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      False-positive psychology: undisclosed flexibility in data collection and analysis allows presenting anything as significant.

      1 , ,
      Psychological science
      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          In this article, we accomplish two things. First, we show that despite empirical psychologists' nominal endorsement of a low rate of false-positive findings (≤ .05), flexibility in data collection, analysis, and reporting dramatically increases actual false-positive rates. In many cases, a researcher is more likely to falsely find evidence that an effect exists than to correctly find evidence that it does not. We present computer simulations and a pair of actual experiments that demonstrate how unacceptably easy it is to accumulate (and report) statistically significant evidence for a false hypothesis. Second, we suggest a simple, low-cost, and straightforwardly effective disclosure-based solution to this problem. The solution involves six concrete requirements for authors and four guidelines for reviewers, all of which impose a minimal burden on the publication process.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Psychol Sci
          Psychological science
          SAGE Publications
          1467-9280
          0956-7976
          Nov 2011
          : 22
          : 11
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. jsimmo@wharton.upenn.edu
          Article
          0956797611417632
          10.1177/0956797611417632
          22006061
          1db9fe5e-0f2f-466a-890a-e3293531c81e
          History

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