- People were more likely to cheat on a test if they had just read that their behavior was predestined.
- At low-fertility phases of their menstrual cycles, partnered women favored attached men, but preferred single men (if masculine, i.e., advertising good genetic quality) when conception risk was high.
- Volunteers asked to plot two points that were far apart on graph paper later reported weaker emotional attachment to family members, compared with subjects who had graphed points close together.
Dr. John Ioannidis, a director of Stanford University’s Meta-Research Innovation Center, who once estimated that about half of published results across medicine were inflated or wrong, noted the proportion in psychology was even larger than he had thought. He said the problem could be even worse in other fields, including cell biology, economics, neuroscience, clinical medicine, and animal research.
- “Large sample” – thousands of test subjects (preferably human – not insect or rodent --if results are supposed to have ramifications for people).
- “Double blind” – neither the study organizers nor the study subjects know who’s receiving what treatment or who’s in a control group. An uninvolved third party reveals the connections to study organizers only AFTER the data has been collected.
- “Longitudinal” – studies conducted over a long period of time, perhaps decades.
- “Peer-reviewed” – evaluated by other uninvolved scientists.
- “No conflict of interest” – Researchers do not stand to benefit in any way by the results.
- Scientists want to conduct their own original, sexy, even groundbreaking research. They don’t want to spend their time and energy checking other scientists’ work.
- Research journals have big incentives to publish new and fascinating material, and not to report on reproductions of earlier work.
Our best methodologies to try to figure out truth mostly reveal to us that figuring out truth is really hard. And we're going to get contradictions. One year, we're going to learn that coffee is good for us. The next year, we're going to learn that it's bad for us. The next year, we're going to learn we don't know.