Putting the self in self-correction: findings from the loss-of-confidence project

Rohrer, J. M. et al. (2021) Putting the self in self-correction: findings from the loss-of-confidence project. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 16(6), pp. 1255-1269. (doi: 10.1177/1745691620964106) (PMID:33645334) (PMCID:PMC8564260)

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Science is often perceived to be a self-correcting enterprise. In principle, the assessment of scientific claims is supposed to proceed in a cumulative fashion, with the reigning theories of the day progressively approximating truth more accurately over time. In practice, however, cumulative self-correction tends to proceed less efficiently than one might naively suppose. Far from evaluating new evidence dispassionately and infallibly, individual scientists often cling stubbornly to prior findings. Here we explore the dynamics of scientific self-correction at an individual rather than collective level. In thirteen written statements, researchers from diverse branches of psychology share why and how they have lost confidence in a published finding. We qualitatively characterize these disclosures and explore their implications. A cross-disciplinary survey suggests that such loss-of-confidence sentiments are surprisingly common among members of the broader scientific population, yet rarely become part of the public record. We argue that removing barriers to self-correction at the individual level is imperative if the scientific community as a whole is to achieve the ideal of efficient selfcorrection.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:JKW is supported by the National Science Foundation (BCS-1632222), and WT and ELU’s work was supported by an R&D grant from INSEAD. Part of this research was conducted while TH was a postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:DeBruine, Professor Lisa
Authors: Rohrer, J. M., Tierney, W., Uhlmann, E. L., Debruine, L. M., Heyman, T., Jones, B. C., Schmukle, S. C., Silberzahn, R., Willén, R. M., Carlsson, R., Lucas, R. E., Strand, J. F., Vazire, S., Witt, J. K., Zentall, T. R., Chabris, C., and Yarkoni, T.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Perspectives on Psychological Science
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1745-6924
Published Online:01 March 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Perspectives on Psychological Science 16(6): 1255-1269
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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