J.P. de Ruiter of Tufts University visits Rutgers to share his knowledge of medical hypocrisy and effectism in cognitive science.
Summary of the colloquium: In psychology, our most common way to empirically support theories is to collect empirical data and then demonstrate the presence of a statistically significant "effect" that would be predicted by our theory. The statistical significance of the effect is usually assessed using Null Hypothesis Significance Testing. Many psychologists assume that by using NHST, psychologists are following (a variant of) Popper's falsificationism because they try to falsify the null hypothesis that there is no effect. But in fact, they are doing the opposite of what Popper proposed. Arguably even more dangerous is the assumption that a significant effect suggests its own explanation, which leads to weak, hand-wavy, and poorly motivated theories. de Ruiter's presentation elaborated on these two methodological issues, provide illustrative examples, and suggest some ways to avoid them.
Following his enlightening presentation, Dr. de Ruiter took the time to meet with some of our graduate students to provide intellectual advice, exchange ideas, and indulge in conversation about the field of psychology.