The Replication Crisis & Your Pop-Psychology Knowledge

Casting Lots

Did you know that if you stand in a confident, powerful pose, it can affect your brain and even hormone levels, making you feel more confident and powerful?

Or that you have a limited supply of self-control, and you can run out if you have to exercise it too much?

How about this: if you’re ‘primed’ with a lot of words related to aging, you’ll walk more slowly afterwards?

Or maybe you’re a wise basketball stat-head and know there’s no such thing as a “hot hand”.

If so, you might want to update your assumptions. The first three conclusions have failed to be reproducible in follow-up studies, and the last has been refuted (So Red Auerbach and anyone who’s watched a Warriors game in the last few years have been vindicated).

This shakeup is part of an overall replication crisis in many fields, with psychology bearing the brunt of the attack.

It’s a good reminder to be skeptical even when “studies have shown …”