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Why Is Social Psychology the Main Front in the Replication Crisis?
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In the comments at Columbia U. professor of statistics Andrew Gelman’s blog, Dr. Gelman and I discuss why social psychology seems to usually be at the center of the Replication Crisis wars, such as in the controversy over Amy Cuddy’s power posing experiment. I said:

Why has social psychology been the central front in the Replication Crisis?

I think this is partly because social psychology, as social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has documented, is extremely politicized. On the other hand, it is also because social psychologists are scientific enough to care. Other fields are at least as distorted, but they don’t feel as bad about it as the psychologists do.

I lifted this idea from Greg Cochran.

(At the extreme, cultural anthropologists have turned against science in general: at Stanford, for example, the Anthropology Department broke up for a number of years into Cultural Anthropology and Anthropological Sciences.)

Is the social psychology glass therefore half empty or half full? I’d say it’s to the credit of social psychologists that they feel guilty enough to host these debates rather than to just ignore them.

Dr. Gelman responded:

Steve:

What you say is similar to what I said here, where I argued that psychology has several features that contribute to the crisis:

– Psychology is a relatively open and uncompetitive field (compared for example to biology). Many researchers will share their data.

– Psychology is low budget (compared to biomedicine). So, again, not so much incentive to hoard data or lab procedures. There’s no “Robert Gallo” in psychology who would steal someone’s virus sample in order to get a Nobel Prize.

– The financial rewards are lower within psychology, hence the incentive is not to set up your own company using secret technology but rather to get your idea known far and wide so you can get speaking tours, book contracts, etc. Sure, most research psychologists don’t attempt this, but to the extent there are financial rewards, that’s where they are.

– In psychology, data are generally not proprietary (as in business) or protected (as in medicine). So there’s a norm of sharing. In bio, if you want someone’s data, you have to beg. In psychology, they have to give you a reason not to share.

– In psychology, experiments are easy to replicate (unlike econ or poli sci, where you can’t just run a bunch more recessions or elections) and cheap to replicate (unlike medicine which involves doctors and patients). So replication is a live option, indeed it gets people suggesting that preregistered replication be a requirement in some cases.

– Finally, hypotheses in psychology, especially social psychology, are often vague, and data are noisy. Indeed, there often seems to be a tradition of casual measurement, the idea perhaps being that it doesn’t matter exactly what you measure because if you get statistical significance, you’ve discovered something. This is different from econ where it seems there’s more of a tradition of large datasets, careful measurements, and theory-based hypotheses. Anyway, psychology studies often (not always, but often) feature weak theory + weak measurement, which is a recipe for unreplicable findings.

To put it another way, p-hacking is not the cause of the problem; p-hacking is a symptom. Researchers don’t want to p-hack; they’d prefer to confirm their original hypotheses. They p-hack only because they have to.

Hey—that’s a blog post right there. I guess I’ll post it; there’s room in May.

By the way, I’ve long been interested in the theoretical possibility that some failures of famous old experiments to replicate in experiments years later are not due to the original experimental results having been just plain wrong but due to history having moved on and people behaving differently in the present than in the past.

Maybe at some point in history, for example, power posing really works, and in other stages it just make people feel self-consciously phoney, or something.

But I don’t have any good examples from social psychology. Most of the studied examples just appear to have been (not necessarily intentionally) bogus from the beginning.

But the power of historical change is evident in psychometrics in the Flynn Effect. Unlike much else in psychology, IQ testing has proven hugely replicable … except over time, much to the surprise of just about everybody.

A lot of effort was devoted to making IQ tests consistent over space, across different languages and in different countries. But the surprise of just about everybody, IQ tests proved inconsistent over time: raw scores went up fairly consistently, decade after decade and all over the world.

This was not expected, and it remains pretty interesting.

 
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  1. notanon says:

    cultural Marxist propaganda masquerading as science

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    • Replies: @El Dato
    That's because Putin's right arm actually turns into a radioactive chainsaw if he is menaced or taunted.
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  3. Dr. Gelman is a first rate mind (his Bayesian Data Analysis 3rd edition is a testimony to it), and his response was informative and, well, scholarly. But he did not answer your question about politicization. Do you think it because he doesn’t want to? Or is it because he can’t?

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  4. I believe the Flynn Effect can be explained by Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic Field Theory. Basically, as humans all over the world take I.Q. tests (and engage in other activities of a similar nature), we have, as a species, become better at taking them (due to our shared neurological connection to the morphogenetic field).

    Of course, many people are 1) convinced Sheldrake is a crank, and yet also 2) know nothing of his work.

    DOGS THAT KNOW WHEN THEIR OWNERS ARE COMING HOME, is a great place to start, if anyone’s curious.

    Read More
    • Troll: Kevin C.
    • Replies: @Anonymouse
    I just read a paper by Sheldrake on a dog in Manchester which exhibited anticipatory behavior. I wearied of reading about the extensive videotaping of the dog and I doubt Sheldrake ever explains how the phenomenon fits into what humans know about the rest of the real world. I would expect Sheldrake to commence his paper with his theory. Speaking of the dog's morphic powers is just hand waving.
    , @Alden
    How about dogs that sit down, stay down, come here, back off, shut up,back off, and stay out of the kitchen and dining area when one family member makes these orders and refuses to obey another family member?

    Sorry about the run in sentence
    , @notanon

    I believe the Flynn Effect can be explained by...
     
    I wonder if it can be explained by the large increase in fish consumption (iodine) in some parts of the 3rd world.
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  5. Cleanthes says:

    Flynn effect is caused by increased consumption of sugar. Sugar consumption worldwide has increased at about the same rate as IQ. The brain uses prodigious quantities of calories. Additional factor: decrease in childhood diseases free up glucose needed previously for fevers for brain development.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alden
    Could be true. What you wrote about the brain being mostly fat and the brain needing lots of carbs and glucose is standard Anatomy and physiology.

    Nice thing about the hard sciences, they don't change ever 5 years to accommodate latest liberal fads.
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  6. Jack D says:

    IQ is supposed to be a measure of your intelligence in relation to the AVERAGE person of your day. You don’t measure it like blood pressure – you get at it indirectly by giving people relatively trivial tasks (asking them to duplicate a design using blocks, asking them questions about common knowledge of the day, asking them to repeat a string of digits, etc.). Each test is not that predictive by itself (some people know a lot of trivia but are lousy with spatial tasks) but all of them together are pretty accurate in inferring IQ.

    The thing is, the tasks that are on an IQ test sort of resemble stuff tasks that are increasingly common in modern life or are taught more often nowadays. For example, one of the tests is called “digit span” – someone reads a list of up to 10 or 11 numbers to you and you are supposed to remember them long enough to recite them back. When Terman asked people to do this in 1917, this was a novel and challenging test outside the realm of their ordinary lives and only people who were really sharp could pick it up instantly. To a modern, this is exactly like someone reading you a phone # with area code – you do this every day. So not surprisingly, people have gotten better at these kind of tasks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @keuril
    As a general idea, that makes sense, but with respect to memorizing digits (the average was considered to be "seven plus-minus one") in particular, one might expect a decline as nobody needs to memorize phone numbers anymore.
    , @(((Owen)))
    Nobody uses phone numbers anymore.

    Sometimes you punch your own into someone else's phone so he can call you and then you both have each others' in your contacts. But nobody has to actually memorize a phone number anymore. Only old people even remember what that was like.
    , @ScarletNumber
    Area codes are hardly random, and neither are exchanges.
    , @anonguy

    The thing is, the tasks that are on an IQ test sort of resemble stuff tasks that are increasingly common in modern life or are taught more often nowadays. For example, one of the tests is called “digit span” – someone reads a list of up to 10 or 11 numbers to you and you are supposed to remember them long enough to recite them back. When Terman asked people to do this in 1917, this was a novel and challenging test outside the realm of their ordinary lives and only people who were really sharp could pick it up instantly. To a modern, this is exactly like someone reading you a phone # with area code – you do this every day. So not surprisingly, people have gotten better at these kind of tasks.
     
    On the other hand, people were much handier then which could help on the visual/spatial stuff, so it could all be a wash.

    I find millenials comparatively inept at common chores, tasks requiring manual skills, my weekly favorite is watching them puzzle over packing my groceries into bags, it is always like it is the first time they've ever done it. They potz around, poke at things, scratch their heads a lot more than previous cohorts, and it usually boils down to deficient visual/spatial reasoning.
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  7. Agree with this list. Interestingly enough, it implies that there is probably an undetected replication crisis in medicine as maybe biology as well, but the studies are too hard to repeat. Unfortunately my sense is this is probably correct, which has some dire implications.

    Another issue likely reducing replicability in medicine is the patient population is a moving target. Some technique or surgery that marginally extended life back in the 1950s when everyone smoked and had black alveoli may not apply in 2010 when no one smokes; everyone has nice pink lungs, but on the other hand is terribly overweight. Particularly for things like dietary risk factors for disease race plays a major role and we all know that is a moving target nowadays. I wonder if anything analogous affects psychology.

    I would also argue that part of the issue is that most psychology papers present a complete hypothesis as well as experimental verification, whereas in many fields a hypothesis alone is enough to publish. Much of the engineering literature can be boiled down to, “Hey we invented this thing, here’s what it looks like!” Likewise with physics there’s a lot of “hey here’s some math that could maybe describe something!” Those aren’t really falsifiable. In chemistry the results are usually in the form of a spectra or some other physical measurement so there’s not really any possibility of statistical error.

    So maybe we need to revisit null hypothesis statistical testing? I’m not sure what the answer is. Abandon the field entirely?

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    • Replies: @Altai

    Agree with this list. Interestingly enough, it implies that there is probably an undetected replication crisis in medicine as maybe biology as well, but the studies are too hard to repeat.
     
    A example of this happened in cellular biology in the 2000s. People had been using standard cell stocks of certain tissue classes for many decades. (Eg the famous CHO and Helia Lacks cell lines) This was to ensure better replication by using the same cell lines. Most cell types, however, look identical in suspension. So when sequencing became cheap people began to look at the DNA of the cell lines. Bad times; decades of sub-sampling of sub-sampling had lead to many cases of cross contamination or cell-line mixups. Many papers were completely invalidated by claiming results using say renal cells, when they were infact hepatic cells. (Or even worse, not even proper cell lines but contamination)

    Typically in the hard sciences replication issues don't cause as much of a problem because you develop techniques on top of previous results and if the previous results were wrong your new techniques won't work, but in some fields like cell biology it's complicated enough for these things to slip through on occasion as they are so complex.

    Cell biology and inorganic chemistry are where you'd find the greatest mistakes/falsified results, deriving from the complexity of procedure and results that often might be useful, but only if a way was found to make the process easier so nobody touches it because it's so difficult.

    Ultimately the development of techniques and technology based on assumptions derived from previous experiments is what keeps the hard sciences working. There is observable progress.

    In economics and sociology/psychology? Show me the progress.

    , @Frau Katze
    Think of all the contradictory pronouncements about diet.

    Animal fats bad — use margarine! Whoops, trans fats in margarine bad! Maybe butter after all.

    The list goes on and on and as a non professional I find it very hard to determine if, for example, artificial sweeteners are bad or good. You can find totally contradictory articles in the MSM, who are usually more united.

    But I admit it's hard to test diet.
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  8. I don’t know if you would call it strictly political (although I think it was), but the social sciences were committed to the Blank Slate as if it were a religious dogma. For at least 60 years they have been omitting and obscuring data that contradicted this dogma to a degree that equals (IMO) flat-out lying. Posterity will not treat them well.

    The social sciences have their own definition of lying that carefully circumscribes their own behavior. I use the words of the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, “When the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”

    Many so-called “science writers” have been their main enablers. Exceptions like Steve are rare.

    The scientists who have kept holding up the truth in the face of it all are heroic.

    Read More
    • Agree: G Pinfold
    • Replies: @notanon

    I don’t know if you would call it strictly political (although I think it was), but the social sciences were committed to the Blank Slate as if it were a religious dogma.
     
    i think the initial preachers were political (cultural Marxist) but since then it has become a self-perpetuating secular religion.
    , @Ivy

    the words of the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, “When the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”
     
    Other cultures have folk wisdom variations on that theme.
    One is "Lui qui ne dit rien est d'accord".
    He who says nothing, agrees.

    Who else has remained silent, why, and for which reasons? Tarantino spewed out his reasons for silence on l'affaire Weinstein after a period of thoughtful reflection and crisis management intervention counseling. Why are there not more like Émile Zola (J'Accuse), for example, in this day and age? That alone reflects the current age.

    , @Frau Katze
    Posterity won't treat the Blank Slaters well?

    You're an optimist! I see zero trend towards the idea going away.

    I admit this is based on reading news reports and commentary, not professional psychology papers.

    The trouble with dropping the Blank Slate is that all sorts phenomena must then be 1) hereditary and/ or 2) cultural.

    The current left finds those unpalatable. Every thing is now the fault of white cishet males. That idea seems thoroughly entrenched.

    I see no prospect of change short of huge upheaval like the French or Russians Revolutions, or perhaps nations fragmenting along ethnic/religious lines.

    I hope I'm wrong!
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  9. Coemgen says:

    There’s no Flynn Effect for arithmetic, vocabulary, or general knowledge.

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  10. Would be interested for your thoughts on another major figure in that field:

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  11. keuril says:
    @Jack D
    IQ is supposed to be a measure of your intelligence in relation to the AVERAGE person of your day. You don't measure it like blood pressure - you get at it indirectly by giving people relatively trivial tasks (asking them to duplicate a design using blocks, asking them questions about common knowledge of the day, asking them to repeat a string of digits, etc.). Each test is not that predictive by itself (some people know a lot of trivia but are lousy with spatial tasks) but all of them together are pretty accurate in inferring IQ.

    The thing is, the tasks that are on an IQ test sort of resemble stuff tasks that are increasingly common in modern life or are taught more often nowadays. For example, one of the tests is called "digit span" - someone reads a list of up to 10 or 11 numbers to you and you are supposed to remember them long enough to recite them back. When Terman asked people to do this in 1917, this was a novel and challenging test outside the realm of their ordinary lives and only people who were really sharp could pick it up instantly. To a modern, this is exactly like someone reading you a phone # with area code - you do this every day. So not surprisingly, people have gotten better at these kind of tasks.

    As a general idea, that makes sense, but with respect to memorizing digits (the average was considered to be “seven plus-minus one”) in particular, one might expect a decline as nobody needs to memorize phone numbers anymore.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    You have to memorize it long enough to type it into your contacts. Digit span on the IQ test is also just such a test of short term memory - you don't have to memorize it for more than a few seconds.
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  12. anon says: • Disclaimer

    I’d suggest that one domain for which power posing is actually quite relevant is mating games– at bars/clubs, particularly with the young and with sub-100 IQ crowds. Blacks in particular.

