Thursday, November 3, 2011

Oh Diederik.

Psychologist admits to faking dozens of scientific studies

Every branch of science has its share of "sexy" studies—so called for their supposed tendency to provoke media attention, even in the absence of strong or conclusive findings—but investigations in the field of social psychology are often especially popular targets of the "sexy" label.

Now, prominent social psychologist Diederik Stapel (who earlier this year reported thatsomething as trivial as litter can promote discriminatory behavior) has been outed as one of the biggest frauds in scientific history. Will social psychology be able to recover?

A preliminary investigative report issued on Monday by Tilburg University has concluded that dozens of research papers authored and co-authored by Stapel contain fabricated data.

"We have some 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals where we are actually sure that they are fake, and there are more to come," says Pim Levelt, chair of the committee that investigated Stapel's work. If all of these papers are withdrawn, Stapel's will become one of the worst cases of scientific misconduct in history.



  1. No, that's not fair. Swaggart was less repugnant.

  2. social psychology is a science? hmm, who knew?

  3. Does social psychology -- or pyschology in general -- not have the requirement that to be valid, a study must be replicable?

  4. Unfortunately, the way the publication process works (for any science, not just psychology), null results rarely get published. So if someone tried to replicate and failed, it isn't publicized is it?

  5. Also, can I just say I find Stapel and his ilk despicable? He's screwed over his students and collaborators who will now find their work under scrutiny (many in all likelihood don't deserve it), he's screwed over those researchers who tried to build on his work, and he's screwed over the field by discrediting the hard work of many social psychologists.


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