Psychological scientists could be their own worst enemies

Stanley Milgram’s famous obedience study has been recently found to have had serious flaws

Some political pundits have noted that we now live in a ‘post fact’ society where the brash assertions of politicians are given the same weight as scientifically backed facts.  Kellyanne Conway, advisor to US president Donald Trump famously referred to the phenomenon of an ‘alternative fact’.  Also famously, despite the fact that most scientists argue that climate change is real, there exists a vocal number of politicians who deny it is so.

This is why it is particularly disheartening when science fails us.  Scientists who fabricate data, and journals who only publish ‘positive’ results.  Like everything, science has been compromised by the capitalism of rewarding the results that have the highest consumer demand.  New review processes need to emerge that reward the rigor with which the study was conducted regardless of the results.  New processes also need to emerge that retain professors to universities also based on scientific rigor rather than number of publication notches they can carve on their belts.  We, as Psychologists, need to hold ourselves accountable for the data we present to the public.  They should expect no less.

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