BPS article: Replication, replication, replication

May’s edition of The Psychologist (2012, BPS, vol. 25, no. 5) has an article ideal for use if you are teaching Anomalistic Psychology as part of Unit 4 AQA spec A.

The article (“Replication, replication, replication”) focusses on the concept of replication within science and starts by discussing the findings of Bem’s published work into ESP which reported that participants performed better on a recall test when they saw the material in the test after the test had been carried out. An exact replication of the research by the article authors, however, failed to reproduce the effect and interestingly was also rejected for publication by the journal that published Bem’s work (The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology) due to a policy of not publishing exact replications of others work.

Ask students whether revising for the exam, or discussing with their teacher appropriate responses to questions in the exam, after they have sat the exam would improve their exam results. This implication is highlighted in the article and would make a good way to introduce the article as a revision stimulus. Ask students to consider the dangers of a “no exact replications” policy for scientific journals and what they think the rationale might be for having such a policy.

The article, co-written by Richard Wiseman (well known sceptic of psychic phenomenon), is a good discussion tool for issues surrounding replication, the file-drawer problem, the current paradigm in science and research issues more generally; worth simply recommending as reading material that requires students to draw on the knowledge they will need for the exam in order to digest and discuss the content.  Non-BPS members could access this article by asking student members to share the article or lead a discussion in class.

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3 comments

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  2. Pingback: Teach students about publication bias with the help of a tweeted analogy « Psychology teaching ideas

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