Brief psychology news 10/2019

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October 2019 news from Clinical Psychology, Quantitative Psychology (Methods, Measurement), Meta Psychology, Open Science, and (new!) Data Visualization. For prior news, see the rubric Psychology News on this blog. This is a bit longer than usual, due to the news gap of the last months. I blame the ERC Starter grant I submitted …

Clinical Psychology

  1. Important letter by Rosen, Lilienfeld & Glasgow entitled “Psychiatry’s stance towards scientifically implausible therapies: are we losing ground?”. Money quote: “One must ask how it has come to pass that large sectors of the scientific community appear more credulous toward scientifically implausible treatments today than they were in 1784. We believe blind allegiance to randomised controlled trial outcome data has produced this result and offer the following recommendations.”
  2. Lloyd et al. on “Goal measures for psychotherapy: A systematic review of self‐report, idiographic instruments”; see also this commentary on the paper
  3. Schuler et al. on “When Hindsight Is Not 20/20: Ecological Momentary Assessment of PTSD Symptoms Versus Retrospective Report”. Money quote: “Retrospective reports most closely reflected symptom severity on the worst day of the reporting period rather than average severity across the week”
  4. Bushnell et al. with yet another scale to measure depression (severity). According to the review by Santor et al. 2006, this is the 281st instrument for that purpose. I haven’t read the paper in detail yet but it looks like a much more thorough scale validation paper than most other depression instruments. Thoughts welcome!
  5. de Kovel et al., in a large-scale neuroimaging analysis, find no evidence for alterations of brain structural asymmetry in major depression. This is yet another paper that contrasts with tons of prior (underpowered) biomarker findings in depression, which in turn led to false positive stories in the literature that will take years to reject
  6. Our new paper on differential relations between depression symptoms and inflammatory markers went online yesterday in Psychological Medicine
  7. UK Mindset training study is online, a large RCT with high treatment fidelity & statistical power; mindset training had zero impact on any of the 7 dependent variables (via Russel Warne)
  8. Preprint: Tina Lonsdorf et al. on “How to not get lost in the garden of forking paths: Lessons learned from human fear conditioning research regarding exclusion criteria”
  9. Preprint: Aidan Wright & William Woods with a review entitled “Personalized Models of Psychopathology”
  10. Blog: Kevin Mitchell debunks the “murderous brain” paper, where authors claimed they can distinguish between two type of violent offenders (murderers vs. non-murderers) based on neuroimaging.

Quantitative Psychology

  1. Warnell & Redcay show that there is “Minimal coherence among varied theory of mind measures in childhood and adulthood”; yet more evidence for #MeasurementSchmeasurement in psychology
  2. Noble et al. showing in a systematic review and meta-analysis that re-rest reliability of functional connectivity (often treated as a trait) is low (i.e. more state-like)
  3. Blog: Teague Henry discusses how to design good and user-friendly open source software
  4. Blog: Matti Heino with the syllabus of his new course “Everything I wasn’t told during my master’s degree”
  5. Blog: Solomon Kurz started his blog series on idiographic analysis, entitled “Individuals are not small groups, I: Simpson’s paradox”
  6. Blog: Fabian Dablander on “Love affairs and linear differential equations” — a neat tutorial to differential equations
  7. Niels van Berkel published his dissertation on “Data quality and quantity in mobile experience sampling”
  8. Preprint: Dave Chester & Emily Lasko on “Construct Validation of Experimental Manipulations in Social Psychology: Current Practices and Recommendations for the Future”; they conclude that most manipulations are ad-hoc and not validated properly
  9. Preprint: Jessie Sun et al. on “Eavesdropping on Missing Data: What Are People Doing When They Miss Experience Sampling Reports?”
  10. Sweet R package “tidylog” that provides a log of changes in each step of data cleaning and preparation

Meta Psychology

  1. Palpacuer et al. show that there are at least 9216 different ways to perform a meta-analysis (I think of this paper as one of the first multiverse meta analyses)
  2. LeBanc et al. on “Scientific sinkhole: The pernicious price of formatting”, showing that reformatting papers to submit them elsewhere leads to an estimated cost of about $2,000 per researcher per year of wasted time
  3. Interesting augmented reality app that allows users to scan papers, posters etc and get a 3d image on the phone
  4. New initiative “Review Commons” to considerably speed up and improve the review process; the idea is that reviews are done centrally, and journals have access to these central reviews
  5. Preprint: Bjørn Sætrevik % Hallgeir Sjåstad with a high-powered nonreplication of yet another finding that was thought rather fundamental — terror management theory. “We failed to find any support for the mortality salience effect across two pre-registered experiments (total N=884) in two different countries.”
  6. Preprint: Szollosi & Donkin on “Arrested theory development: The misguided distinction between exploratory and confirmatory research”
  7. Preprint: A second replication of the famous Marshmallow study results in a strong replication of the original effect, unlike the prior replication attempt that showed a much smaller effect size. Michaelson & Munakata with “Same dataset, different conclusions: Preschool delay of gratification predicts later behavioral outcomes in a preregistered study”
  8. This is from 2017, but explains why the academic publishing systems look like it is today; highly recommended

Open science

  1. Olmo van den Akker on “Why I think open peer review benefits PhD students”; Crystal Steltenpohl also discussed the topic on her blog perviously
  2. Keserlioglu et al. on “Impact of peer review on discussion of study limitations and strength of claims in randomized trial reports: a before and after study”
  3. Psychological Science has a new editor, Patricia Bauer, who published her vision for the journal. And here some arguments by Paul Smaldino why this vision is problematic.
  4. Matt Williams & Casper Albers on How to deal with distributional assumptions when preregistering your research
  5. Dan Quintana with a youtube tutorial on how to make a reproducible version of your R analysis that can be run in a web browser”

Data visualization

  1. Katie Jolly turned WPA style National Park posters into color schemes for R
  2. Online tool to create flow diagrams (thanks to Dave Chester for the tip)

Thermometer of the month

Benjamin Rush’s 1789 “moral and physical thermometer”, with this amazing graph LIQUORS with their EFFECTS in their usual Order (via Vaughan Bell).


You can find me on Twitter. And if you cannot access full texts of papers I link to in this blog, I describe a way around the problem here.

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