A call for a theoretical framework to address replication crisis facing the psychological sciences

science
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A pair of researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science and Harvard University has published a Perspective piece in the journal Nature Human Behavior suggesting a possible solution to the replication crisis facing the psychological sciences. Michael Muthukrishna and Joseph Henrich believe the answer lies in convincing researchers to start working within a theoretical framework.

Most experts would agree that is a difficult problem. Why do people do the things they do? Why do groups behave one way or another? No one really knows the answers to such questions, though psychology and sociology researchers have been carrying out experiments for many years. In more recent times, such research has questioned because so few studies have been replicated by others. Even when research teams attempt to do so, they produce different results. This has resulted in what has come to be known as a replication crisis. In their paper, Muthukrishna and Henrich suggest solving the crisis requires researchers in the field to begin conducting experiments the way they are done with other sciences—by using a theoretical , or even multiple frameworks. They note that doing so would reduce the number of questions that can be asked regarding a given behavior—without such a framework, they add, there is no limit. This leads to multiple small experiments rather than fewer large ones. It is the large ones that usually attract attention from others, leading to multiple attempts to replicate findings.

Using a would involve building up a storehouse of observations that could be reliably replicated. Muthukrishna and Henrich argue that doing so would allow for building theoretical models to describe certain aspects of . It would also allow for the creation of a working environment in which seemingly disconnected phenomena could be connected in ways that make sense. And finally, it would allow for testing predictions.


Explore further

Majority rule: Why conformity can actually be a good thing

More information: Michael Muthukrishna et al. A problem in theory, Nature Human Behaviour (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41562-018-0522-1
Journal information: Nature Human Behaviour

© 2019 Science X Network

Citation: A call for a theoretical framework to address replication crisis facing the psychological sciences (2019, February 18) retrieved 21 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-theoretical-framework-replication-crisis-psychological.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
560 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Feb 18, 2019
so basically the psychological sciences need to be more science-y lol

mqr
Feb 18, 2019
Psychology is a pseudo profession. The chances of having to have a technical test to obtain a job in psychology is almost zero, in contrast to obtain a job in other fields. So psychologists do not feel any pressure to be updated, not even to know the main issues in that field. The importance thing in psychology is connections, not scientific or technical work.

On the positive side, it is necessary to acknowledge that the replication issues in psychology are related too with the fact that psychology is about humans and therefore many segments of society have interests in manipulating the results of their research. The politically correct movement does not affect physics or chemistry so badly as it does psychology, as well as other political or financial forces such as feminism, racism, alcohol industry, pharmaceutical companies, gaming industry, gun industries, etc. All that manipulated research can not agree with truthful investigations.

Feb 18, 2019
Those who have good reasons to fear being evaluated by Mental Health services?
Will dispute the scientific basis of their methods & conclusions.
As these are also fallible Humans, many errors, many abuses, many frauds have occurred.

The problem is, if you get rid of the Psych sciences? What is left to explain Human behavior?
Whom do you entrust with making those judgements?
As to whether your behavior is socially acceptable?

We could go back to stoning people whose behavior is unacceptable to us?
Torture, executions, burned as witches or hung for being accursed with a disability.

Sounds good to you?
Until your husband denounces you for no longer satisfying his needs.
He wants you gone so he can spend your dowry on a younger, prettier mistress.
Tour children are cast out to starve in the streets.

Or, your feuding neighbor cuts a deal with the church or judge to split your property between them.

Ah, now that your fat, pink ass is on the line?

Feb 18, 2019
"No one really knows the answers to such questions though psychology and sociology researchers have been carrying out experiments for many years."

-They arent getting anywhere because they're not scientists. Their job is to modify and direct behavior, not explain it. Sociopolitics - an applied science. Social engineering. Husbandry.

In order to understand why people behave the way they do, you have to accept 2 obvious FACTS about the human condition. 1) chronic overpopulation drove people to live in tribes which replaced natural selection with group selection; and 2) tribalism turned the wild tropical protohuman animal into a domesticated tropical human animal.

Tribalism operates under a very easy to understand dynamic. It is internal empathy coupled with external animosity. Internal amity + external enmity. The tribes with greater cohesion and cooperation would prevail over others in competition over resources. Group selection.

This is where these guys have to START.

Feb 18, 2019
The only people who currently have a complete matrix for understanding psychology are those who hold to certain ancient Chinese practices..


Feb 18, 2019
Psychology is suffering from a lack of data. It hasn't been systematically collected, and it hasn't been linked with psychiatry. There is no question there is something there but we don't know enough yet to link them. When all that is psychiatric has been eliminated, we are lost.

Feb 19, 2019
Psychiatry and Psychology are where Alchemy was in centuries past. We know there is something there, but it's so full of nonsense and inconsistencies that it's not even possible to evaluate a failure.

So the call for a framework makes sense, much like the periodic table of the elements made sense.

Feb 19, 2019
wimpole. How did practicing those "ancient Chinese" prevent the collapse of China when the Western barbarians showed up waving bibles while selling opium?
After thousands of years of "practice"? One would assume positive results. Still waiting...

otto, still plugging for tribalism, I see.
If I correctly understand your (truly awesome. i'm sure) assumption that tribalism was an important step up the ladder of Human social evolution?

Please feel free to correct me.

However, that brings up one teeny little conundrum. (beat that drum!)
Are there any hominids, anthropoids. primates or simians that did not or do not live in tribal societies?

I would classify tribalism as a defining characteristic for all of us apes, big & small.
It seems to me that for tens of millions of years, we & all our ancestral monkeys are genetically coded to banding into tribes. That makes it a causation, not a result of evolution.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more