As one of the bloggers who tends to be a bit more skeptical of work in social cognitive neuroscience, I’m posting this article w/out really investigating it closely. I do this for three reasons. 1) As I said, I’m biased toward believing its true anyway 2) Even if I was objective, I’m not really qualified to evaluate it properly, and 3) I want to give our neuroscience blogger the best chance possible to defend her area and stomp me intellectually.
So what’s the article already? Vu et al. (in press) have written an article that calls into question the statistical analyses of many of the most widely cited articles in the currently ‘hot’ field of Social Cognitive Neuroscience which examines the neural correlates of topics such as personality, social pain, virtue, free will, consciousness, etc. They argue that some of the correlations are not only inflated, they are practically impossible, and occasionally spurious. The authors surveyed the researchers involved and found that they were using inappropriate statistical techniques, many of which might have lead the papers to be rejected if they were purely behavioral. According to the authors, we need to reevaluate many of the big findings in social neuroscience, many of which appear to have originated from my institution. See the article here-