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A large international group set up to test the reliability of psychology experiments has successfully reproduced the results of 10 out of 13 past experiments. The consortium also found that two effects could not be reproduced.

To tackle this 'replicability crisis', 36 research groups formed the Many Labs Replication Project to repeat 13 psychological studies. The consortium combined tests from earlier experiments into a single questionnaire — meant to take 15 minutes to complete — and delivered it to 6,344 volunteers from 12 countries.

Project co-leader Brian Nosek, a psychologist at the Center of Open Science in Charlottesville, Virginia, finds the outcomes encouraging. “It demonstrates that there are important effects in our field that are replicable, and consistently so,” he says. “But that doesn’t mean that 10 out of every 13 effects will replicate.”

Kahneman agrees. The study “appears to be extremely well done and entirely convincing”, he says, “although it is surely too early to draw extreme conclusions about entire fields of research from this single effort”. Kahneman published an open letter in 2012 calling for a “daisy chain” of replications of studies on priming effects, in which subtle, subconscious cues can supposedly affect later behaviour.

Of the 13 effects under scrutiny in the latest investigation, one was only weakly supported, and two were not replicated at all. Both irreproducible effects involved social priming. In one of these, people had increased their endorsement of a current social system after being exposed to money3. In the other, Americans had espoused more-conservative values after seeing a US flag4.

Social psychologist Travis Carter of Colby College in Waterville, Maine, who led the original flag-priming study, says that he is disappointed but trusts Nosek’s team wholeheartedly, although he wants to review their data before commenting further. Behavioural scientist Eugene Caruso at the University of Chicago in Illinois, who led the original currency-priming study, says, “We should use this lack of replication to update our beliefs about the reliability and generalizability of this effect”, given the “vastly larger and more diverse sample” of the Many Labs project. Both researchers praised the initiative.

The plan for the Many Labs project was vetted by the original authors where possible, was documented openly, and was registered with the journal Social Psychology and its methods were peer-reviewed before any experiments were done. The results have now been submitted to the journal and are available online“That sort of openness should be the standard for all research,” says Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, who is coordinating a similar collaborative attempt to verify a classic psychological effect not covered in the present study. “I hope this will become a standard approach in psychology.”

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Behavioural scientist Eugene Caruso at the University of Chicago in Illinois, who led the original currency-priming study, says, “We should use this lack of replication to update our beliefs about the reliability and generalizability of this effect”, given the “vastly larger and more diverse sample” of the Many Labs project. Both researchers praised the initiative.

That makes me fell warm fuzzies :)

He has pronounced the Sacred Words! He must be a member of our secret order.

More seriously, am I the only one who perceives some correlation between someone using the phrase "update our(my) beliefs" in a complete sentence and that same someone breaking up the flow of my average day by saying things that make sense?

Yes! It made me very happy to read "We should use this lack of replication to update our beliefs"

Maybe you are now going to read the scripture from our lord Kahneman as prescribed by Yudkowsky his prophet (ahem).

Original paper: http://www.hss.caltech.edu/~camerer/Ec101/JudgementUncertainty.pdf

Amazon: http://www.amazon.de/Judgment-under-Uncertainty-Heuristics-Biases/dp/0521284147

Or if you're not rich enough for Judgment under Uncertainty, try his latest work: Thinking, Fast and Slow. I found it to be just as informative, and more engaging than the classic.