A new study on psychology research is essentially bashing all other psychology studies. The research area has gotten a bad rap recently thanks to retracted research papers, so psychologists set out to discover what was going on. When research is valid, others should be able to duplicate the study and come up with the same results. But when more than 250 scientists tried to re-create 100 studies from three respected psychology journals—working closely with original researchers—the results matched in just 39 cases. Even among those, 83% were found to have smaller effects than first reported, reports the Verge. The studies covered topics like personality, relationships, learning, and memory, and were the kind trusted by therapists and educators, reports the New York Times.
A scientist argues the reproducibility issue could apply across other fields, too. "To see it so clearly, on such a large scale—it's unprecedented," adds another. "There is little known about the reproducibility of research in general," says study author Brian Nosek. "And there has been a growing concern that reproducibility may be lower than expected or desired." He adds that scientific journals tend to focus on new research, so those hoping to get published don't waste time testing older studies. Nosek doesn't consider the results "negative or pessimistic," but he hopes they'll lead to self-correction and replication standards. So are these results reproducible? "Even this project itself is not a final word, a last word, a definitive word about reproducibility," Nosek says. (Read more psychology stories.)