    The equivalent for higher IQ types and older crowds would be socio-economic class markers.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rod1963
    That's pretty spot on. I used to see a lot of that at dance clubs. Problem was it could and did lead to fist fights, since it's easy to misinterpret.

    I'd also add it's done a lot in prison and in certain professions where old timers size up the new guy for hazing. The trick with them is to adopt the persona of a psycho so they don't**k with you. It usually helps if you look like iike you can kick ass.

    The same can be applied in lower end public schools where you have to adopt a posture that says "don't screw with me" to keep bullies away.
    , @bartok
    Women trying to imitate or dissect alpha men doesn't work. Their understanding is so shallow - they can't conceive that there might be some complexity to male hierarchy, that there might be subtlety as to how alpha men make their way in the world of men and the world of women / mixed workplaces.

    Whether these subtleties are even detectable by women is debatable. Either way, the subtleties are completely drowned out by the enormous sexual effect that alpha men have on women. So women's 'analysis' of alpha men is sexual, i.e. crude.

    Sandberg's and Cuddy's advice is like hetero guys giving makeup advice. The subtleties are completely inaccessible to them.

    , @Ivy

    mating games– at bars/clubs
     
    There is a marked time preference, akin to a quickly expiring commodity option, observable in bar scene examples. The exaggerated behaviors demonstrated in an environment of distorted time preference and related factors suggest a binary approach of "close the transaction or die". That transaction focus, to the exclusion of what used to be called normal human interaction, debases all parties, particularly those unaware of that game. In that frame, they convince themselves that they are behaving rationally, even if bounded by their own limited awareness.
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  13. Blue says:

    I think Steve and Gelman are overcomplicating this. More papers need to be published than there are good ideas and each area deals with it in their own way. Cultural anthropology deals with qualitative and non-replicable data and so falls back on virtue signaling. Economic data sets are large and, for the most part, available to everyone, so people compete on the sophistication of their technique. In psychology you can create your own data, but the data size is small, which allows you to generate “novel” results. Everyone gets what they need to get. Social Psychology is at the center of the replication crisis because they have the only data that can be replicated (which Gelman did say), but it’s not like it’s considered a virtue.

    Gelman: “To put it another way, p-hacking is not the cause of the problem; p-hacking is a symptom. Researchers don’t want to p-hack; they’d prefer to confirm their original hypotheses. They p-hack only because they have to. “ Duh.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cato
    I mostly agree with this. But virtue signaling in cultural anthropology owes more to the experience of ethnographers feeling guilty about not helping their field-study friends than it does to the fact that they use qualitative data. I mean, you spend a year in Guatemala, or Chad, with peasants, making friends, talking to everyone you meet, and then come back to the states and try to write a few papers, were you treat your friends as impersonal objects observed by your detached mind. Only a psychopath would be comfortable with this. Most ethnographers end up becoming activists supporting the interests of the people they study.
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  14. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Hey, social science has its Richard Simmons.

    Of course, people in boxing know this is caca. A fighter can showboat and posture macho all he wants. If he doesn’t have the moves in the ring, he’s going down.

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    • LOL: Alden
    • Replies: @2Mintzin1
    " Amy Cuddy’s power posing experiment"
    Anyone reminded of Madonna?

    "Come on...vogue..!"
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  15. Read More
    • Replies: @res

    But for the vast majority in the middle, the results are quite different. For those with a score of 28 (desirable students, according to the U’s admission policy), about three-quarters had GPAs in the range of 2.9 to 3.4. And for those with a score of 22, three-quarters had GPAs in exactly the same range.

    But these latter are disproportionately African-American students, and they are now being turned away at a higher rate than 10 years ago.
     
    Yet not a mention of what those two groups of students were majoring in. I guess all majors are equally difficult (and grade equally strictly). I mean that is about as plausible as all groups are exactly equal which is obviously true. (/sarc of course)

    There is a fair amount of pushback in the comments. Is this article going around deplorable websites?

    P.S. The comments by "liberal4ever" (a minority immigrant) make for an interesting case study of iSteve themes.
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  16. Lagertha says:

    whoa. A psych guy, over many years, tells you that it is “whatever.”

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  17. AKAHorace says:

    My impression is that social psychology experiments are easy to redo, and as you have said social psychologists may have more of a conscience than other scientists.

    Go to the webpage of any biology group at random. Most of the lab members are Ph.D. students. They are inexperienced and under pressure to find significant results so that they can have a career in science. Most scientific research is done by graduate students and unless the results are spectacularly unusual they will not be checked. Supervisors can tell students that if they do not get certain results they will not have publishable data.

    Read the article “Raise standards for preclinical cancer research” 29 MARCH 2012 | VOL 483 | NATURE .

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  18. I have a theory that the replication crisis would be resolved if universities would start cutting the grass shorter on college greens.

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  19. By the way, I’ve long been interested in the theoretical possibility that some failures of famous old experiments to replicate in experiments years later are not due to the original experimental results having been just plain wrong but due to history having moved on and people behaving differently in the present than in the past.

    Failure to replicate old experiments because people behave differently now vs. the past doesn’t necessarily invalidate the old result. Rather, I think the delta between the new results vs. old results would be indicative of another underlying effect. Granted, this also indicates that a new theory is a needed to explain these results.

    Maybe at some point in history, for example, power posing really works, and in other stages it just make people feel self-consciously phoney, or something.

    For instance, your example here suggests (putting on my social scientist hat now) that perhaps what constitutes “power posing” has changed over the years—social poses and postures evolve and change over time, much like fashion. However, as with fashion, there are some “basics” that stay the same: clothing for colder environments need to keep the wearer warm, clothing for warmer environments vice versa, fancy/formal clothing uses bright colors or expensive materials, etc.

    So, thinking about what the differences (and similarities) would inform you of what the “basics” of a power pose/posture are. One way to think of it, at least.

    But the power of historical change is evident in psychometrics in the Flynn Effect. Unlike much else in psychology, IQ testing has proven hugely replicable … except over time, much to the surprise of just about everybody.

    Total stab in the dark here, but perhaps we’re witnessing selection pressure? High cognitive ability is a desirable trait, so it makes sense (intuitively).

    Read More
    • Replies: @notanon

    Total stab in the dark here, but perhaps we’re witnessing selection pressure? High cognitive ability is a desirable trait, so it makes sense (intuitively).
     
    if the schools being tested were those used by post-colonial elites for their kids i'd say that was quite likely (but i don't know if that is the case).

    (They would likely also have the cash to afford a better diet .)
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  20. J.Ross says: • Website

    Because Berkeley and the schizophrenics were right all along, our life experiences share no true commonality, and we deliberately conflate unlike things to feel less alone.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    Say what? Berkeley has us all connected through God Almighty. His subjective idealism (our term, not his) isn't just us making junk up. The material world doesn't exist, according to him, but God does. Our immaterial minds misinterpret the ideas they perceive as matter. But they're not perceiving willy-nilly. The perceptions are given order by God.

    I realize we like to go straight to thinking about nothing really existing but our minds, and skip over the God guff. But he was a Bishop, after all.

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  21. Non-verbal communication was the specialty of one professor at my alma mater whom I knew well and stayed in touch with for a while. He was fairly well published and even worked as a consultant on a comedy film involving dating tips. He claimed that things like facial expressions and certain body positions and yes, postures, were universal across cultures.

    Now I’m wondering if that was all bullshit.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alden
    Puleeeeze, just look at the stoic Hispanic Indian immigrants and the blacks: constantly in aggressive movement , arms and legs flying around, stepping backwards and forwards and occupying as much space as possible.
    , @notanon

    Now I’m wondering if that was all bullshit.
     
    you just need to look at different dancing styles around the world

    certain body positions and yes, postures, were universal across cultures.
     
    Although maybe every culture has the same basic set but the frequency with which they use them varies dramatically.
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  22. @Jack D
    IQ is supposed to be a measure of your intelligence in relation to the AVERAGE person of your day. You don't measure it like blood pressure - you get at it indirectly by giving people relatively trivial tasks (asking them to duplicate a design using blocks, asking them questions about common knowledge of the day, asking them to repeat a string of digits, etc.). Each test is not that predictive by itself (some people know a lot of trivia but are lousy with spatial tasks) but all of them together are pretty accurate in inferring IQ.

    The thing is, the tasks that are on an IQ test sort of resemble stuff tasks that are increasingly common in modern life or are taught more often nowadays. For example, one of the tests is called "digit span" - someone reads a list of up to 10 or 11 numbers to you and you are supposed to remember them long enough to recite them back. When Terman asked people to do this in 1917, this was a novel and challenging test outside the realm of their ordinary lives and only people who were really sharp could pick it up instantly. To a modern, this is exactly like someone reading you a phone # with area code - you do this every day. So not surprisingly, people have gotten better at these kind of tasks.

    Nobody uses phone numbers anymore.

    Sometimes you punch your own into someone else’s phone so he can call you and then you both have each others’ in your contacts. But nobody has to actually memorize a phone number anymore. Only old people even remember what that was like.

    Read More
    • Agree: Coemgen
    • Replies: @AndrewR
    Lol i think virtually everyone over 30 and most people over 25 can remember having to memorize a lot of phone numbers.
    , @jim jones
    People are helpless now when their battery is low
    , @dearieme
    How do you punch your own if you haven't memorised it? Do people really consult scraps of paper?
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  23. AndrewR says:

    If average world IQ has gone up and up then I can’t imagine how dumb the average person was 150 years ago. Even today, I’m regularly shocked at just how stupid so many people are.

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    • Replies: @AP
    150 years ago the average person was much more likely to be simply illiterate than he is today. However, the educated, elite person 150 years ago was probably more intelligent than his modern counterpart.

    The Flynn effect simply reflects improvement in numerous factors among the masses (better schooling, more nutrition), that more than makes up for the decline in the elites' functioning. But peak has been achieved, and mild reversal in the Flynn effect has been observed in Western societies.
    , @biz
    What many people don't realize about the Flynn effect is that all of the improvement is in abstract reasoning like with the pattern recognition matrices, not the more practical tasks like vocabulary and memory. So probably the average person in the past would not have seemed stupider than today in a conversation or with everyday tasks.
    , @notanon
    if you have a society where the IQ among the elite goes up while the rest stays the same then the average of the society goes up but unless the elites are morally constrained in some way that just means they can become more successfully parasitic.

    http://thegroundtruthproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Sao-Paulo-Tuca-Viera-1-1920x722.jpg
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  24. The P-hacking stuff is familiar to me both from computer science and medicine, and I’m following the current crisis in the social sciences with great interest. In computer science there have been blips of interest. One guy wrote a paper on P-hacking long before the word existed, using some of his own work as a case study. The focus has shifted since then to really “Big Data” fields where there are fortunes to be made if your ideas actually work, so P-hacking is not a big problem there any more imo, at least for the field as a whole. In medicine all the same problems exist as in the social sciences, but the doctors and researchers all acknowledge this and sincerely want to fix it. Unfortunately there is tremendous inertia, because everyone is primarily focused on getting the next paper out. The fatal problem in the social sciences imo is political correctness: eg the attitude that if it is true that race differences exist, then the truth must never get out. P-hacking becomes a virtue in that scenario.

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  25. AndrewR says:
    @(((Owen)))
    Nobody uses phone numbers anymore.

    Sometimes you punch your own into someone else's phone so he can call you and then you both have each others' in your contacts. But nobody has to actually memorize a phone number anymore. Only old people even remember what that was like.

    Lol i think virtually everyone over 30 and most people over 25 can remember having to memorize a lot of phone numbers.

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    • Replies: @anonguy

    Lol i think virtually everyone over 30 and most people over 25 can remember having to memorize a lot of phone numbers.
     
    Well, we did have address books and rolodexes, but I do recall always having lots of phone numbers memorized. I also remember some moment in time where I realized I wasn't memorizing and remembering phone numbers any more, it just sort of crept up on me.

    Even that was a long, long time ago.

    Funny how primitive daily life from just 20 years now seems.
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  26. Rod1963 says:
    @anon
    I'd suggest that one domain for which power posing is actually quite relevant is mating games-- at bars/clubs, particularly with the young and with sub-100 IQ crowds. Blacks in particular.

    The equivalent for higher IQ types and older crowds would be socio-economic class markers.

    That’s pretty spot on. I used to see a lot of that at dance clubs. Problem was it could and did lead to fist fights, since it’s easy to misinterpret.

    I’d also add it’s done a lot in prison and in certain professions where old timers size up the new guy for hazing. The trick with them is to adopt the persona of a psycho so they don’t**k with you. It usually helps if you look like iike you can kick ass.

    The same can be applied in lower end public schools where you have to adopt a posture that says “don’t screw with me” to keep bullies away.

    Read More
    • Replies: @notanon
    yes, the "bother someone else" walk. predators don't go for the weak ; they go for the weakest.
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  27. Nico says:

    But the surprise of just about everybody, IQ tests proved inconsistent over time: raw scores went up fairly consistently, decade after decade and all over the world.

    The Flynn effect is surprising only if one does not anticipate the gap between genotype and phenotype. It has been shown that nutrition and health care – both of which have been greatly improved overall since the 1930s – are positively correlated with IQ, as is test familiarity (though this last is definitely subject to diminishing returns on investment: most subjects do seem to have an “upper threshold” of what they can “game”).

    As a matter of fact, Richard Lynn and John Harvey have suggested that the Flynn effect is purely environmental and that the phenotypic increase has masked a dysgenic, genotypic DEcrease of about 0.86 points over the same period.

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  28. LondonBob says:

    Chris Brand died a few months ago, haven’t seen this mentioned in any of the usual places.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886917305032

    Hadn’t been to his blog for awhile.

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  29. guest says:

    Social psychology might be on the cutting edge of the Replication Crisis because it’s the fakest of the fake sciences. Stiff competition, I know, but just think of the subject matter: how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the presence and quality of others, real or imagined. That’s mind-bogglingly complicated. Anything depending upon not just what is but also what people think about what is or isn’t, which thoughts are highly unstable and unlikely to stay in one place…It actually hurts to think about.

    People’s minds can change a billion times per second, for all I know. And there’s no way to directly observe them. The minds, that is. You can infer by behaviour and asking them after setting up controls, or pretending to. But how could you possibly know with any certainty? You have to guess why they do what they do, what their perception is of what they’re doing, if they’re at all conscious of it, knowing whenever their perception shifts it shifts the entire experience.

