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Posts uit mei, 2013 tonen

Fun with Flying Pigs: The Importance of Context in Language Comprehension

How do we understand the phrase flying pig ? This sounds like a silly question (and later on I will show that it is) but people can get quite emotional about it. In a recent blog post , for example, Greg Hickok took Ben Bergen to task for things Ben said about a flying pig in an interview on NPR . Flying pig you ask? Yes, it was a comment that Ben made about a flying pig that set Greg off in what someone on Twitter called an “epic rant.” An epic rant about a flying pig: what could be better than that? (In truth the rant was about more than just the pig but I hope you forgive my fascination with the pig.) What did Ben say about the pig? Here is the transcript of his interview. Ben first sets the NPR listeners’ minds at ease: a flying pig isn't something that actually exists in the real world .  I like the no-nonsense approach here, but then Ben immediately veers into the danger zone:  Yet when we read those words we see one in our mind's eye. Most people s

Replication Done Right

When I started this blog, I was a little worried that I might soon run out of topics. So far, however, the topics have been presenting themselves. And now readers have even started to suggest topics for blog posts! I recently received an email message from Etienne LeBel who said he’d enjoyed my Lazy Susan and Bruce Springsteen post (Lazy Susan, the gift that keeps on giving) and suggested I write a post about a recent positive replication experience of his . Specifically, he said: We really want to get the message out that these replication efforts need not be adversarial and antagonistic, and that it should be considered as a normal part of ensuring our science is self-correcting. It thought this was a great idea—who wouldn’t want to be the bearer of good news? So here goes. The study Lebel and his co-author Lorne Campbell (a great name for a sheriff in a Western) set out to replicate study 1 of a paper by Matthew Vess published in Psychological Science. Ves

Social Priming in Theory Part 2

The discussion on social priming is still raging, with researchers being unable to replicate key original findings , replication efforts being criticized by the original researchers , replication researchers replying to the criticism , other researchers weighing in , journalists sensationalizing the controversy , and wiser heads trying to put things in perspective and calm the waters . As in my previous post, I’m going to ignore the empirical debate and look at social priming from a more theoretical perspective. Some people (on Twitter) wondered what the point of this was. After all, if some of the key findings cannot be replicated, does it make sense to build a theory on this? My response to this criticism is that just because there might be problems with some of the experiments in this area, it doesn’t mean that the phenomenon itself does not exist. Perhaps it has not been investigated properly. So let’s look at the essence of social priming. The basic idea—as I