For a while now, there has been talk by the water-cooler (and in the journal pages, and at the conferences, and on the twitter) about a crisis in psychology. For some reason, the crisis seems to have struck social psychology particularly hard – or maybe I just notice it because that’s my sub-field?
I would have liked to give you a full rundown of what this phrase “a crisis in psychology” refers to, and what the different opinions about it are – but a more local crisis is also on the verge of unfolding, as I am dangerously underslept and need to go to bed sooner rather than later.
I really really care about this crisis though. (The first one, the one in social psych.) So, instead of a comprehensive history, let me instead start with some recent articles I have read about the crisis. If you’re not familiar with it already, you can probably glean some details from Lisa Feldman Barrett’s article titled “Psychology is Not in Crisis” as well as Scott Alexander’s rebuttal “If You Can’t Make Predictions You’re Still in a Crisis“.
Various solutions to this crisis-not-crisis have been proposed, including blind analysis [summary, article], and crowd-sourcing the data analyses; both ideas drawn from a special series in Nature on reproducibility. I’ll comment on/link to other articles once I’ve read them!
For now, I leave you with this idea: Researchers can change the outcome of studies just by being white [article]. In the context of “the crisis”, this struck me as astonishing and extremely intriguing; in its more rightful (?) context of demand characteristics, it is perhaps not such a surprise after all.