    Nuclear physicists don’t deal with subject matter this complex. And we pretend we learn something when we put people in front of a box of doughnuts to see if they’ll eat one, or whatever.

    There’s nothing like an honest admission from people in the field that they’re dealing with the deepest Mysteries of the Universe.

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  30. jim jones says:
    @(((Owen)))
    Nobody uses phone numbers anymore.

    Sometimes you punch your own into someone else's phone so he can call you and then you both have each others' in your contacts. But nobody has to actually memorize a phone number anymore. Only old people even remember what that was like.

    People are helpless now when their battery is low

    Read More
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  31. dearieme says:
    @(((Owen)))
    Nobody uses phone numbers anymore.

    Sometimes you punch your own into someone else's phone so he can call you and then you both have each others' in your contacts. But nobody has to actually memorize a phone number anymore. Only old people even remember what that was like.

    How do you punch your own if you haven’t memorised it? Do people really consult scraps of paper?

    Read More
    • Replies: @TheUmpteenthGermanOnHere
    O.k. Google, Siri, Bixby, Cortana, Alexa, have a meeting and decide which of my phone numbers I am in urgent need of being reminded of. I know usually the number is in Settings but I haven't figured out how to print from any of my phones and who among you is manning the help desk on which phone.
    (Overheard in the room of a phone user of unverifiable age. Can probably be interpreted as being both youthist and ageist.)
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  32. guest says:

    About the March of History, I remember reading Christopher Lasch*’s apology for Freud in his book Culture of Narcissism. Everybody in Freud-centric fields (not counting the arts) who previously took him seriously, by then (1979) knew it was all wrong. People weren’t neurotic in the manner he described. Lasch had it that we shifted to narcissism. Freud wasn’t wrong, he was merely out of date.

    Leave aside for the moment that Freud wasn’t right in his day, either (you should hear his patients tell him off when he insists, for instance, they witnessed their parents gettin’ it on when they were kids, when that was impossible and never happened; ah, but resistance means you’re on the right track). I think we always knew people generally were not all that interested in castration. It was titillating to talk about, that’s all.

    The thing is, if Freud’s “discoveries” were only relevant to the year 1900, or whenever, why did we–and he–pretend he had brought the tablets down from the mountain? Finally unlocking the vault of Human Nature, sell-by date December 31st. Titling a book Civilization and its Discontents instead of The Year 1900, Specifically, and Its Discontents.

    Aside from propaganda purposes, that is. Obviously the cultural avant-garde who used him needed to break through many barriers so that we in the Current Year can get our rocks off without Victorian “complexes” buzzkilling us. Not that Freud himself would be pleased by the fruits of his Temporary Truths. What scientific reason was there? None.

    The propagandists were successful, nevertheless. Here I am, talking about Freud because the word “psychology” is in the title of the thread.

    A lot of humility goes a long way. Next time a soundbite summary of your social psychological study is picked up by the MSM, Sir and Madame Science, please tack on the following message: “We could be wrong, but even if we’re right our conclusions might be obsolete half a second from now.”

    *Neither a psychologist nor a social psychologist.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymouse
    Never having heard of Christopher Lasch until someone hereabouts praised him to the sky, I found some books by him published around 20 years ago at a university library. I picked the most promising of the titles and he turned out to be your run of the mill gloom and doom mid-cult audience authors. Just my 2 cents.
    , @eD
    I think the problem with Freud was the claim that his interesting thoughts on culture were based on some scientific method and observation.

    Did Jung and his followers make the same claim? If they didn't, Jung's thoughts and reputation will hold up better.
    , @AP

    Everybody in Freud-centric fields (not counting the arts) who previously took him seriously, by then (1979) knew it was all wrong.
     
    Sorry, that's not accurate - the highest rated psychiatric hospitals such as New York Presbyterian (Columbia University) are staffed full of people who would disagree with that. Not many people use classical Freudian psychoanalysis but object-relations theory, developed relatively recently, is rather popular and useful. A common consensus is simply that Freud is outdated, in the same way that medicine in general in 1900 is outdated compared to modern medicine. Treatment strategies arising from ultimately from Freudian ideas have been shown to be effective in the treatment of personality disorders, fore example.

    Random example of article:

    http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2013-30487-038

    The concepts are also useful in forensic work. That is, not original Freudian ideas but offshoots developed decades later, by his students' students.
    , @Frau Katze
    Were people ripe for new explanations of human behaviour because Freud lived around the time that religion was increasingly rejected completely?

    It could explain the timing.
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  33. guest says:
    @J.Ross
    Because Berkeley and the schizophrenics were right all along, our life experiences share no true commonality, and we deliberately conflate unlike things to feel less alone.

    Say what? Berkeley has us all connected through God Almighty. His subjective idealism (our term, not his) isn’t just us making junk up. The material world doesn’t exist, according to him, but God does. Our immaterial minds misinterpret the ideas they perceive as matter. But they’re not perceiving willy-nilly. The perceptions are given order by God.

    I realize we like to go straight to thinking about nothing really existing but our minds, and skip over the God guff. But he was a Bishop, after all.

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  34. @Kevin O'Keeffe
    I believe the Flynn Effect can be explained by Dr. Rupert Sheldrake's Morphogenetic Field Theory. Basically, as humans all over the world take I.Q. tests (and engage in other activities of a similar nature), we have, as a species, become better at taking them (due to our shared neurological connection to the morphogenetic field).

    Of course, many people are 1) convinced Sheldrake is a crank, and yet also 2) know nothing of his work.

    DOGS THAT KNOW WHEN THEIR OWNERS ARE COMING HOME, is a great place to start, if anyone's curious.

    I just read a paper by Sheldrake on a dog in Manchester which exhibited anticipatory behavior. I wearied of reading about the extensive videotaping of the dog and I doubt Sheldrake ever explains how the phenomenon fits into what humans know about the rest of the real world. I would expect Sheldrake to commence his paper with his theory. Speaking of the dog’s morphic powers is just hand waving.

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  35. @guest
    About the March of History, I remember reading Christopher Lasch*'s apology for Freud in his book Culture of Narcissism. Everybody in Freud-centric fields (not counting the arts) who previously took him seriously, by then (1979) knew it was all wrong. People weren't neurotic in the manner he described. Lasch had it that we shifted to narcissism. Freud wasn't wrong, he was merely out of date.

    Leave aside for the moment that Freud wasn't right in his day, either (you should hear his patients tell him off when he insists, for instance, they witnessed their parents gettin' it on when they were kids, when that was impossible and never happened; ah, but resistance means you're on the right track). I think we always knew people generally were not all that interested in castration. It was titillating to talk about, that's all.

    The thing is, if Freud's "discoveries" were only relevant to the year 1900, or whenever, why did we--and he--pretend he had brought the tablets down from the mountain? Finally unlocking the vault of Human Nature, sell-by date December 31st. Titling a book Civilization and its Discontents instead of The Year 1900, Specifically, and Its Discontents.

    Aside from propaganda purposes, that is. Obviously the cultural avant-garde who used him needed to break through many barriers so that we in the Current Year can get our rocks off without Victorian "complexes" buzzkilling us. Not that Freud himself would be pleased by the fruits of his Temporary Truths. What scientific reason was there? None.

    The propagandists were successful, nevertheless. Here I am, talking about Freud because the word "psychology" is in the title of the thread.

    A lot of humility goes a long way. Next time a soundbite summary of your social psychological study is picked up by the MSM, Sir and Madame Science, please tack on the following message: "We could be wrong, but even if we're right our conclusions might be obsolete half a second from now."

    *Neither a psychologist nor a social psychologist.

    Never having heard of Christopher Lasch until someone hereabouts praised him to the sky, I found some books by him published around 20 years ago at a university library. I picked the most promising of the titles and he turned out to be your run of the mill gloom and doom mid-cult audience authors. Just my 2 cents.

    Read More
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  36. @notanon
    cultural Marxist propaganda masquerading as science

    jewysm

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  37. 2Mintzin1 says:
    @Anon
    Hey, social science has its Richard Simmons.

    https://cbsnews3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2015/12/13/b487ae85-484e-466c-a0bc-d2fc9b1fb1b3/thumbnail/1200x630/2875257b18f5041d4a1e7ab5846fca70/amy-cuddy-power-pose-promo.jpg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na9ZZ4ZjVa8

    Of course, people in boxing know this is caca. A fighter can showboat and posture macho all he wants. If he doesn't have the moves in the ring, he's going down.

    ” Amy Cuddy’s power posing experiment”
    Anyone reminded of Madonna?

    “Come on…vogue..!”

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  38. eD says:
    @guest
    About the March of History, I remember reading Christopher Lasch*'s apology for Freud in his book Culture of Narcissism. Everybody in Freud-centric fields (not counting the arts) who previously took him seriously, by then (1979) knew it was all wrong. People weren't neurotic in the manner he described. Lasch had it that we shifted to narcissism. Freud wasn't wrong, he was merely out of date.

    Leave aside for the moment that Freud wasn't right in his day, either (you should hear his patients tell him off when he insists, for instance, they witnessed their parents gettin' it on when they were kids, when that was impossible and never happened; ah, but resistance means you're on the right track). I think we always knew people generally were not all that interested in castration. It was titillating to talk about, that's all.

    The thing is, if Freud's "discoveries" were only relevant to the year 1900, or whenever, why did we--and he--pretend he had brought the tablets down from the mountain? Finally unlocking the vault of Human Nature, sell-by date December 31st. Titling a book Civilization and its Discontents instead of The Year 1900, Specifically, and Its Discontents.

    Aside from propaganda purposes, that is. Obviously the cultural avant-garde who used him needed to break through many barriers so that we in the Current Year can get our rocks off without Victorian "complexes" buzzkilling us. Not that Freud himself would be pleased by the fruits of his Temporary Truths. What scientific reason was there? None.

    The propagandists were successful, nevertheless. Here I am, talking about Freud because the word "psychology" is in the title of the thread.

    A lot of humility goes a long way. Next time a soundbite summary of your social psychological study is picked up by the MSM, Sir and Madame Science, please tack on the following message: "We could be wrong, but even if we're right our conclusions might be obsolete half a second from now."

    *Neither a psychologist nor a social psychologist.

    I think the problem with Freud was the claim that his interesting thoughts on culture were based on some scientific method and observation.

    Did Jung and his followers make the same claim? If they didn’t, Jung’s thoughts and reputation will hold up better.

    Read More
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  39. CK says:

    “There’s no “Robert Gallo” in psychology who would steal someone’s virus sample in order to get a Nobel Prize.”
    Real facts and real examples of cause and effect would have been nice. If the quote is an example of Dr. Gelman’s intellectual prowess; that prowess is suspect.

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  40. The Z Blog says: • Website

    Perhaps I’m too cynical, but Dr. Gelman’s list sounds a lot like “Our biggest fault is we care too much.” I think a better answer is that social psychology lacks standards. That’s because it is not science. The lack of standards allows quacks and charlatans to dress up like real scientists. I read a lot of papers from the soft sciences and calling some of it quackery is an insult to quacks.

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  41. njguy73 says:

    By the way, I’ve long been interested in the theoretical possibility that some failures of famous old experiments to replicate in experiments years later are not due to the original experimental results having been just plain wrong but due to history having moved on and people behaving differently in the present than in the past.

    But I don’t have any good examples from social psychology. Most of the studied examples just appear to have been (not necessarily intentionally) bogus from the beginning.

    Consider the two most famous psych experiments on the topic of obedience to authority: Milgram and Stanford Prisoner. Here are some points that have been brought up since then:

    1) Both got their subjects via advertisements. People who answer ads like that tend to be more gung-ho than the average person, so the sample was skewed. If a sample of people were randomly chosen, it’s likely that more would have refused to turn the shock knobs or act as brutal guards.

    2) Re Milgram: did no one consider than a big university would have a lot to answer for if it let people shock others, possibly causing harm?

    3) Abu Gharib should not be considered a replication of either of these. You train people to break stuff and kill people, you should not expect them to behave woke.

    It would be like doing chemistry with a mismarked thermometer.

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  42. @dearieme
    How do you punch your own if you haven't memorised it? Do people really consult scraps of paper?

    O.k. Google, Siri, Bixby, Cortana, Alexa, have a meeting and decide which of my phone numbers I am in urgent need of being reminded of. I know usually the number is in Settings but I haven’t figured out how to print from any of my phones and who among you is manning the help desk on which phone.
    (Overheard in the room of a phone user of unverifiable age. Can probably be interpreted as being both youthist and ageist.)

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  43. anonguy says:

    Ya know, if you think about it for a second, Ms. Cuddy is an advocate of manspreading.

    http://metro.co.uk/2016/03/07/manspreading-is-actually-good-for-you-according-to-this-psychologist-5738575/

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  44. AP says:
    @AndrewR
    If average world IQ has gone up and up then I can't imagine how dumb the average person was 150 years ago. Even today, I'm regularly shocked at just how stupid so many people are.

    150 years ago the average person was much more likely to be simply illiterate than he is today. However, the educated, elite person 150 years ago was probably more intelligent than his modern counterpart.

    The Flynn effect simply reflects improvement in numerous factors among the masses (better schooling, more nutrition), that more than makes up for the decline in the elites’ functioning. But peak has been achieved, and mild reversal in the Flynn effect has been observed in Western societies.

    Read More
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  45. AP says:
    @guest
    About the March of History, I remember reading Christopher Lasch*'s apology for Freud in his book Culture of Narcissism. Everybody in Freud-centric fields (not counting the arts) who previously took him seriously, by then (1979) knew it was all wrong. People weren't neurotic in the manner he described. Lasch had it that we shifted to narcissism. Freud wasn't wrong, he was merely out of date.

    Leave aside for the moment that Freud wasn't right in his day, either (you should hear his patients tell him off when he insists, for instance, they witnessed their parents gettin' it on when they were kids, when that was impossible and never happened; ah, but resistance means you're on the right track). I think we always knew people generally were not all that interested in castration. It was titillating to talk about, that's all.

    The thing is, if Freud's "discoveries" were only relevant to the year 1900, or whenever, why did we--and he--pretend he had brought the tablets down from the mountain? Finally unlocking the vault of Human Nature, sell-by date December 31st. Titling a book Civilization and its Discontents instead of The Year 1900, Specifically, and Its Discontents.

    Aside from propaganda purposes, that is. Obviously the cultural avant-garde who used him needed to break through many barriers so that we in the Current Year can get our rocks off without Victorian "complexes" buzzkilling us. Not that Freud himself would be pleased by the fruits of his Temporary Truths. What scientific reason was there? None.

