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Strong scientific theorizing is needed to improve replicability in psychological science

  • Timothy Carsel (a1), Alexander P. Demos (a1) and Matt Motyl (a1)

Abstract

The target article makes the important case for making replicability mainstream. Yet, their proposal targets a symptom, rather than the underlying cause of low replication rates. We argue that psychological scientists need to devise stronger theories that are more clearly falsifiable. Without strong, falsifiable theories in the original research, attempts to replicate the original research are nigh uninterpretable.

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References

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Cohen, J. (1994) The earth is round (p < .05). American Psychologist 49:9971003.
Gray, K. (2017) How to map theory: Reliable methods are fruitless without rigorous theory. Perspectives on Psychological Science 12(5):731–41.
Meehl, P. E. (1990a) Why summaries of research on psychological theories are often uninterpretable. Psychological Reports 66(1):195244. Available at: https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1990.66.1.195.
Meehl, P. E. (1990b) Appraising and amending theories: The strategy of Lakatosian defense and two principles that warrant it. Psychological Inquiry 1:108–41. Available at: http://doi.org/10.1207/s15327965pli0102_1.
Motyl, M., Demos, A. P., Carsel, T. S., Hanson, B. E., Melton, Z. J., Mueller, A. B., Prims, J. P., Sun, J., Washburn, A. N., Wong, K., Yantis, C. A. & Skitka, L. J. (2017) The state of social and personality science: Rotten to the core, not so bad, getting better, or getting worse? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 113(1):34.
Washburn, A. N., Hanson, B. E., Motyl, M., Skitka, L., Yantis, C., Wong, K., Sun, J., Prims, J., Mueller, A. B., Melton, Z. J. & Carsel, T. S. (2018) Why do some psychology researchers resist using proposed reforms to research practices? A description of researchers' rationales. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science. Published online March 7, 2018. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/2515245918757427.

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