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Idle Science

Dutch Psychologist Faked Data In At Least 30 Scientific Papers 254 254

Attila Dimedici writes "A professor at Tilburg University has been caught using fake data in over 30 scientific papers. Diederik Stapel's latest paper claimed that eating meat made people anti-social and selfish. Other academics were skeptical of his findings and raised doubts about his research. Upon investigation it was discovered that he had invented the data he used in many of his papers and there is a question as to whether or not he used faked data in all of his published work."
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Dutch Psychologist Faked Data In At Least 30 Scientific Papers

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  • Re:Obviously (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Adriax (746043) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @10:45AM (#37920224)

    Guessing he's a vegan with an agenda. Probably make a good study case for a paper on meatless diets increasing bad decision making.

    I mean really, they already made the huge mistake of giving up tasty animal flesh, someone should study what other bad decisions vegans make.

  • by robot256 (1635039) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @10:50AM (#37920306)
    Sounds like it was all just one big meta-study--now that he's got thirty fake papers to use as data he can write a paper on the psychological factors involved in publishing fake papers. Could be an interesting treatise on the nature of trust, the peer review process, ulterior motives and such, but it's too bad because everyone would dismiss it as fake.
  • Re:But, but, but (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tmosley (996283) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @10:58AM (#37920422)
    They don't get their grant money from vegan societies, nor are the upper echelons of the Western mental health complex infested with militant vegans who refuse to accept that eating meat can be anything but evil and destructive to all of society.
  • Re:But, but, but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RingDev (879105) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @11:10AM (#37920624) Homepage Journal

    I would recommend that instead of spouting this ignorance proving drivel, that you spend some of your time learning how most grant systems work.

    I'll give you a hint, other scientists' grant money would not be threatened by blowing the lid off someone who is abusing the system. In fact, since that person would be excluded from future grants, the other scientists would be more likely to aquire grants in the future if they DID expose frauds.


  • by schwnj (990042) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @11:24AM (#37920820)
    Every time a story appears that involves psychological research, numerous people make comments about how psychology is a sham, not a science, fluffy, or some other degrading adjective. I usually find that these people haven't the foggiest idea what psychology actually is. I'm willing to bet that many people here that are claiming psychology as a non-science are thinking about what is actually therapy or counseling. I suggest any doubters read actual psychology journals before they make such claims. Much of the advancement in our understanding of neurophysiology, sensory systems, cognitive processing, decision-making, social behavior, and human development is due to research conducted under the umbrella of psychology. The problem is that the public isn't aware of psychology's breadth.
  • by Brett Buck (811747) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @11:57AM (#37921296)

    I think the worst thing it that they are publishing psychology papers in Science. Aside from the most fundamental stimulus/response experiments (done decades ago) psychology depends on highly subjective observations and statistics that prove correlations but nothing about the underlying causations. It certainly doesn't lead to repeatable experiments.

        A bigger mystery is how could tell the difference between a faked paper and a real one. They have about the same basis in fact.


  • by clifyt (11768) <sonikmatter@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:45PM (#37922924) Homepage

    "shows that parts of the foundations of some psychology is a sham, not a science"

    So, looking at Freud and then applying these tests of pseudoscience to him is an indictment of psychology because some of the roots of the field have not panned out?

    So what does that say about the alchemists in conjunction to modern chemistry or physics? Quite a bit of scientific understanding of the world and what it is made up of and how it all fits together were put together by men whose methodology was on par with sorcery.

    You go far enough back in any field and you realize that someone important probably got something so wrong that it would invalidate their whole work if applied to todays standards.

    That said, I find most of what Freud professed to be utter bullshit...and it pissed me off through most of my undergrad and into my postgraduate work...people would bring up theories of his and I would just shudder. And then I realized that without the application and expansion of his beliefs, psychology may be 50 to 100 years behind what it is today. And we realize that even with his flawed beliefs, we can make a pretty accurate assessment of the world, or more to the point...the people that live within it. We know that with his talking therapies, even with his overemphasis on genitalia and the mommy problems, people are around 60% more likely to have measurable healing compared to those that receive nothing. We know that some interpretations of dreams or beliefs while inaccurate using the Freudian perspective, can lead to a better understanding of the person. In some ways, until imaging scanners and technology to analyze this comes into place, we realize we will most certainly be wrong...but in some ways correct.

    In 50 years from now, discoveries made through things like the Hadron Collider may show that the gods of physics may have been wrong...will that mean they are not scientists because they are only postulating that which they have not yet been able to observe? Until the first atomic bomb was detonated, we could not observe, let alone replicate what we had believed. And yet, it worked.

    That said, I pretty much moved from psychology to another science and I really don't have a dog in the fight any more. However, the more I deal with other sciences, the more I realize that they are grasping at straws in much the same fashion psychology has done...simply waiting for technology to catch up so that things can be proven or disproven...luckily, most other fields don't have to deal with quite as much human subjects protection / IRB that stop us from finding the truth. Not to go Godwin on things, but if you want to see true science in psychology, one only need to look back at Nazi Germany where one didn't need approval to do bad things to people to be able to reproducibly get results under a number of scenarios and stimuli. I think most would agree that the pseudoscience nature of psychology today is far more civilized and humane even while limiting the research and validity of what could be.

A slow pup is a lazy dog. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"