    The propagandists were successful, nevertheless. Here I am, talking about Freud because the word "psychology" is in the title of the thread.

    A lot of humility goes a long way. Next time a soundbite summary of your social psychological study is picked up by the MSM, Sir and Madame Science, please tack on the following message: "We could be wrong, but even if we're right our conclusions might be obsolete half a second from now."

    *Neither a psychologist nor a social psychologist.

    Everybody in Freud-centric fields (not counting the arts) who previously took him seriously, by then (1979) knew it was all wrong.

    Sorry, that’s not accurate – the highest rated psychiatric hospitals such as New York Presbyterian (Columbia University) are staffed full of people who would disagree with that. Not many people use classical Freudian psychoanalysis but object-relations theory, developed relatively recently, is rather popular and useful. A common consensus is simply that Freud is outdated, in the same way that medicine in general in 1900 is outdated compared to modern medicine. Treatment strategies arising from ultimately from Freudian ideas have been shown to be effective in the treatment of personality disorders, fore example.

    Random example of article:

    http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2013-30487-038

    The concepts are also useful in forensic work. That is, not original Freudian ideas but offshoots developed decades later, by his students’ students.

    Read More
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  46. Steve,

    I think that academic finance might give social pyschology a run for its money in the replication crisis.

    A relatively recent paper titled “Replicating Anomolies” reviewed 447 anomolies (what are generally called “factors” which are the academic underpinings of the whole Smart Beta investing strategy so kind of a big flipping deal – we’re talking trillions of investment dollars here). They found that 65% of the factors failed to achieve a t-stat of 2 – the traditional cut-off – and 85% had a t-stat of less than 3, which many argue should be standard.

    Basically, the vast, vast majority of factors either are total bullshit or very suspect.

    And this is finance!

    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2961979

    ———————————————-

    In case anyone is wondering, the anomolies that pass the test are generally classic value and momentum screens. P/B, P/E, CF/E, EBIT/EV, EBIT/EV, etc. make it for value, though perhaps surprisingly P/S, dividend yield and payout yield don’t. For momentum, 12 months (skipping the last month) – maybe the favorite momentum screen – appears to be the most robust, but other classic momentum screens also work well.

    There’s a lot monetary incentive to come up with the new “it” factor in investing so p-hacking, even if unconscious, is a huge problem.

    I’d stick with funds that use factors that pass the 3 t-stat rule and have an actual, on-the-ground history of outperforming. For example, momentum (relative, not absolute or trend) passes the t-stat test but not the on-the-ground test. AQR and others have had momentum funds for awhile and they look identical to growth funds. Granted, it’s been a tough time for long-only momentum, but until they can prove that momentum (with its trading costs and, more importantly, price impact costs) can earn higher returns in the real world, I’d be skeptical.

    Best bet is likely a deep value fund that overlays quality and/or momentum screens on top, i.e. momentum may work not on its own but as a compliment to value. Basically, you want cheap, reasonable not necessarily super quality stocks whose price has recently started to move up.

    DFA is not a bad choice, though their value screen of P/B has issues. AQR’s multi-style funds are also alright. Either way, I’d stick with only their small cap funds since those load up the most on factors. The large cap funds are a waste of time.

    There are smaller ETF/mutual companies that are better, but they’re newer and less well-known which a lot of people don’t like.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Wouldn't anomalies in stock market efficiency be expected to disappear as they are exposed?

    Like when I studied academic finance 35 years ago, it was said you could make money in the stock market in January by either buying or selling stocks (I forget which) because stock market players had an irrational tendency to sell or buy stocks (I forget which) in January. But everybody who was anybody had heard of the January Effect by then, so it was unlikely to continue to be easy money.

    Maybe something similar happens to, say, power posing? As it becomes more popular and widespread, it's devotees start getting made fun of, which deflates their self-confidence, so power-posing disappears into the attic of forgotten sales techniques until it gets revived again at a later date and the cycle begins anew?

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  47. The most important figure in social psychology is Professor Kevin McDonald. The now-retired Professor McDonald has written extensively on evolutionary group behaviour, specifically in regards to Jewish behaviour in European Christian nations such as the United States.

    Professor McDonald thinks that Jews developed a highly hostile group strategy whereby they constantly attack the European Christian host nation wherever they are in the Jewish diaspora. Jews behave in this hostile manner whether they are in Britain, France, Australia, Germany or the United States. This has resulted in mass expulsions of Jews from European Christian kingdoms and nations for more than a thousand years of European Christian history.

    Professor McDonald’s theory is highly important to understanding the WASP / Jew ruling class in the United States. The WASP / Jew ruling class is using mass immigration as a demographic weapon to destroy the United States as a European Christian nation. At long last, the bulk of White Core Americans of European Christian ancestry are awakening to the fact that the WASP / Jew ruling class is actively hostile to the interests of White Core America.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alden
    I read all MacDonald's works. I knew it all before I read MacDonald from years of observing Jewish activists in my young adult years.

    And my parent's library was full of pro communist books and I couldn't help but notice the communists were mostly Jews.

    I'm not really aware of the Wasp Jew alliance though. I know the reformation Protestants loved the OT. But that was 500 years ago.
    , @DFH
    The 'WASP/Jew' alliance is something that E Michael Jones made up as a piece of Catholic propaganda
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  48. res says:
    @passive-aggressivist
    OT: standardized test scores oppressing students unfairly for performing poorly

    http://m.startribune.com/how-test-scores-can-block-black-students-from-the-university-of-minnesota/451717393/?section=opinion

    But for the vast majority in the middle, the results are quite different. For those with a score of 28 (desirable students, according to the U’s admission policy), about three-quarters had GPAs in the range of 2.9 to 3.4. And for those with a score of 22, three-quarters had GPAs in exactly the same range.

    But these latter are disproportionately African-American students, and they are now being turned away at a higher rate than 10 years ago.

    Yet not a mention of what those two groups of students were majoring in. I guess all majors are equally difficult (and grade equally strictly). I mean that is about as plausible as all groups are exactly equal which is obviously true. (/sarc of course)

    There is a fair amount of pushback in the comments. Is this article going around deplorable websites?

    P.S. The comments by “liberal4ever” (a minority immigrant) make for an interesting case study of iSteve themes.

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  49. biz says:
    @AndrewR
    If average world IQ has gone up and up then I can't imagine how dumb the average person was 150 years ago. Even today, I'm regularly shocked at just how stupid so many people are.

    What many people don’t realize about the Flynn effect is that all of the improvement is in abstract reasoning like with the pattern recognition matrices, not the more practical tasks like vocabulary and memory. So probably the average person in the past would not have seemed stupider than today in a conversation or with everyday tasks.

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  50. Altai says:

    A lot of effort was devoted to making IQ tests consistent over space, across different languages and in different countries. But the surprise of just about everybody, IQ tests proved inconsistent over time: raw scores went up fairly consistently, decade after decade and all over the world.

    But they plateaued in Denmark first, just like height gains. I’d imagine if you took a stable population and looked at both they’d travel together. Sounds like nutrition (Or perhaps just more protein) to me.

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  51. Altai says:
    @SimpleSong
    Agree with this list. Interestingly enough, it implies that there is probably an undetected replication crisis in medicine as maybe biology as well, but the studies are too hard to repeat. Unfortunately my sense is this is probably correct, which has some dire implications.

    Another issue likely reducing replicability in medicine is the patient population is a moving target. Some technique or surgery that marginally extended life back in the 1950s when everyone smoked and had black alveoli may not apply in 2010 when no one smokes; everyone has nice pink lungs, but on the other hand is terribly overweight. Particularly for things like dietary risk factors for disease race plays a major role and we all know that is a moving target nowadays. I wonder if anything analogous affects psychology.

    I would also argue that part of the issue is that most psychology papers present a complete hypothesis as well as experimental verification, whereas in many fields a hypothesis alone is enough to publish. Much of the engineering literature can be boiled down to, "Hey we invented this thing, here's what it looks like!" Likewise with physics there's a lot of "hey here's some math that could maybe describe something!" Those aren't really falsifiable. In chemistry the results are usually in the form of a spectra or some other physical measurement so there's not really any possibility of statistical error.

    So maybe we need to revisit null hypothesis statistical testing? I'm not sure what the answer is. Abandon the field entirely?

    Agree with this list. Interestingly enough, it implies that there is probably an undetected replication crisis in medicine as maybe biology as well, but the studies are too hard to repeat.

    A example of this happened in cellular biology in the 2000s. People had been using standard cell stocks of certain tissue classes for many decades. (Eg the famous CHO and Helia Lacks cell lines) This was to ensure better replication by using the same cell lines. Most cell types, however, look identical in suspension. So when sequencing became cheap people began to look at the DNA of the cell lines. Bad times; decades of sub-sampling of sub-sampling had lead to many cases of cross contamination or cell-line mixups. Many papers were completely invalidated by claiming results using say renal cells, when they were infact hepatic cells. (Or even worse, not even proper cell lines but contamination)

    Typically in the hard sciences replication issues don’t cause as much of a problem because you develop techniques on top of previous results and if the previous results were wrong your new techniques won’t work, but in some fields like cell biology it’s complicated enough for these things to slip through on occasion as they are so complex.

    Cell biology and inorganic chemistry are where you’d find the greatest mistakes/falsified results, deriving from the complexity of procedure and results that often might be useful, but only if a way was found to make the process easier so nobody touches it because it’s so difficult.

    Ultimately the development of techniques and technology based on assumptions derived from previous experiments is what keeps the hard sciences working. There is observable progress.

    In economics and sociology/psychology? Show me the progress.

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    Ultimately the development of techniques and technology based on assumptions derived from previous experiments is what keeps the hard sciences working. There is observable progress.

    In economics and sociology/psychology? Show me the progress.
     
    No kidding. When you read ancient Greek ideas about science it is often laughably far from our current understanding of reality. On the other hand they seem to have had an extremely refined and nuanced understanding of human behavior and psychology. I don't see progress in the modern discipline; and I maybe see regression compared to the ancients.

    I've come around to the idea that the key ingredient for progress to happen is the symbiosis between technology and science. We take this for granted nowadays but I think this is also something unique to Western culture, at least since Archimedes (Mr. 'do not disturb my circles!') started inventing war machines.

    Once a scientific idea can be used to make an economically useful technology, that level of scrutiny is far beyond the normal scientific process. You are using an idea to make a thing that you want people to voluntarily buy--that can't be faked or centrally controlled. Likewise, technological developments tend to highlight what would be useful areas of scientific inquiry. Classic example would be the invention of steam engines spurring the development of thermodynamics, which went on to say incredibly profound things about the universe (entropy is the arrow of time, etc.)
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  52. Alden says:
    @Kevin O'Keeffe
    I believe the Flynn Effect can be explained by Dr. Rupert Sheldrake's Morphogenetic Field Theory. Basically, as humans all over the world take I.Q. tests (and engage in other activities of a similar nature), we have, as a species, become better at taking them (due to our shared neurological connection to the morphogenetic field).

    Of course, many people are 1) convinced Sheldrake is a crank, and yet also 2) know nothing of his work.

    DOGS THAT KNOW WHEN THEIR OWNERS ARE COMING HOME, is a great place to start, if anyone's curious.

    How about dogs that sit down, stay down, come here, back off, shut up,back off, and stay out of the kitchen and dining area when one family member makes these orders and refuses to obey another family member?

    Sorry about the run in sentence

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  53. Alden says:
    @Cleanthes
    Flynn effect is caused by increased consumption of sugar. Sugar consumption worldwide has increased at about the same rate as IQ. The brain uses prodigious quantities of calories. Additional factor: decrease in childhood diseases free up glucose needed previously for fevers for brain development.

    Could be true. What you wrote about the brain being mostly fat and the brain needing lots of carbs and glucose is standard Anatomy and physiology.

    Nice thing about the hard sciences, they don’t change ever 5 years to accommodate latest liberal fads.

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  54. Alden says:
    @Buzz Mohawk
    Non-verbal communication was the specialty of one professor at my alma mater whom I knew well and stayed in touch with for a while. He was fairly well published and even worked as a consultant on a comedy film involving dating tips. He claimed that things like facial expressions and certain body positions and yes, postures, were universal across cultures.

    Now I'm wondering if that was all bullshit.

    Puleeeeze, just look at the stoic Hispanic Indian immigrants and the blacks: constantly in aggressive movement , arms and legs flying around, stepping backwards and forwards and occupying as much space as possible.

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  55. Sean says:

    Why Is Social Psychology the Main Front in the Replication Crisis? It isn’t for Gelman.

    http://andrewgelman.com/2014/03/06/much-time-spend-criticizing-research-thats-fraudulent-crappy-just-plain-pointless/ T he trouble is that the first two authors are Kristina Durante, Vladas Griskevicius, and I can’t really believe anything that comes out of that research team, given they earlier published the ridiculous claim that among women in relationships, 40% in the ovulation period supported Romney, compared to 23% in the non-fertile part of their cycle. (For more on this issue, see section 5 of this paper.)

    (Men are darker than women and there is research that even slightly darker faces tend evoke different reaction in some parts of the cycle).

    Anyway, Gelman calls certain research “ridiculous” but that word links to where he says he is not calling it wrong, just weaker than it claims. This is not just about statistical rectitude. Gelman specifically mentions evolutionary psychology as the main front in the replication crisis. As far as I can see Gelman first got involved in debunking papers’ statistical claims when he started critiquing Satoshi Kanazawa (which ended with Kanazawa being forced to apologize for saying black women and white men were relatively unattractive). Gelman’s vigilance remains concentrated on evolutionary psychology.

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  56. Alden says:
    @Charles Pewitt
    The most important figure in social psychology is Professor Kevin McDonald. The now-retired Professor McDonald has written extensively on evolutionary group behaviour, specifically in regards to Jewish behaviour in European Christian nations such as the United States.

    Professor McDonald thinks that Jews developed a highly hostile group strategy whereby they constantly attack the European Christian host nation wherever they are in the Jewish diaspora. Jews behave in this hostile manner whether they are in Britain, France, Australia, Germany or the United States. This has resulted in mass expulsions of Jews from European Christian kingdoms and nations for more than a thousand years of European Christian history.

    Professor McDonald's theory is highly important to understanding the WASP / Jew ruling class in the United States. The WASP / Jew ruling class is using mass immigration as a demographic weapon to destroy the United States as a European Christian nation. At long last, the bulk of White Core Americans of European Christian ancestry are awakening to the fact that the WASP / Jew ruling class is actively hostile to the interests of White Core America.

    I read all MacDonald’s works. I knew it all before I read MacDonald from years of observing Jewish activists in my young adult years.

