Category: Mathematics

‘Psychology in Crisis’ is now available

About the Author

Imprint: 2018
Psychology in Crisis
Author: Brian M. Hughes
Publisher: Palgrave, London

ISBN-10: 1352003007
ISBN-13: 978-1352003000

Click here to view on Palgrave Macmillan
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From the cover: Throughout the history of psychology, attempting to objectively measure the highly dynamic phenomenon of human behaviour has given rise to an underappreciated margin of error. Today, as the discipline experiences increasing difficulty in reproducing the results of its own studies, such error not only threatens to undermine psychology’s credibility but also leaves an indelible question: Is psychology actually a field of irreproducible science?

In this thought-provoking new book, author Brian Hughes seeks to answer this very question. In his incisive examination of the various pitfalls that determine ‘good’ or ‘bad’ psychological science – from poor use of statistics to systematic exaggeration of findings – Hughes shows readers how to critique psychology research, enhance its validity and reliability, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the way psychology research is produced, published, and promulgated in the twenty-first century.

This book is essential reading for students wanting to understand how to better scrutinise psychological research methods and results, as well as practitioners and those concerned with the replication debate.

Psychology in Crisis is an unflinching tour of the challenges of doing psychological science well. Brian Hughes describes six crises facing psychology that could make one think that all is lost. But it is not. At their core, the crises are illustrations of just how hard it is to study human behavior and, simultaneously, why it is worth doing. Hughes closes with a path toward a science that is robust, transparent, and self-skeptical to help accelerate discovery and ensure that psychology meets its potential as a scientific enterprise.” — Professor Brian Nosek, Professor in psychology at the University of Virginia and Executive Director for the Center for Open Science


Contents

Chapter 1 ‘The Same Again, But Different’: Psychology’s Replication Crisis
Chapter 2 ‘Black Is White’: Psychology’s Paradigmatic Crisis
Chapter 3 ‘Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width’: Psychology’s Measurement Crisis
Chapter 4 ‘That Which Can Be Measured’: Psychology’s Statistical Crisis
Chapter 5 ‘We Are The World’: Psychology’s Sampling Crisis
Chapter 6 ‘Fitter, Happier, More Productive…’: Psychology’s Exaggeration Crisis
Chapter 7 From Crisis to Confidence: Dealing with Psychology’s Self-Inflicted Crises

“The Point of Psychology (and How it Gets Missed)”: Director’s cut

Okay, the official movie — featuring full slides and audio — has been made…

Thanks to Chris Noone for the soundtrack (from the official PSI EGG talking-head version); background to the keynote as per here and here.

As a reminder, the audience was a national conference of early career psychology graduates, the conference theme concerned the place of psychology in society, and the abstract I set for myself was as follows:

The Point of Psychology (and How it Gets Missed)

The point of psychology is, and always has been, to use scientific methods to resolve uncertainties in our understanding of the human condition. Nonetheless, many audiences seek to imbue psychology with some kind of mission to “improve people’s well-being” (whatever that means), to “encourage positive behaviours” (whatever they are), or to cure mental ill-health by means of laying-on-of-hands.

In addition, psychology often projects itself as a politically liberal (as opposed to conservative) discipline, despite being an overwhelmingly white, middle class, middle-aged, male academic field shaped by a century of Euro-American hegemony.

This talk will examine these themes, and include at least one joke.

To be fair, people did laugh at the joke.

Enjoy!

Where Waldo is (or, The science behind why journalists now think there is a science to be had behind everything)

gglwaldo

The challenge: You know the drill. Waldo appears in different places in different scenes. There are 68 locations, therefore 68 places.

The simulation: Let’s pretend Waldo is not a guy in a crowd but a dot on a page.

The problem: There are 68 dots representing possible Waldo locations. You must find the right dot as quickly as possible.

Pic: (c) Randal S. Olson (randalolson.com; @randal_olson)

Pic: (c) Randal S. Olson (randalolson.com; @randal_olson)

The solution: Look at all the dots. As quickly as possible.

The science: TL;DR The shortest distance between two dots is a straight line. Get a computer to figure out the shortest distance between all 68 dots for you.

The application: You, the user, must memorize all the dots and lines in order to remember the sequence in which to move your eyes in order to find Waldo in a given scene. Here it is:

waldotweet

The snag: Er, that’s impossible.

The news coverage: To hell with ‘impossible’. It’s Waldo, for goodness sake!

waldonews

Try to find the real news as quickly as possible

 

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