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Scientific progress is like doing a puzzle, not building a wall

  • Alexa M. Tullett (a1) and Simine Vazire (a2)


We contest the “building a wall” analogy of scientific progress. We argue that this analogy unfairly privileges original research (which is perceived as laying bricks and, therefore, constructive) over replication research (which is perceived as testing and removing bricks and, therefore, destructive). We propose an alternative analogy for scientific progress: solving a jigsaw puzzle.



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Crandall, C. S. & Sherman, J. W. (2016) On the scientific superiority of conceptual replications for scientific progress. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 66:9399. Available at:
Gelman, A. (2016b) The time-reversal heuristic – A new way to think about a published finding that is followed up by a large, preregistered replication (in context of Amy Cuddy's claims about power pose). Blog post. Available at:
Stroebe, W. & Strack, F. (2014) The alleged crisis and the illusion of exact replication. Perspectives on Psychological Science 9:5971. Available at:


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