    And my parent’s library was full of pro communist books and I couldn’t help but notice the communists were mostly Jews.

    I’m not really aware of the Wasp Jew alliance though. I know the reformation Protestants loved the OT. But that was 500 years ago.

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    • Replies: @Charles Pewitt
    George W. Bush and his treasonous collaboration with the Neo-Conservatives is a good example of the WASP / Jew ruling class in action. George W. Bush is a duplicitous and perfidious New England WASP rich boy who dragged the American Empire into the Iraq War debacle. The Neo-Conservative Jews supported the Iraq War because they wanted to use the muscle of the US military to destroy a regional enemy of Israel. Sordid business all around.

    Of course the old money WASPs are still thick on the ground and they have gotten much richer thanks to the monetary extremism of the Federal Reserve Bank. The Jews have been making lots of loot in banking for well over a century, and they certainly have benefited from the actions of the Fed. Just look at the Fed bailing out American International Group so AIG could bail out Goldman Sachs.

    I use the more solid WASP / Jew ruling class term to give some weight and a face to the greedy Globalizers sending the American Empire off a cliff.
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  57. @Alden
    I read all MacDonald's works. I knew it all before I read MacDonald from years of observing Jewish activists in my young adult years.

    And my parent's library was full of pro communist books and I couldn't help but notice the communists were mostly Jews.

    I'm not really aware of the Wasp Jew alliance though. I know the reformation Protestants loved the OT. But that was 500 years ago.

    George W. Bush and his treasonous collaboration with the Neo-Conservatives is a good example of the WASP / Jew ruling class in action. George W. Bush is a duplicitous and perfidious New England WASP rich boy who dragged the American Empire into the Iraq War debacle. The Neo-Conservative Jews supported the Iraq War because they wanted to use the muscle of the US military to destroy a regional enemy of Israel. Sordid business all around.

    Of course the old money WASPs are still thick on the ground and they have gotten much richer thanks to the monetary extremism of the Federal Reserve Bank. The Jews have been making lots of loot in banking for well over a century, and they certainly have benefited from the actions of the Fed. Just look at the Fed bailing out American International Group so AIG could bail out Goldman Sachs.

    I use the more solid WASP / Jew ruling class term to give some weight and a face to the greedy Globalizers sending the American Empire off a cliff.

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  58. OT (or maybe not), racism found in a nursing manual:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-41692593

    “Jews

    Jews may be vocal and demand assistance.
    They believe pain must be shared and validated by others.

    Hispanics

    Hispanics may believe that pain is a form of punishment and that suffering must be endured if they are to enter heaven.
    They vary in their expression of pain. Some are stoic and some are expressive.

    Native Americans

    Native Americans may prefer to receive medications that have been blessed by a tribal shaman.
    They may pick a sacred number when asked to rate pain on a numerical pain scale.”

    Sounds like BS to me, but Steve Bannon might agree on Jews being whiney.

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  59. DFH says:
    @Charles Pewitt
    The most important figure in social psychology is Professor Kevin McDonald. The now-retired Professor McDonald has written extensively on evolutionary group behaviour, specifically in regards to Jewish behaviour in European Christian nations such as the United States.

    Professor McDonald thinks that Jews developed a highly hostile group strategy whereby they constantly attack the European Christian host nation wherever they are in the Jewish diaspora. Jews behave in this hostile manner whether they are in Britain, France, Australia, Germany or the United States. This has resulted in mass expulsions of Jews from European Christian kingdoms and nations for more than a thousand years of European Christian history.

    Professor McDonald's theory is highly important to understanding the WASP / Jew ruling class in the United States. The WASP / Jew ruling class is using mass immigration as a demographic weapon to destroy the United States as a European Christian nation. At long last, the bulk of White Core Americans of European Christian ancestry are awakening to the fact that the WASP / Jew ruling class is actively hostile to the interests of White Core America.

    The ‘WASP/Jew’ alliance is something that E Michael Jones made up as a piece of Catholic propaganda

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  60. notanon says:
    @Kevin O'Keeffe
    I believe the Flynn Effect can be explained by Dr. Rupert Sheldrake's Morphogenetic Field Theory. Basically, as humans all over the world take I.Q. tests (and engage in other activities of a similar nature), we have, as a species, become better at taking them (due to our shared neurological connection to the morphogenetic field).

    Of course, many people are 1) convinced Sheldrake is a crank, and yet also 2) know nothing of his work.

    DOGS THAT KNOW WHEN THEIR OWNERS ARE COMING HOME, is a great place to start, if anyone's curious.

    I believe the Flynn Effect can be explained by…

    I wonder if it can be explained by the large increase in fish consumption (iodine) in some parts of the 3rd world.

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    I wonder if it can be explained by the large increase in fish consumption (iodine) in some parts of the 3rd world.
     
    That's an interesting point. I know very little about the dietary significance of fish in one's diet, but I do recall that people in the West used to regard it as important in the development of intelligence. I haven't actually heard anyone make that point since the early 80s, but it came up a lot before then. I remember growing up with this one public service announcement, where kids would be told the importance of a balanced diet, and at one point they'd chime in with "...and fish, they say, helps you think." P.G. Wodehouse used to write that Jeeves "practically lived on fish", as a way of characterizing him as brainy. But no one ever seems to talk about fish aiding cognition anymore. I suspect that may be because we're no longer allowed to notice that some people are smarter than others.
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  61. notanon says:
    @another fred
    I don't know if you would call it strictly political (although I think it was), but the social sciences were committed to the Blank Slate as if it were a religious dogma. For at least 60 years they have been omitting and obscuring data that contradicted this dogma to a degree that equals (IMO) flat-out lying. Posterity will not treat them well.

    The social sciences have their own definition of lying that carefully circumscribes their own behavior. I use the words of the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, "When the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie."

    Many so-called "science writers" have been their main enablers. Exceptions like Steve are rare.

    The scientists who have kept holding up the truth in the face of it all are heroic.

    I don’t know if you would call it strictly political (although I think it was), but the social sciences were committed to the Blank Slate as if it were a religious dogma.

    i think the initial preachers were political (cultural Marxist) but since then it has become a self-perpetuating secular religion.

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  62. notanon says:
    @al-Gharaniq

    By the way, I’ve long been interested in the theoretical possibility that some failures of famous old experiments to replicate in experiments years later are not due to the original experimental results having been just plain wrong but due to history having moved on and people behaving differently in the present than in the past.
     
    Failure to replicate old experiments because people behave differently now vs. the past doesn't necessarily invalidate the old result. Rather, I think the delta between the new results vs. old results would be indicative of another underlying effect. Granted, this also indicates that a new theory is a needed to explain these results.

    Maybe at some point in history, for example, power posing really works, and in other stages it just make people feel self-consciously phoney, or something.
     
    For instance, your example here suggests (putting on my social scientist hat now) that perhaps what constitutes "power posing" has changed over the years—social poses and postures evolve and change over time, much like fashion. However, as with fashion, there are some "basics" that stay the same: clothing for colder environments need to keep the wearer warm, clothing for warmer environments vice versa, fancy/formal clothing uses bright colors or expensive materials, etc.

    So, thinking about what the differences (and similarities) would inform you of what the "basics" of a power pose/posture are. One way to think of it, at least.

    But the power of historical change is evident in psychometrics in the Flynn Effect. Unlike much else in psychology, IQ testing has proven hugely replicable … except over time, much to the surprise of just about everybody.
     
    Total stab in the dark here, but perhaps we're witnessing selection pressure? High cognitive ability is a desirable trait, so it makes sense (intuitively).

    Total stab in the dark here, but perhaps we’re witnessing selection pressure? High cognitive ability is a desirable trait, so it makes sense (intuitively).

    if the schools being tested were those used by post-colonial elites for their kids i’d say that was quite likely (but i don’t know if that is the case).

    (They would likely also have the cash to afford a better diet .)

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  63. notanon says:
    @AndrewR
    If average world IQ has gone up and up then I can't imagine how dumb the average person was 150 years ago. Even today, I'm regularly shocked at just how stupid so many people are.

    if you have a society where the IQ among the elite goes up while the rest stays the same then the average of the society goes up but unless the elites are morally constrained in some way that just means they can become more successfully parasitic.

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    Coming to a city near you in the very near future.
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  64. notanon says:
    @Rod1963
    That's pretty spot on. I used to see a lot of that at dance clubs. Problem was it could and did lead to fist fights, since it's easy to misinterpret.

    I'd also add it's done a lot in prison and in certain professions where old timers size up the new guy for hazing. The trick with them is to adopt the persona of a psycho so they don't**k with you. It usually helps if you look like iike you can kick ass.

    The same can be applied in lower end public schools where you have to adopt a posture that says "don't screw with me" to keep bullies away.

    yes, the “bother someone else” walk. predators don’t go for the weak ; they go for the weakest.

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  65. notanon says:
    @Buzz Mohawk
    Non-verbal communication was the specialty of one professor at my alma mater whom I knew well and stayed in touch with for a while. He was fairly well published and even worked as a consultant on a comedy film involving dating tips. He claimed that things like facial expressions and certain body positions and yes, postures, were universal across cultures.

    Now I'm wondering if that was all bullshit.

    Now I’m wondering if that was all bullshit.

    you just need to look at different dancing styles around the world

    certain body positions and yes, postures, were universal across cultures.

    Although maybe every culture has the same basic set but the frequency with which they use them varies dramatically.

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  66. why is scientology dumber than buddhism?

    you can’t be dumb enough to think psychology is a science. can you?

    the purpose of social science departments is to allow more people to graduate from college. there’s a demand from dumb people for dumb subjects.

    just another example of the utter inefficiency and waste of muh free market.

    sad!

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  67. syonredux says:

    German women had initially exhibited a preference for male immigrants, but it has faded by now. https://academic.oup.com/esr/article-abstract/doi/10.1093/esr/jcx071/4557564/Refugees-

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    Probably because it's clear that the "migrants " aren't going to take over immediately, as would usually be the case with a large uncontained influx of males.
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  68. bartok says:
    @anon
    I'd suggest that one domain for which power posing is actually quite relevant is mating games-- at bars/clubs, particularly with the young and with sub-100 IQ crowds. Blacks in particular.

    The equivalent for higher IQ types and older crowds would be socio-economic class markers.

    Women trying to imitate or dissect alpha men doesn’t work. Their understanding is so shallow – they can’t conceive that there might be some complexity to male hierarchy, that there might be subtlety as to how alpha men make their way in the world of men and the world of women / mixed workplaces.

    Whether these subtleties are even detectable by women is debatable. Either way, the subtleties are completely drowned out by the enormous sexual effect that alpha men have on women. So women’s ‘analysis’ of alpha men is sexual, i.e. crude.

    Sandberg’s and Cuddy’s advice is like hetero guys giving makeup advice. The subtleties are completely inaccessible to them.

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  69. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    Steve,

    I think that academic finance might give social pyschology a run for its money in the replication crisis.

    A relatively recent paper titled "Replicating Anomolies" reviewed 447 anomolies (what are generally called "factors" which are the academic underpinings of the whole Smart Beta investing strategy so kind of a big flipping deal - we're talking trillions of investment dollars here). They found that 65% of the factors failed to achieve a t-stat of 2 - the traditional cut-off - and 85% had a t-stat of less than 3, which many argue should be standard.

    Basically, the vast, vast majority of factors either are total bullshit or very suspect.

    And this is finance!

    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2961979

    ----------------------------------------------


    In case anyone is wondering, the anomolies that pass the test are generally classic value and momentum screens. P/B, P/E, CF/E, EBIT/EV, EBIT/EV, etc. make it for value, though perhaps surprisingly P/S, dividend yield and payout yield don't. For momentum, 12 months (skipping the last month) - maybe the favorite momentum screen - appears to be the most robust, but other classic momentum screens also work well.

    There's a lot monetary incentive to come up with the new "it" factor in investing so p-hacking, even if unconscious, is a huge problem.

    I'd stick with funds that use factors that pass the 3 t-stat rule and have an actual, on-the-ground history of outperforming. For example, momentum (relative, not absolute or trend) passes the t-stat test but not the on-the-ground test. AQR and others have had momentum funds for awhile and they look identical to growth funds. Granted, it's been a tough time for long-only momentum, but until they can prove that momentum (with its trading costs and, more importantly, price impact costs) can earn higher returns in the real world, I'd be skeptical.

    Best bet is likely a deep value fund that overlays quality and/or momentum screens on top, i.e. momentum may work not on its own but as a compliment to value. Basically, you want cheap, reasonable not necessarily super quality stocks whose price has recently started to move up.

    DFA is not a bad choice, though their value screen of P/B has issues. AQR's multi-style funds are also alright. Either way, I'd stick with only their small cap funds since those load up the most on factors. The large cap funds are a waste of time.

    There are smaller ETF/mutual companies that are better, but they're newer and less well-known which a lot of people don't like.

    Wouldn’t anomalies in stock market efficiency be expected to disappear as they are exposed?

    Like when I studied academic finance 35 years ago, it was said you could make money in the stock market in January by either buying or selling stocks (I forget which) because stock market players had an irrational tendency to sell or buy stocks (I forget which) in January. But everybody who was anybody had heard of the January Effect by then, so it was unlikely to continue to be easy money.

    Maybe something similar happens to, say, power posing? As it becomes more popular and widespread, it’s devotees start getting made fun of, which deflates their self-confidence, so power-posing disappears into the attic of forgotten sales techniques until it gets revived again at a later date and the cycle begins anew?

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    • Replies: @Citizen of a Silly Country
    That's absolutely a concern and likely true some of the time.

    The key difference for strategies/factors/anomolies that persist (versus say arbitrage situations where once they're discovered, they disappear) seems to be that the factor is explained either by higher measurable risk - usually standard deviation but it could be that a strategy gets its ass handed to it at the worst time like the carry trade - or that the strategy has "behavioral finance or psychological" reason.

    Value seems to be a combo of both of those causes, where as momentum and trend are all behavioral.

    However, personally, I don't fully buy into the psychological mistake camp. Instead, I'd put it at least as much in the principle/agent problem. So instead of a psychological flaw - your bud Thaler (who just won the Nobel) is huge here - I'd argue that there's a perfectly logical reason for some of these strategies to work.

    It's all about career risk for advisors and money managers. Yes, the value, momentum and trend factors are well know and understood by financial advisors (well, some financial advisors) and money managers (ETFs, mutual funds, hedge funds, pension fund money managers, etc.). But these guys work for people who don't really understand the strategies.

