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Priming to believe in psychology

2013-02-04 20:07:50.023552+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Chronicle of Higher Education: Power of Suggestion. A look into all of those "priming" psychology studies, and that nobody seems to be able to replicate them:

Bargh's study had 92 subjects. So far Cesario has run more than 2,500 through the same experiment. He's found absolutely no relationship between bathing and loneliness. Zero. "It's very worrisome if you have people thinking they can take a shower and they can cure their depression," he says. And he says Bargh's data are troublesome. "Extremely small samples, extremely large effects—;that's a red flag," he says. "It's not a red flag for people publishing those studies, but it should be."

Via MeFi.

[ related topics: Interactive Drama Psychology, Psychiatry and Personality Skating Education ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2013-02-04 23:43:04.653713+00 by: Dan Lyke

One of the notions that's been sticking with me recently is the thought that if any idea in economics or sociology gains enough traction, the knowledge of the phenomenon renders it useless.

The market adapts quickly to new information, and observations about market behavior are new information.

I wonder how much that applies to priming and sociology in general?

#Comment Re: made: 2013-02-04 21:55:16.58975+00 by: petronius

Very interesting. I'm reminded af the famous experiments in the 50s that alleged to prove subliminal advertising. One or two of them were bootstrapped into a small industry that never really produced any results, and the notorious writings of Wilson Bryan Keyes and his Ritz crackers covered with the word sex.

While Keyes was a certifiable crank, the guy who did the original priming studies seems sincere. Maybe part of the problem is that his studies rapidly replicated in such scientific venues as "Good Morning, Hoboken". Once the lay press gets a tenuous hold on an idea, anything can happen.