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On the renaissance of psychology

On the renaissance of psychology

Photographer:Fotograaf: Still Youtube

MAASTRICHT. The famous American psychologist Steve Lindsay, who’s spending a few months in the Netherlands, recently contacted the legal psychologists at UM with a question. Was there any chance he could come for a visit? Of course, this wasn’t entirely random – Lindsay has co-authored several articles with UM researchers in the past. And he’s not just stopping by for a cup of coffee, either; he’ll also give a lecture, entitled Psychology’s Renaissance.

This renaissance is sorely needed after the replication crisis, as reported on in Science in 2015. A hundred psychological studies were repeated in many laboratories around the world, but the results were consistent with those of the original studies in only 30 per cent of the experiments.

According to Lindsay, editor of the influential journal Psychological Science, transparency is the solution. This is also the main argument advanced by the open science movement, of which Lindsay is a standard-bearer, says Henry Otgaar, one of the legal psychologists who works together with him. “In his lecture, he’ll argue in favour of preregistration: the concept of researchers specifying their research plans and the hypothesis they’ll be testing in advance, so they can’t deviate from it later.”

More and more journals are also making publication agreements with researchers in advance. Before beginning their study, researchers send in their design to be assessed by peers. If the research design is approved, the journal guarantees publication regardless of the results.

Many students have never heard of this, says Otgaar, but it’s an extremely important development in the field. “It’s also relevant for researchers and students from other faculties, by the way, as the replication crisis isn’t limited to psychology. In biomedical science, but also in the field of economics, replication of previous studies has only mediocre results.”

Maurice Timmermans


Steve Lindsay’s lecture will take place on Tuesday, 26 February, at 13.30-15.50 in the Blauwe Zaal (UNS 50).



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