Jumping to scientific conclusions challenges biomedical research

Improving experimental design and statistical analyses alone will not solve the reproducibility crisis in science, argues Ray Dingledine in a societal impact article published in eNeuro. Repeating classic behavioral economics experiments with graduate- to senior-level researchers, the author finds scientists of all career stages are subject to the same biases as undergraduates when interpreting data.

In the 1960s and ’70s, psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky demonstrated that people tend to engage in “fast thinking”—relying on preconceived notions and emotions—when making decisions in the face of new information. While this finding has had clear implications for economic decisions such as weighing the risks and rewards of a financial investment, Dingledine wondered whether it would also apply to scientific decision-making.

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