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Psychology's Renaissance

Forthcoming, Annual Review of Psychology

41 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2017  

Leif D. Nelson

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Joseph P. Simmons

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Uri Simonsohn

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Date Written: October 31, 2017

Abstract

In 2010–2012, a few largely coincidental events led experimental psychologists to realize that their approach to collecting, analyzing, and reporting data made it too easy to publish false-positive findings. This sparked a period of methodological reflection that we review here and call Psychology’s Renaissance. We begin by describing how psychologists’ concerns with publication bias shifted from worrying about file-drawered studies to worrying about p-hacked analyses. We then review the methodological changes that psychologists have proposed and, in some cases, embraced. In describing how the renaissance has unfolded, we attempt to describe different points of view fairly but not neutrally, so as to identify the most promising paths forward. In so doing, we champion disclosure and preregistration, express skepticism about most statistical solutions to publication bias, take positions on the analysis and interpretation of replication failures, and contend that meta-analytical thinking increases the prevalence of false positives. Our general thesis is that the scientific practices of experimental psychologists have improved dramatically.

Keywords: p-hacking, publication bias, renaissance, methodology, false positives, preregistration

Suggested Citation

Nelson, Leif D. and Simmons, Joseph P. and Simonsohn, Uri, Psychology's Renaissance (October 31, 2017). Forthcoming, Annual Review of Psychology. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3064811

Leif Nelson

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Joseph Simmons (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3733 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6374
United States

Uri Simonsohn

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
JMHH 500
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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