Skeptical of the Skeptics

I have complained — more than once — that the media and the public believe a psychological fact (some people are addicted to computer games) if a neuroimaging study is somehow involved, even if the study itself is irrelevant (after all, the definition of addiction does not require a certain pattern of brain activity — it requires a certain pattern of physical activity).

Not surprisingly, I and like-minded researchers were pleased when a study came out last year quantifying this apparent fact. That is, the researchers actually found that people rated an explanation of a psychological phenomenon as better if it contained an irrelevant neuroscience fact.

Neuroskeptic has written a very provocative piece urging us to be skeptical of this paper:

This kind of research – which claims to provide hard, scientific evidence for the existence of a commonly believed in psychological phenomenon, usually some annoyingly irrational human quirk – is dangerous; it should always be read with extra care. The danger is that the results can seem so obviously true (“Well of course!”) and so important (“How many times have I complained about this?”) that the methodological strengths and weaknesses of the study go unnoticed.

Read the rest of the post here.

The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.

Comments are closed.