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Posts uit april, 2014 tonen

Why do We Make Gestures (Even when No One Can See Them)?

The gesture doesn't work all the time Why do we gesture? An obvious answer is that we gesture to communicate. After having just taken down his opponent in a two-legged flying tackle, the soccer player puts on his most innocent face while making a perfect sphere with his hands. This gesture conveys the following thought: “Ref, I was playing the ball! Sure, my opponent may be lying there writhing in pain and will soon be carried off on a stretcher but that’s beside the point. I do not deserve a red card.” But we also gesture when our conversation partner cannot see us. Years ago I saw a madwoman walking in the Atlanta airport. See seemed to be talking to no one in particular while gesticulating vehemently. For a moment I was worried she might pull out a machine gun and mow us all down. But when she got closer I noticed she was speaking into a little microphone that was connected to her mobile phone (a novelty at the time). Evidently, the person that was on the receiving end

The Undead Findings are Among Us

A few months ago, I was asked to review a manuscript on social-behavioral priming. There were many things to be surprised about in this manuscript, not the least of which was that it cited several papers by Diederik Stapel. These papers had already been retracted, of course, which I duly mentioned in my review.  It has been said that psychology is A Vast Graveyard of Undead Theories . These post-retraction Stapel citations suggests that this cemetery might be haunted by various undead findings (actually, if they were fabricated, they weren’t really alive in the first place but let's not split semantic hairs). There are several reasons why someone might cite a retracted paper. The most obvious reason is that they don’t know the paper has been retracted. Although the word RETRACTED is splashed across the first page of the journal version of the article, it will likely be absent on other versions that can still be found on the internet. Researchers working with such

Replicating Down vs. Replicating Up

More and more people are involved in replication research. This is a good thing. Why conduct replication experiments? A major motivation for recent replication attempts appears to have been because there are serious doubts about certain findings. On that view, unsuccessful replications serve to reduce the initially observed effect size into oblivion. I call this replicating down . Meta-analytically speaking, the aggregate effect size becomes smaller with each replication attempt and confidence in the original finding will dwindle accordingly (or so we would like to think). But the original finding will not disappear from the literature.  No, I'm not Noam Chomsky Replicating down is definitely a useful endeavor but it can be quite discouraging. You’re conducting an experiment that you are convinced doesn’t make any sense at all. Suppose someone conducted a priming study inspired by a famous quote from Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives: I can't listen to that much