Drawing the wrong conclusion
More on Stapel's fraud and the fallout for psychology

Great. Now a NYT headline implies that all psychology research is suspect because of Stapel's fraud. Yes, responsibility for this fraud extends beyond Stapel himself (http://goo.gl/dQmBk), but not that broadly. Now those areas that lack replications (or even replication attempts) are harming the reputations of all psychology researchers.

Within cognitive psychology and especially in the vision sciences, if someone publishes a splashy, straightforward-to-try-yourself result in Science, many labs actually do try to replicate it. Following the annual Vision Sciences Society meeting, or sometimes while still there, researchers code up the latest result for themselves and try it out. If a finding doesn't replicate, people typically find out (and if one lab continually produces results that don't replicate, people stop trusting research from that lab). If a result does replicate, researchers then re-do the experiments and try to test their limits.

The problem here seems to be that nobody even tries to replicate any of the sorts of stuff Stapel "did," or if they do, it never gets published. In cognitive psychology, a standard approach is to replicate the original result and then extend or challenge it. Papers in Stapel's area don't include many such replications and extensions of earlier results by other labs.

Want a fun exercise? Try scanning the literature to see if anyone has published an attempt to replicate any of the dozens of fraudulent papers that Stapel produced. These were papers in Science and other top journals, and involved collaborations with other well-known researchers. The types of studies he published aren't that hard to do, and he's working in a crowded field with a lot of other people doing this sort of research. If you find any replications embedded in other articles, post them in the comments. I expect I'll be waiting a while.
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