Intellectual humility: the importance of knowing you might be wrong

Knowledge Questions: What are the limitations in our abilities to reason? How do we produce knowledge in the sciences? What impact does knowledge have on the knower?

This article brings together so many interesting issues in TOK and the problems associated with knowledge and its production. There are connections in this article to memory, the scientific method, the replication crisis, reason, and the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

We need more intellectual humility for two reasons. One is that our culture promotes and rewards overconfidence and arrogance (think Trump and Theranos, or the advice your career counselor gave you when going into job interviews). At the same time, when we are wrong — out of ignorance or error — and realize it, our culture doesn’t make it easy to admit it. Humbling moments too easily can turn into moments of humiliation.

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2019/1/4/17989224/intellectual-humility-explained-psychology-replication

JOHN ARNOLD MADE A FORTUNE AT ENRON. NOW HE’S DECLARED WAR ON BAD SCIENCE

Nosek was so taken with the importance of redoing old experiments that he had also rallied more than 50 like-minded researchers across the country to participate in something he called the Reproducibility Project. The aim was to redo about 50 studies from three prominent psychology journals, to establish an estimate of how often modern psychology turns up false positive results.

It was little wonder, then, that funders didn’t come running to support Nosek: He wasn’t promising novel findings, he was promising to question them. So he ran his projects on a shoestring budget, self-­financing them with his own earnings from corporate speaking engagements on his research about bias.

https://www.wired.com/2017/01/john-arnold-waging-war-on-bad-science/?mbid=social_fb

Thomas Bayes and the crisis in science

Science is currently said to be suffering a “replicability crisis”. Over the last few years a worrying number of widely accepted findings in psychology, medicine and other disciplines have failed to be confirmed by repetitions of the original experiments. Well-known psychological results that have proved hard to reproduce include the claim that new-born babies imitate their mothers’ facial expressions and that will power is a limited resource that becomes depleted through use. In medicine, the drug companies Bayer and Amgen, frustrated by the slow progress of drug development, discovered that more than three-quarters of the basic science studies they were relying on didn’t stand up when repeated. When the journal Naturepolled 1,500 scientists in 2016, 70 per cent said they had failed to reproduce another scientist’s results.

This crisis of reproducibility has occasioned much wringing of hands. The finger has been pointed at badly designed experiments, not to mention occasional mutterings about rigged data. But the only real surprise is that the problem has taken so long to emerge. The statistical establishment has been reluctant to concede the point, but failures of replication are nothing but the pigeons of significance testing coming home to roost.

https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/thomas-bayes-science-crisis/

The Stanford Prison Experiment was massively influential. We just learned it was a fraud.

The most famous psychological studies are often wrong, fraudulent, or outdated. Textbooks need to catch up.

The findings have long been subject to scrutiny — many think of them as more of a dramatic demonstration, a sort-of academic reality show, than a serious bit of science. But these new revelations incited an immediate response. “We must stop celebrating this work,” personality psychologist Simine Vazire tweeted, in response to the article. “It’s anti-scientific. Get it out of textbooks.” Many other psychologists have expressed similar sentiments.

https://www.vox.com/2018/6/13/17449118/stanford-prison-experiment-fraud-psychology-replication

The Lifespan of a Lie

The most famous psychology study of all time was a sham. Why can’t we escape the Stanford Prison Experiment?

Medium Article that goes into greater detail.

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

Let’s Stop Talking About The ’30 Million Word Gap’

This is an interesting article about a famous experiment that has been hugely influential on our perceptions of educational development of children. Despite its influence, there are some questions about the rigor of the study itself and the veracity of some of its conclusions.

This offers an interesting study on what it means to do “good science” in the natural sciences but also how hard it is to produce knowledge that stands up to scrutiny.

https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/06/01/615188051/lets-stop-talking-about-the-30-million-word-gap

Psychological Weapons of Mass Persuasion

First, we need to distinguish attempts to manipulate and influence public opinion, from actual voter persuasion. Repeatedly targeting people with misinformation that is designed to appeal to their political biases may well influence public attitudes, cause moral outrage, and drive partisans further apart, especially when we’re given the false impression that everyone else in our social network is espousing the same opinion. But to what extent do these attempts to influence translate into concrete votes?

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/psychological-weapons-of-mass-persuasion/?utm_source=facebook

The Spanking Debate is Over (How can we prove anything in the human sciences?)

Very detailed and thoughtful discussion of the issue in regards to how challenging it is to prove something in the social sciences including the challenges of isolating variables, proving causality, etc.

The spanking literature, however, has addressed itself to this problem in several ways. First, in the absence of true experimentation, an argument for causality can still be supported indirectly if three conditions are met: first, there’s a link between behavior A and outcome B. Second, behavior A appears before outcome B in the timeline (which can be documented using longitudinal studies following the same kids over time). Third, other explanations for the A-B link are ruled out (for example stress, which may cause parents to spank and children to deteriorate).

Spanking research has by now produced robust evidence for all three propositions. Spanking is correlated strongly and quite exclusively with multiple negative outcomes for children. The negative outcomes often appear only after the spanking has begun, and the effects of spanking remain significant and sizable even after controlling for the influence of other variables such as parental age, child age, sex, race, family structure, poverty, emotional support, cognitive stimulation, etc.

http://quillette.com/2018/02/02/the-spanking-debate-is-over/