Science and Medicine making the rounds with the provocative title “Black lives matter: Differential mortality and the racial composition of the U.S. electorate, 1970–2004.” The Monkey Cage has a write-up with a blunt (clickbait-y?) title that emphasizes the paper’s main question, Blacks die sooner than whites. How many votes has this cost Democrats? Something about this framing bothered me.
Today, three researchers at Facebook released a new study in Science titled “Exposure to ideologically diverse news and opinion on Facebook.” The authors summarize their own findings in a companion blog post:
We found that people have friends who claim an opposing political ideology, and that the content in peoples’ News Feeds reflect those diverse views. While News Feed surfaces content that is slightly more aligned with an individual’s own ideology (based on that person’s actions on Facebook), who they friend and what content they click on are more consequential than the News Feed ranking in terms of how much diverse content they encounter.
As several commentators have noted, this framing is a little weird.