[IPAC-List] "False Positive Psychology"

Mark Hammer Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca
Tue Nov 29 13:03:18 EST 2011

Dennis can confirm, or clarify, but one of the recurring challenges in
the field of aging research is that the "exciting" result can often come
from the demonstration of NO difference between younger and older
individuals; for example, in the case of manipulations intended to
improve the performance of older individuals in some manner. This tends
to reward researchers for not having enough statistical power.
Hopefully, able researchers pay attention to this weak link.

Mark Hammer,

>>> Dennis Doverspike <dennisdoverspike at gmail.com> 2011/11/29 12:24 PM



The article makes a great point. Although I would argue that the term
"authors" or "researchers" should not be take too narrowly. The problem
perhaps even more acute among consultants under pressure to report
statistically significant results from small, operational sample sizes.
course, it reaches its pinnacle in our search for adverse impact,
regulatory agencies may require conducting significance tests on large
number of job groups and then narrow attention to the one job group
demonstrating statistically significant differences.

Thanks to bringing this article to our attention.


On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 11:59 AM, Reid Klion <RKlion at panpowered.com>

> There is an interesting article in Psychological Science (free

> download!: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/22/11/1359.full.pdf) on


> perils of what the authors call unchecked "researcher degrees of

> freedom" that can readily lead to false positive findings in the

> never-ending search for "statistically significant" publishable


> They point out how when researchers don't disclose things like all


> variables collected in the study, failed manipulations, and the


> rationale for the statistical analysis that was ultimately used, the

> probability of obtaining false positive findings increases (which


> demonstrate by "showing" how subjects listening to the Beatles song


> When I'm Sixty-Four" makes them older vs. subjects who listened to


> music.) They go on to provide useful suggestions for both authors


> reviewers to help mitigate these risks.




> Reid



> Reid E. Klion, Ph.D.


> Chief Science Officer


> pan - A TALX Company


> 11590 North Meridian St.


> Suite 200


> Carmel, IN 46032 USA


> 317.814.8808 Office


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> 317.814.8888 Fax


> rklion at panpowered.com <mailto:rklion at panpowered.com>


> www.panpowered.com <http://www.panpowered.com/>


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