    Most investors, not just mom and pop investors but boards of directors for pension funds and people who invest in hedge funds, have a time horizon for judging a strategy (and thus the advisor) of between one and three years. Five years is an eternity. (Here's where you'd say that people are making behavorial mistakes.) However, value, momentum and trend strategies consistently go through periods of underperformance lasting three years to a decade, sometimes a tad longer.

    Historically, have these strategies worked? Yes. Will they get you fired sooner or later as an advisor or money manager? Definitely.

    Why put your career at such risk if you're an advisor or money manager? You know for a fact that there will be multiple times in your career that you'll get fired if you employ these strategies even though over the long run there's a very good chance these strategies will produce higher returns for about the same risk level. It's much better to claim to use these strategies but really stick very close to the S&P 500, which is what basically every Smart Beta fund does.

    Here's probably the best write-up that I've seen that explains what I'm talking about.

    https://alphaarchitect.com/2015/08/17/the-sustainable-active-investing-framework-simple-but-not-easy/

    In the end, these factors persist because they are very difficult to stick with over time, i.e. it's about discipline not brains. So, I suppose, that part of the problem is that investors act irrationally (expecting strategies to work over very short time periods, though in their defense, this type of thinking works in nearly every other aspect of life) and advisors and money managers acting quite rationally.

    , @Antisocial Psychologist
    I'm very, very familiar with the field of social psychology and its practitioners, including some of the relevant authors (though I'm not one). The most cherished belief in social psychology is blank slatism - that anybody can be become anything. A nervous-wreck petite blonde chick with a squeaky voice can feel, and become, just as powerful via the magic of power-posing as an alpha male. A toy poodle, so long as it growls and power-poses, can become just as menacing as a pit bull.

    Akin to Sailer's First Law of Female Journalism, social psychologists (particularly female) want to transform the world into a place where they could fake their way into being considered more powerful and important. Hence this worship of changeable cues (facial, vocal and body expressions) and disregard for stable cues, such as masculinity, pitch, and physical prowess. Spoiler alert: the latter usually win in the battle of perceptions.
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  70. @Steve Sailer
    Wouldn't anomalies in stock market efficiency be expected to disappear as they are exposed?

    Like when I studied academic finance 35 years ago, it was said you could make money in the stock market in January by either buying or selling stocks (I forget which) because stock market players had an irrational tendency to sell or buy stocks (I forget which) in January. But everybody who was anybody had heard of the January Effect by then, so it was unlikely to continue to be easy money.

    Maybe something similar happens to, say, power posing? As it becomes more popular and widespread, it's devotees start getting made fun of, which deflates their self-confidence, so power-posing disappears into the attic of forgotten sales techniques until it gets revived again at a later date and the cycle begins anew?

    That’s absolutely a concern and likely true some of the time.

    The key difference for strategies/factors/anomolies that persist (versus say arbitrage situations where once they’re discovered, they disappear) seems to be that the factor is explained either by higher measurable risk – usually standard deviation but it could be that a strategy gets its ass handed to it at the worst time like the carry trade – or that the strategy has “behavioral finance or psychological” reason.

    Value seems to be a combo of both of those causes, where as momentum and trend are all behavioral.

    However, personally, I don’t fully buy into the psychological mistake camp. Instead, I’d put it at least as much in the principle/agent problem. So instead of a psychological flaw – your bud Thaler (who just won the Nobel) is huge here – I’d argue that there’s a perfectly logical reason for some of these strategies to work.

    It’s all about career risk for advisors and money managers. Yes, the value, momentum and trend factors are well know and understood by financial advisors (well, some financial advisors) and money managers (ETFs, mutual funds, hedge funds, pension fund money managers, etc.). But these guys work for people who don’t really understand the strategies.

    Most investors, not just mom and pop investors but boards of directors for pension funds and people who invest in hedge funds, have a time horizon for judging a strategy (and thus the advisor) of between one and three years. Five years is an eternity. (Here’s where you’d say that people are making behavorial mistakes.) However, value, momentum and trend strategies consistently go through periods of underperformance lasting three years to a decade, sometimes a tad longer.

    Historically, have these strategies worked? Yes. Will they get you fired sooner or later as an advisor or money manager? Definitely.

    Why put your career at such risk if you’re an advisor or money manager? You know for a fact that there will be multiple times in your career that you’ll get fired if you employ these strategies even though over the long run there’s a very good chance these strategies will produce higher returns for about the same risk level. It’s much better to claim to use these strategies but really stick very close to the S&P 500, which is what basically every Smart Beta fund does.

    Here’s probably the best write-up that I’ve seen that explains what I’m talking about.

    https://alphaarchitect.com/2015/08/17/the-sustainable-active-investing-framework-simple-but-not-easy/

    In the end, these factors persist because they are very difficult to stick with over time, i.e. it’s about discipline not brains. So, I suppose, that part of the problem is that investors act irrationally (expecting strategies to work over very short time periods, though in their defense, this type of thinking works in nearly every other aspect of life) and advisors and money managers acting quite rationally.

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    • Agree: keuril
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  71. @Jack D
    IQ is supposed to be a measure of your intelligence in relation to the AVERAGE person of your day. You don't measure it like blood pressure - you get at it indirectly by giving people relatively trivial tasks (asking them to duplicate a design using blocks, asking them questions about common knowledge of the day, asking them to repeat a string of digits, etc.). Each test is not that predictive by itself (some people know a lot of trivia but are lousy with spatial tasks) but all of them together are pretty accurate in inferring IQ.

    The thing is, the tasks that are on an IQ test sort of resemble stuff tasks that are increasingly common in modern life or are taught more often nowadays. For example, one of the tests is called "digit span" - someone reads a list of up to 10 or 11 numbers to you and you are supposed to remember them long enough to recite them back. When Terman asked people to do this in 1917, this was a novel and challenging test outside the realm of their ordinary lives and only people who were really sharp could pick it up instantly. To a modern, this is exactly like someone reading you a phone # with area code - you do this every day. So not surprisingly, people have gotten better at these kind of tasks.

    Area codes are hardly random, and neither are exchanges.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    One of the things that working with phone numbers teaches you is the benefit of "chunking". Memorizing 9254634240 is harder than memorizing 925-463-4240. The average person in 1917 would not have understood this but someone who is really smart might do something like this instinctively even though the technique was not yet widely practiced.
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  72. @notanon
    if you have a society where the IQ among the elite goes up while the rest stays the same then the average of the society goes up but unless the elites are morally constrained in some way that just means they can become more successfully parasitic.

    http://thegroundtruthproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Sao-Paulo-Tuca-Viera-1-1920x722.jpg

    Coming to a city near you in the very near future.

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  73. L Woods says:
    @syonredux

    German women had initially exhibited a preference for male immigrants, but it has faded by now. https://academic.oup.com/esr/article-abstract/doi/10.1093/esr/jcx071/4557564/Refugees-
     
    https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/920985271885291520

    Probably because it’s clear that the “migrants ” aren’t going to take over immediately, as would usually be the case with a large uncontained influx of males.

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  74. Meagain says:

    “By the way, I’ve long been interested in the theoretical possibility that some failures of famous old experiments to replicate in experiments years later are not due to the original experimental results having been just plain wrong but due to history having moved on and people behaving differently in the present than in the past.

    Maybe at some point in history, for example, power posing really works, and in other stages it just make people feel self-consciously phoney, or something.

    But I don’t have any good examples from social psychology. ”

    Steve, you might wanna check the work of psychologists Kenneth Gergen if you haven’talready, and his article “Social psychology as history”. Here’s from wiki:

    “A major point in Gergen’s career was his 1973 article “Social Psychology as History”. In the article, he argues that the laws and principles of social interaction are variable over time, and that the scientific knowledge generated by social psychologists actually influences the phenomena it is meant to passively describe. For example, studying obedience to authority may reduce the likelihood of obedience. He argued therefore that social psychology was not fundamentally a cumulative science, but was effectively engaged in the recording and transformation of cultural life. ”

    Abstract of “Social psychology as history”:
    “An analysis of theory and research in social psychology reveals that while
    methods of research are scientific in character, theories of social behavior are
    primarily reflections of contemporary history. The dissemination of psychological
    knowledge modifies the patterns of behavior upon which the knowledge
    is based. It does so because of the prescriptive bias of psychological theorizing,
    the liberating effects of knowledge, and the resistance based on common values
    of freedom and individuality. In addition, theoretical premises are based
    primarily on acquired dispositions. As the culture changes, such dispositions
    are altered, and the premises are often invalidated. Several modifications in
    the scope and methods of social psychology are derived from this analysis.”

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Thanks, most interesting. I knew I couldn't have been the first person to philosophize about the social sciences like this.

    It's odd that I hadn't heard of Dr. Kenneth Gergen's ideas, even though the Gergen family is well-connected (his brother David Gergen is the Presidential adviser and pundit).

    , @Anonymous
    Yes the fatal flaw in social science, which includes economics, is that the test subjects read social science journals.
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  75. @Meagain
    "By the way, I’ve long been interested in the theoretical possibility that some failures of famous old experiments to replicate in experiments years later are not due to the original experimental results having been just plain wrong but due to history having moved on and people behaving differently in the present than in the past.

    Maybe at some point in history, for example, power posing really works, and in other stages it just make people feel self-consciously phoney, or something.

    But I don’t have any good examples from social psychology. "

    Steve, you might wanna check the work of psychologists Kenneth Gergen if you haven'talready, and his article "Social psychology as history". Here's from wiki:

    "A major point in Gergen's career was his 1973 article "Social Psychology as History". In the article, he argues that the laws and principles of social interaction are variable over time, and that the scientific knowledge generated by social psychologists actually influences the phenomena it is meant to passively describe. For example, studying obedience to authority may reduce the likelihood of obedience. He argued therefore that social psychology was not fundamentally a cumulative science, but was effectively engaged in the recording and transformation of cultural life. "

    Abstract of "Social psychology as history":
    "An analysis of theory and research in social psychology reveals that while
    methods of research are scientific in character, theories of social behavior are
    primarily reflections of contemporary history. The dissemination of psychological
    knowledge modifies the patterns of behavior upon which the knowledge
    is based. It does so because of the prescriptive bias of psychological theorizing,
    the liberating effects of knowledge, and the resistance based on common values
    of freedom and individuality. In addition, theoretical premises are based
    primarily on acquired dispositions. As the culture changes, such dispositions
    are altered, and the premises are often invalidated. Several modifications in
    the scope and methods of social psychology are derived from this analysis."

    Thanks, most interesting. I knew I couldn’t have been the first person to philosophize about the social sciences like this.

    It’s odd that I hadn’t heard of Dr. Kenneth Gergen’s ideas, even though the Gergen family is well-connected (his brother David Gergen is the Presidential adviser and pundit).

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  76. Ivy says:
    @another fred
    I don't know if you would call it strictly political (although I think it was), but the social sciences were committed to the Blank Slate as if it were a religious dogma. For at least 60 years they have been omitting and obscuring data that contradicted this dogma to a degree that equals (IMO) flat-out lying. Posterity will not treat them well.

    The social sciences have their own definition of lying that carefully circumscribes their own behavior. I use the words of the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, "When the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie."

    Many so-called "science writers" have been their main enablers. Exceptions like Steve are rare.

    The scientists who have kept holding up the truth in the face of it all are heroic.

    the words of the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, “When the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”

    Other cultures have folk wisdom variations on that theme.
    One is “Lui qui ne dit rien est d’accord”.
    He who says nothing, agrees.

    Who else has remained silent, why, and for which reasons? Tarantino spewed out his reasons for silence on l’affaire Weinstein after a period of thoughtful reflection and crisis management intervention counseling. Why are there not more like Émile Zola (J’Accuse), for example, in this day and age? That alone reflects the current age.

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    • Replies: @guest
    Zola was of course accusing his political enemies. There's plenty of that going around in our current age.
    , @another fred

    Who else has remained silent, why, and for which reasons?
     
    Many people remain silent because they understand that the world is a difficult place (the first of the four Noble Truths) and setting it "right" is beyond human power.

    Consider the case of a man who, having led a life of crime, claims to be wrongly accused of being the trigger man in a gang robbery gone wrong. Their is an innate desire for fairness in humans (and some other animals) but how "unfair" is it if he suffers the penalty. If you expect most people to be troubled over his "innocence" you will be disappointed. Are the "defenders" of such a man interested in fairness or are they using the case to advance their own interests?

    Of course many remain silent because they are like the members in a herd of wildebeest when the lions are gathering for a kill - they don't want to stand out.

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  77. Ivy says:
    @anon
    I'd suggest that one domain for which power posing is actually quite relevant is mating games-- at bars/clubs, particularly with the young and with sub-100 IQ crowds. Blacks in particular.

    The equivalent for higher IQ types and older crowds would be socio-economic class markers.

    mating games– at bars/clubs

    There is a marked time preference, akin to a quickly expiring commodity option, observable in bar scene examples. The exaggerated behaviors demonstrated in an environment of distorted time preference and related factors suggest a binary approach of “close the transaction or die”. That transaction focus, to the exclusion of what used to be called normal human interaction, debases all parties, particularly those unaware of that game. In that frame, they convince themselves that they are behaving rationally, even if bounded by their own limited awareness.

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    • Replies: @L Woods
    Online is where it's at these days, but the principle is even more applicable there (both before and after you meet). If you aren't in the necessary state of mind to put on he requisite seamless clown show, you won't get another chance.
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  78. Cato says:
    @Blue
    I think Steve and Gelman are overcomplicating this. More papers need to be published than there are good ideas and each area deals with it in their own way. Cultural anthropology deals with qualitative and non-replicable data and so falls back on virtue signaling. Economic data sets are large and, for the most part, available to everyone, so people compete on the sophistication of their technique. In psychology you can create your own data, but the data size is small, which allows you to generate “novel” results. Everyone gets what they need to get. Social Psychology is at the center of the replication crisis because they have the only data that can be replicated (which Gelman did say), but it’s not like it’s considered a virtue.

    Gelman: “To put it another way, p-hacking is not the cause of the problem; p-hacking is a symptom. Researchers don’t want to p-hack; they’d prefer to confirm their original hypotheses. They p-hack only because they have to. “ Duh.

    I mostly agree with this. But virtue signaling in cultural anthropology owes more to the experience of ethnographers feeling guilty about not helping their field-study friends than it does to the fact that they use qualitative data. I mean, you spend a year in Guatemala, or Chad, with peasants, making friends, talking to everyone you meet, and then come back to the states and try to write a few papers, were you treat your friends as impersonal objects observed by your detached mind. Only a psychopath would be comfortable with this. Most ethnographers end up becoming activists supporting the interests of the people they study.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    This is also the biographer's dilemma. To understand his subject, the biographer must gain their trust, which often means becoming their friend, or if the subject is deceased, a friend of their friends and relatives. It then becomes difficult to write critical biography of them.
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  79. L Woods says:
    @Ivy

    mating games– at bars/clubs
     
    There is a marked time preference, akin to a quickly expiring commodity option, observable in bar scene examples. The exaggerated behaviors demonstrated in an environment of distorted time preference and related factors suggest a binary approach of "close the transaction or die". That transaction focus, to the exclusion of what used to be called normal human interaction, debases all parties, particularly those unaware of that game. In that frame, they convince themselves that they are behaving rationally, even if bounded by their own limited awareness.

    Online is where it’s at these days, but the principle is even more applicable there (both before and after you meet). If you aren’t in the necessary state of mind to put on he requisite seamless clown show, you won’t get another chance.

    Read More
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  80. guest says:
    @Ivy

    the words of the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, “When the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”
     
    Other cultures have folk wisdom variations on that theme.
    One is "Lui qui ne dit rien est d'accord".
    He who says nothing, agrees.

    Who else has remained silent, why, and for which reasons? Tarantino spewed out his reasons for silence on l'affaire Weinstein after a period of thoughtful reflection and crisis management intervention counseling. Why are there not more like Émile Zola (J'Accuse), for example, in this day and age? That alone reflects the current age.

    Zola was of course accusing his political enemies. There’s plenty of that going around in our current age.

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  81. I’ve witnessed two professors in UC Berkeley’s psychology department discussing p-value hacking, as in plotting p-value hacking in public places; I often work in a cafe close to their building. This both confirms my suspicions about the field, and the fact that some significant fraction of them are as dumb as a box full of lint to be discussing such matters in a public place frequented by people who work in quantitative disciplines. To be fair, I’ve also witnessed two professors from UCB psychology discussing sophisticated alternatives to the use of p-values, so there are also honest people in the field.
    My evidence is anecdotal, but it pretty much tells the whole story. Some of them are frauds who should be tarred and feathered. Some of them are honest people who care about their science.

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  82. @another fred
    I don't know if you would call it strictly political (although I think it was), but the social sciences were committed to the Blank Slate as if it were a religious dogma. For at least 60 years they have been omitting and obscuring data that contradicted this dogma to a degree that equals (IMO) flat-out lying. Posterity will not treat them well.

    The social sciences have their own definition of lying that carefully circumscribes their own behavior. I use the words of the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, "When the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie."

    Many so-called "science writers" have been their main enablers. Exceptions like Steve are rare.

    The scientists who have kept holding up the truth in the face of it all are heroic.

    Posterity won’t treat the Blank Slaters well?

    You’re an optimist! I see zero trend towards the idea going away.

    I admit this is based on reading news reports and commentary, not professional psychology papers.

    The trouble with dropping the Blank Slate is that all sorts phenomena must then be 1) hereditary and/ or 2) cultural.

    The current left finds those unpalatable. Every thing is now the fault of white cishet males. That idea seems thoroughly entrenched.

    I see no prospect of change short of huge upheaval like the French or Russians Revolutions, or perhaps nations fragmenting along ethnic/religious lines.

    I hope I’m wrong!

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    • Replies: @another fred

    I see no prospect of change short of huge upheaval like the French or Russians Revolutions, or perhaps nations fragmenting along ethnic/religious lines.
     
    What I see coming will be a far greater upheaval than the French or Russian Revolutions. It will be more like the crisis of Europe in the 14th Century with the Black Death and the Hundred Years War (and other wars), except world-wide this time. The population of Europe was reduced by something in the neighborhood of 50% that time.

    It will be a while yet before it happens. First the credit bubble must pop, then the political reactions to that hardship, and then the wars and plagues take their toll, but mostly plagues.
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  83. @SimpleSong
    Agree with this list. Interestingly enough, it implies that there is probably an undetected replication crisis in medicine as maybe biology as well, but the studies are too hard to repeat. Unfortunately my sense is this is probably correct, which has some dire implications.

    Another issue likely reducing replicability in medicine is the patient population is a moving target. Some technique or surgery that marginally extended life back in the 1950s when everyone smoked and had black alveoli may not apply in 2010 when no one smokes; everyone has nice pink lungs, but on the other hand is terribly overweight. Particularly for things like dietary risk factors for disease race plays a major role and we all know that is a moving target nowadays. I wonder if anything analogous affects psychology.

    I would also argue that part of the issue is that most psychology papers present a complete hypothesis as well as experimental verification, whereas in many fields a hypothesis alone is enough to publish. Much of the engineering literature can be boiled down to, "Hey we invented this thing, here's what it looks like!" Likewise with physics there's a lot of "hey here's some math that could maybe describe something!" Those aren't really falsifiable. In chemistry the results are usually in the form of a spectra or some other physical measurement so there's not really any possibility of statistical error.

    So maybe we need to revisit null hypothesis statistical testing? I'm not sure what the answer is. Abandon the field entirely?

    Think of all the contradictory pronouncements about diet.

    Animal fats bad — use margarine! Whoops, trans fats in margarine bad! Maybe butter after all.

    The list goes on and on and as a non professional I find it very hard to determine if, for example, artificial sweeteners are bad or good. You can find totally contradictory articles in the MSM, who are usually more united.

    But I admit it’s hard to test diet.

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    • Replies: @SimpleSong
    Yeah the nutritional stuff is probably as bad, or worse, than the psychology stuff, and has been for a long time.

    Maybe one of the problem with these fields is that the only things they can consistently, reproducibly prove are trivial and widely known and anything novel or unique turns out to be hokum when tested carefully.

    For example if nutritionists ran a study, "should you eat your vegetables?" they would probably get positive, reproducible results. Or if the psychologists investigated whether some people are really afraid of spiders, yes, the data would be consistent. But all this is obvious to anyone so it's hard to build an academic discipline around it.

    In contrast something like quantum mechanics is deeply, mind-bendingly weird, and yet can be experimentally verified. I think a lot of these guys, on some level, are looking for their quantum mechanics--something non-obvious and even counterintuitive that nonetheless checks out experimentally. There may be no there there, which is why I say maybe its time to abandon the field.
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  84. @guest
    About the March of History, I remember reading Christopher Lasch*'s apology for Freud in his book Culture of Narcissism. Everybody in Freud-centric fields (not counting the arts) who previously took him seriously, by then (1979) knew it was all wrong. People weren't neurotic in the manner he described. Lasch had it that we shifted to narcissism. Freud wasn't wrong, he was merely out of date.

    Leave aside for the moment that Freud wasn't right in his day, either (you should hear his patients tell him off when he insists, for instance, they witnessed their parents gettin' it on when they were kids, when that was impossible and never happened; ah, but resistance means you're on the right track). I think we always knew people generally were not all that interested in castration. It was titillating to talk about, that's all.

    The thing is, if Freud's "discoveries" were only relevant to the year 1900, or whenever, why did we--and he--pretend he had brought the tablets down from the mountain? Finally unlocking the vault of Human Nature, sell-by date December 31st. Titling a book Civilization and its Discontents instead of The Year 1900, Specifically, and Its Discontents.

    Aside from propaganda purposes, that is. Obviously the cultural avant-garde who used him needed to break through many barriers so that we in the Current Year can get our rocks off without Victorian "complexes" buzzkilling us. Not that Freud himself would be pleased by the fruits of his Temporary Truths. What scientific reason was there? None.

    The propagandists were successful, nevertheless. Here I am, talking about Freud because the word "psychology" is in the title of the thread.

    A lot of humility goes a long way. Next time a soundbite summary of your social psychological study is picked up by the MSM, Sir and Madame Science, please tack on the following message: "We could be wrong, but even if we're right our conclusions might be obsolete half a second from now."

    *Neither a psychologist nor a social psychologist.

    Were people ripe for new explanations of human behaviour because Freud lived around the time that religion was increasingly rejected completely?

    It could explain the timing.

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  85. El Dato says:
    @anony-mouse
    Um,

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/16/putin-gunslinger-gait-kgb-training-report

    That’s because Putin’s right arm actually turns into a radioactive chainsaw if he is menaced or taunted.

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  86. @Steve Sailer
    Wouldn't anomalies in stock market efficiency be expected to disappear as they are exposed?

    Like when I studied academic finance 35 years ago, it was said you could make money in the stock market in January by either buying or selling stocks (I forget which) because stock market players had an irrational tendency to sell or buy stocks (I forget which) in January. But everybody who was anybody had heard of the January Effect by then, so it was unlikely to continue to be easy money.

    Maybe something similar happens to, say, power posing? As it becomes more popular and widespread, it's devotees start getting made fun of, which deflates their self-confidence, so power-posing disappears into the attic of forgotten sales techniques until it gets revived again at a later date and the cycle begins anew?

    I’m very, very familiar with the field of social psychology and its practitioners, including some of the relevant authors (though I’m not one). The most cherished belief in social psychology is blank slatism – that anybody can be become anything. A nervous-wreck petite blonde chick with a squeaky voice can feel, and become, just as powerful via the magic of power-posing as an alpha male. A toy poodle, so long as it growls and power-poses, can become just as menacing as a pit bull.

    Akin to Sailer’s First Law of Female Journalism, social psychologists (particularly female) want to transform the world into a place where they could fake their way into being considered more powerful and important. Hence this worship of changeable cues (facial, vocal and body expressions) and disregard for stable cues, such as masculinity, pitch, and physical prowess. Spoiler alert: the latter usually win in the battle of perceptions.

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    • Replies: @another fred
    What you say is true, but I think there is a substantial element of seeking revenge for the slights and injuries of childhood. Some of those wounds are deep.
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  87. @Ivy

    the words of the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, “When the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”
     
    Other cultures have folk wisdom variations on that theme.
    One is "Lui qui ne dit rien est d'accord".
    He who says nothing, agrees.

    Who else has remained silent, why, and for which reasons? Tarantino spewed out his reasons for silence on l'affaire Weinstein after a period of thoughtful reflection and crisis management intervention counseling. Why are there not more like Émile Zola (J'Accuse), for example, in this day and age? That alone reflects the current age.

    Who else has remained silent, why, and for which reasons?

    Many people remain silent because they understand that the world is a difficult place (the first of the four Noble Truths) and setting it “right” is beyond human power.

    Consider the case of a man who, having led a life of crime, claims to be wrongly accused of being the trigger man in a gang robbery gone wrong. Their is an innate desire for fairness in humans (and some other animals) but how “unfair” is it if he suffers the penalty. If you expect most people to be troubled over his “innocence” you will be disappointed. Are the “defenders” of such a man interested in fairness or are they using the case to advance their own interests?

    Of course many remain silent because they are like the members in a herd of wildebeest when the lions are gathering for a kill – they don’t want to stand out.

    Read More
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  88. @Frau Katze
    Posterity won't treat the Blank Slaters well?

    You're an optimist! I see zero trend towards the idea going away.

    I admit this is based on reading news reports and commentary, not professional psychology papers.

    The trouble with dropping the Blank Slate is that all sorts phenomena must then be 1) hereditary and/ or 2) cultural.

    The current left finds those unpalatable. Every thing is now the fault of white cishet males. That idea seems thoroughly entrenched.

    I see no prospect of change short of huge upheaval like the French or Russians Revolutions, or perhaps nations fragmenting along ethnic/religious lines.

    I hope I'm wrong!

    I see no prospect of change short of huge upheaval like the French or Russians Revolutions, or perhaps nations fragmenting along ethnic/religious lines.

    What I see coming will be a far greater upheaval than the French or Russian Revolutions. It will be more like the crisis of Europe in the 14th Century with the Black Death and the Hundred Years War (and other wars), except world-wide this time. The population of Europe was reduced by something in the neighborhood of 50% that time.

    It will be a while yet before it happens. First the credit bubble must pop, then the political reactions to that hardship, and then the wars and plagues take their toll, but mostly plagues.

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  89. @Antisocial Psychologist
    I'm very, very familiar with the field of social psychology and its practitioners, including some of the relevant authors (though I'm not one). The most cherished belief in social psychology is blank slatism - that anybody can be become anything. A nervous-wreck petite blonde chick with a squeaky voice can feel, and become, just as powerful via the magic of power-posing as an alpha male. A toy poodle, so long as it growls and power-poses, can become just as menacing as a pit bull.

    Akin to Sailer's First Law of Female Journalism, social psychologists (particularly female) want to transform the world into a place where they could fake their way into being considered more powerful and important. Hence this worship of changeable cues (facial, vocal and body expressions) and disregard for stable cues, such as masculinity, pitch, and physical prowess. Spoiler alert: the latter usually win in the battle of perceptions.

    What you say is true, but I think there is a substantial element of seeking revenge for the slights and injuries of childhood. Some of those wounds are deep.

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  90. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Meagain
    "By the way, I’ve long been interested in the theoretical possibility that some failures of famous old experiments to replicate in experiments years later are not due to the original experimental results having been just plain wrong but due to history having moved on and people behaving differently in the present than in the past.

    Maybe at some point in history, for example, power posing really works, and in other stages it just make people feel self-consciously phoney, or something.

    But I don’t have any good examples from social psychology. "

    Steve, you might wanna check the work of psychologists Kenneth Gergen if you haven'talready, and his article "Social psychology as history". Here's from wiki:

    "A major point in Gergen's career was his 1973 article "Social Psychology as History". In the article, he argues that the laws and principles of social interaction are variable over time, and that the scientific knowledge generated by social psychologists actually influences the phenomena it is meant to passively describe. For example, studying obedience to authority may reduce the likelihood of obedience. He argued therefore that social psychology was not fundamentally a cumulative science, but was effectively engaged in the recording and transformation of cultural life. "

    Abstract of "Social psychology as history":
    "An analysis of theory and research in social psychology reveals that while
    methods of research are scientific in character, theories of social behavior are
    primarily reflections of contemporary history. The dissemination of psychological
    knowledge modifies the patterns of behavior upon which the knowledge
    is based. It does so because of the prescriptive bias of psychological theorizing,
    the liberating effects of knowledge, and the resistance based on common values
    of freedom and individuality. In addition, theoretical premises are based
    primarily on acquired dispositions. As the culture changes, such dispositions
    are altered, and the premises are often invalidated. Several modifications in
    the scope and methods of social psychology are derived from this analysis."

    Yes the fatal flaw in social science, which includes economics, is that the test subjects read social science journals.

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  91. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Cato
    I mostly agree with this. But virtue signaling in cultural anthropology owes more to the experience of ethnographers feeling guilty about not helping their field-study friends than it does to the fact that they use qualitative data. I mean, you spend a year in Guatemala, or Chad, with peasants, making friends, talking to everyone you meet, and then come back to the states and try to write a few papers, were you treat your friends as impersonal objects observed by your detached mind. Only a psychopath would be comfortable with this. Most ethnographers end up becoming activists supporting the interests of the people they study.

    This is also the biographer’s dilemma. To understand his subject, the biographer must gain their trust, which often means becoming their friend, or if the subject is deceased, a friend of their friends and relatives. It then becomes difficult to write critical biography of them.

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  92. Jack D says:
    @keuril
    As a general idea, that makes sense, but with respect to memorizing digits (the average was considered to be "seven plus-minus one") in particular, one might expect a decline as nobody needs to memorize phone numbers anymore.

    You have to memorize it long enough to type it into your contacts. Digit span on the IQ test is also just such a test of short term memory – you don’t have to memorize it for more than a few seconds.

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  93. Jack D says:
    @ScarletNumber
    Area codes are hardly random, and neither are exchanges.

    One of the things that working with phone numbers teaches you is the benefit of “chunking”. Memorizing 9254634240 is harder than memorizing 925-463-4240. The average person in 1917 would not have understood this but someone who is really smart might do something like this instinctively even though the technique was not yet widely practiced.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    That goes also for spelling of complex words. Ahmadi-nejad is easier to remember than Ahmadinejad.
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  94. Anon87 says:

    Power pose = flex your sternocleidomastoid 

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    • Replies: @Ivy
    If you flex those too much, Tom Wolfe will write about it.
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  95. This aspect of Gelman’s response — although to the point — is inadequate:

    “In psychology, experiments are easy to replicate (unlike econ or poli sci, where you can’t just run a bunch more recessions or elections) and cheap to replicate (unlike medicine which involves doctors and patients). So replication is a live option, indeed it gets people suggesting that preregistered replication be a requirement in some cases.”

    The point being that causation is the central, instrumental, motivation for conducting experiments with control groups.

    However, we needn’t give the social sciences a pass simply because the Federal government has thrown the 10th Amendment, and its consequent Laboratory of the States, under the bus.

    There is another way to rank-order unified theories of social causation:

    Lossless compression of big data.

    This has been known to be the case since the dawn of the computer industry, yet the social sciences have stuck with statistical methods of causal inference developed in an era of limited data and computation capacity.

    See: https://herox.com/SocialCausalityPrizeI

    By the way, I’ll match any pledge, to the purse for the Social Causality Prize I, to get it to the $1000 threshold for activation at aforelinked heroX, X-Prize Foundation site.

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  96. anonguy says:
    @Jack D
    IQ is supposed to be a measure of your intelligence in relation to the AVERAGE person of your day. You don't measure it like blood pressure - you get at it indirectly by giving people relatively trivial tasks (asking them to duplicate a design using blocks, asking them questions about common knowledge of the day, asking them to repeat a string of digits, etc.). Each test is not that predictive by itself (some people know a lot of trivia but are lousy with spatial tasks) but all of them together are pretty accurate in inferring IQ.

    The thing is, the tasks that are on an IQ test sort of resemble stuff tasks that are increasingly common in modern life or are taught more often nowadays. For example, one of the tests is called "digit span" - someone reads a list of up to 10 or 11 numbers to you and you are supposed to remember them long enough to recite them back. When Terman asked people to do this in 1917, this was a novel and challenging test outside the realm of their ordinary lives and only people who were really sharp could pick it up instantly. To a modern, this is exactly like someone reading you a phone # with area code - you do this every day. So not surprisingly, people have gotten better at these kind of tasks.

    The thing is, the tasks that are on an IQ test sort of resemble stuff tasks that are increasingly common in modern life or are taught more often nowadays. For example, one of the tests is called “digit span” – someone reads a list of up to 10 or 11 numbers to you and you are supposed to remember them long enough to recite them back. When Terman asked people to do this in 1917, this was a novel and challenging test outside the realm of their ordinary lives and only people who were really sharp could pick it up instantly. To a modern, this is exactly like someone reading you a phone # with area code – you do this every day. So not surprisingly, people have gotten better at these kind of tasks.

    On the other hand, people were much handier then which could help on the visual/spatial stuff, so it could all be a wash.

    I find millenials comparatively inept at common chores, tasks requiring manual skills, my weekly favorite is watching them puzzle over packing my groceries into bags, it is always like it is the first time they’ve ever done it. They potz around, poke at things, scratch their heads a lot more than previous cohorts, and it usually boils down to deficient visual/spatial reasoning.

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  97. anonguy says:
    @AndrewR
    Lol i think virtually everyone over 30 and most people over 25 can remember having to memorize a lot of phone numbers.

    Lol i think virtually everyone over 30 and most people over 25 can remember having to memorize a lot of phone numbers.

    Well, we did have address books and rolodexes, but I do recall always having lots of phone numbers memorized. I also remember some moment in time where I realized I wasn’t memorizing and remembering phone numbers any more, it just sort of crept up on me.

    Even that was a long, long time ago.

    Funny how primitive daily life from just 20 years now seems.

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  98. @notanon

    I believe the Flynn Effect can be explained by...
     
    I wonder if it can be explained by the large increase in fish consumption (iodine) in some parts of the 3rd world.

    I wonder if it can be explained by the large increase in fish consumption (iodine) in some parts of the 3rd world.

    That’s an interesting point. I know very little about the dietary significance of fish in one’s diet, but I do recall that people in the West used to regard it as important in the development of intelligence. I haven’t actually heard anyone make that point since the early 80s, but it came up a lot before then. I remember growing up with this one public service announcement, where kids would be told the importance of a balanced diet, and at one point they’d chime in with “…and fish, they say, helps you think.” P.G. Wodehouse used to write that Jeeves “practically lived on fish”, as a way of characterizing him as brainy. But no one ever seems to talk about fish aiding cognition anymore. I suspect that may be because we’re no longer allowed to notice that some people are smarter than others.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    People who lived in coastal areas always got enough iodine from their diet even if they didn't eat fish. It's in the soil.

    However, in certain inland areas (parts of Switzerland, American Midwest) cretinism (mental deficiency due to lack of iodine in childhood diet) was common.
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  99. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Jack D
    One of the things that working with phone numbers teaches you is the benefit of "chunking". Memorizing 9254634240 is harder than memorizing 925-463-4240. The average person in 1917 would not have understood this but someone who is really smart might do something like this instinctively even though the technique was not yet widely practiced.

    That goes also for spelling of complex words. Ahmadi-nejad is easier to remember than Ahmadinejad.

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  100. Jack D says:
    @Kevin O'Keeffe

    I wonder if it can be explained by the large increase in fish consumption (iodine) in some parts of the 3rd world.
     
    That's an interesting point. I know very little about the dietary significance of fish in one's diet, but I do recall that people in the West used to regard it as important in the development of intelligence. I haven't actually heard anyone make that point since the early 80s, but it came up a lot before then. I remember growing up with this one public service announcement, where kids would be told the importance of a balanced diet, and at one point they'd chime in with "...and fish, they say, helps you think." P.G. Wodehouse used to write that Jeeves "practically lived on fish", as a way of characterizing him as brainy. But no one ever seems to talk about fish aiding cognition anymore. I suspect that may be because we're no longer allowed to notice that some people are smarter than others.

    People who lived in coastal areas always got enough iodine from their diet even if they didn’t eat fish. It’s in the soil.

    However, in certain inland areas (parts of Switzerland, American Midwest) cretinism (mental deficiency due to lack of iodine in childhood diet) was common.

    Read More
    • Replies: @keuril
    Just hand the phone to the other person and have them type the number in. Or just use FB Messenger or one of the other countless messaging services.
    Carrying a bunch of numbers in your head used to be a quite handy ability, but no more. This is just one example of a mental ability we no longer need thanks to the digitization of everything. Another one is maps. Nobody knows how to use a paper map anymore, to work out the correspondence between 2D coordinates and the 3D world. Just follow the voice on your phone.

    There’s no guarantee that the new mental habits encouraged by our digital age will lead to a neverending population-wide increase in IQ. It might be that this increase has run its course and now things will move in the opposite direction.
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  101. @Frau Katze
    Think of all the contradictory pronouncements about diet.

    Animal fats bad — use margarine! Whoops, trans fats in margarine bad! Maybe butter after all.

    The list goes on and on and as a non professional I find it very hard to determine if, for example, artificial sweeteners are bad or good. You can find totally contradictory articles in the MSM, who are usually more united.

    But I admit it's hard to test diet.

    Yeah the nutritional stuff is probably as bad, or worse, than the psychology stuff, and has been for a long time.

    Maybe one of the problem with these fields is that the only things they can consistently, reproducibly prove are trivial and widely known and anything novel or unique turns out to be hokum when tested carefully.

    For example if nutritionists ran a study, “should you eat your vegetables?” they would probably get positive, reproducible results. Or if the psychologists investigated whether some people are really afraid of spiders, yes, the data would be consistent. But all this is obvious to anyone so it’s hard to build an academic discipline around it.

    In contrast something like quantum mechanics is deeply, mind-bendingly weird, and yet can be experimentally verified. I think a lot of these guys, on some level, are looking for their quantum mechanics–something non-obvious and even counterintuitive that nonetheless checks out experimentally. There may be no there there, which is why I say maybe its time to abandon the field.

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    • Agree: Frau Katze
    • Replies: @Frau Katze
    Physics has a reputation for being difficult because it's restricted to things that can modelled algebraicly.

    Or, things for which a computer can solve the equations even if they can't be solved with direct algebra.

    For example, the famous bell curve cannot be integrated. You need to program a computer to determine the area under the curve. In the old days there were books of tables.

    And slide rules were invaluable! Anyone admitting they once used a slide rule is dating him/herself!

    So physics has the dreadful reputation,.

    But in fact, it's biology that's way way more complex. You don't need need much math because it's useless for biology (well, statistics is useful),

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  102. @Altai

    Agree with this list. Interestingly enough, it implies that there is probably an undetected replication crisis in medicine as maybe biology as well, but the studies are too hard to repeat.
     
    A example of this happened in cellular biology in the 2000s. People had been using standard cell stocks of certain tissue classes for many decades. (Eg the famous CHO and Helia Lacks cell lines) This was to ensure better replication by using the same cell lines. Most cell types, however, look identical in suspension. So when sequencing became cheap people began to look at the DNA of the cell lines. Bad times; decades of sub-sampling of sub-sampling had lead to many cases of cross contamination or cell-line mixups. Many papers were completely invalidated by claiming results using say renal cells, when they were infact hepatic cells. (Or even worse, not even proper cell lines but contamination)

    Typically in the hard sciences replication issues don't cause as much of a problem because you develop techniques on top of previous results and if the previous results were wrong your new techniques won't work, but in some fields like cell biology it's complicated enough for these things to slip through on occasion as they are so complex.

    Cell biology and inorganic chemistry are where you'd find the greatest mistakes/falsified results, deriving from the complexity of procedure and results that often might be useful, but only if a way was found to make the process easier so nobody touches it because it's so difficult.

    Ultimately the development of techniques and technology based on assumptions derived from previous experiments is what keeps the hard sciences working. There is observable progress.

    In economics and sociology/psychology? Show me the progress.

    Ultimately the development of techniques and technology based on assumptions derived from previous experiments is what keeps the hard sciences working. There is observable progress.

    In economics and sociology/psychology? Show me the progress.

    No kidding. When you read ancient Greek ideas about science it is often laughably far from our current understanding of reality. On the other hand they seem to have had an extremely refined and nuanced understanding of human behavior and psychology. I don’t see progress in the modern discipline; and I maybe see regression compared to the ancients.

    I’ve come around to the idea that the key ingredient for progress to happen is the symbiosis between technology and science. We take this for granted nowadays but I think this is also something unique to Western culture, at least since Archimedes (Mr. ‘do not disturb my circles!’) started inventing war machines.

    Once a scientific idea can be used to make an economically useful technology, that level of scrutiny is far beyond the normal scientific process. You are using an idea to make a thing that you want people to voluntarily buy–that can’t be faked or centrally controlled. Likewise, technological developments tend to highlight what would be useful areas of scientific inquiry. Classic example would be the invention of steam engines spurring the development of thermodynamics, which went on to say incredibly profound things about the universe (entropy is the arrow of time, etc.)

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  103. Ivy says:
    @Anon87
    Power pose = flex your sternocleidomastoid 

    If you flex those too much, Tom Wolfe will write about it.

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  104. @SimpleSong
    Yeah the nutritional stuff is probably as bad, or worse, than the psychology stuff, and has been for a long time.

    Maybe one of the problem with these fields is that the only things they can consistently, reproducibly prove are trivial and widely known and anything novel or unique turns out to be hokum when tested carefully.

    For example if nutritionists ran a study, "should you eat your vegetables?" they would probably get positive, reproducible results. Or if the psychologists investigated whether some people are really afraid of spiders, yes, the data would be consistent. But all this is obvious to anyone so it's hard to build an academic discipline around it.

    In contrast something like quantum mechanics is deeply, mind-bendingly weird, and yet can be experimentally verified. I think a lot of these guys, on some level, are looking for their quantum mechanics--something non-obvious and even counterintuitive that nonetheless checks out experimentally. There may be no there there, which is why I say maybe its time to abandon the field.

    Physics has a reputation for being difficult because it’s restricted to things that can modelled algebraicly.

    Or, things for which a computer can solve the equations even if they can’t be solved with direct algebra.

    For example, the famous bell curve cannot be integrated. You need to program a computer to determine the area under the curve. In the old days there were books of tables.

    And slide rules were invaluable! Anyone admitting they once used a slide rule is dating him/herself!

    So physics has the dreadful reputation,.

    But in fact, it’s biology that’s way way more complex. You don’t need need much math because it’s useless for biology (well, statistics is useful),

    Read More
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  105. keuril says:
    @Jack D
    People who lived in coastal areas always got enough iodine from their diet even if they didn't eat fish. It's in the soil.

    However, in certain inland areas (parts of Switzerland, American Midwest) cretinism (mental deficiency due to lack of iodine in childhood diet) was common.

    Just hand the phone to the other person and have them type the number in. Or just use FB Messenger or one of the other countless messaging services.
    Carrying a bunch of numbers in your head used to be a quite handy ability, but no more. This is just one example of a mental ability we no longer need thanks to the digitization of everything. Another one is maps. Nobody knows how to use a paper map anymore, to work out the correspondence between 2D coordinates and the 3D world. Just follow the voice on your phone.

    There’s no guarantee that the new mental habits encouraged by our digital age will lead to a neverending population-wide increase in IQ. It might be that this increase has run its course and now things will move in the opposite direction.

    Read More
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