Get Instant Help From 5000+ Experts For
question

Writing: Get your essay and assignment written from scratch by PhD expert

Rewriting: Paraphrase or rewrite your friend's essay with similar meaning at reduced cost

Editing:Proofread your work by experts and improve grade at Lowest cost

And Improve Your Grades
myassignmenthelp.com
loader
Phone no. Missing!

Enter phone no. to receive critical updates and urgent messages !

Attach file

Error goes here

Files Missing!

Please upload all relevant files for quick & complete assistance.

Guaranteed Higher Grade!
Free Quote
wave

Analysis

Is There a Replication Crisis in Social Psychology?

Replication is the practice of repeating of research studies in different situations and subject respondents in order to determine the validity of the study. This is a general practice in research carried out in all disciplines. For the research to be deemed authentic, it is expected that the findings remain the same both in the original research and the replicated version. Recent findings in discrepancy in replicated research findings in social psychology have raised concern. This essay will examine if the levels of discrepancy amount to a crisis of replication in the field of social psychology.

Social psychology is the branch of psychology that deals with human conduct in relation to others. Whereas psychology studies the individual and his/her internal attitudes and motivations, social psychology examines how these personal attributes affect an individual’s interaction with others in society. This discipline, like other human sciences, deals with human beings and attempts to study the predictability of human nature (Smith et al, 2014). This in itself is complex because human beings behave differently when in a group as opposed to the behavior they depict when they are alone. Social psychology is an amalgam between sociology and psychology; they both study the context of an individual in the context of society. However, the focus of psychology in this regard is the individual whereas sociology mostly focuses on the society (Smith J A, 2015).

In a study carried out by Brian Nosek and the Open Science Collaboration, they found out that out of replications of one hundred correlation and experimental studies published in three psychological journals, only 36% were successful (Anderson et al, 2016). They also found out that social psychology findings were less likely to replicate than those of cognitive psychology by half. These and other findings have sparked a worldwide debate as to whether there is a replication crisis in social psychology. This begs the question as to how thorough the researchers are in their study and whether they sufficiently test their tools of research. Research can be faulted either on the authenticity of the research tools and methodologies used or the skill and experience of the researcher (Tailor et al, 2015). Given that these findings were published in recognized journals, it is likely that they were carried out with tried and tested tools and techniques. The failure to replicate might have arisen due to the failure of the researchers to be thorough in their study.

Challenges in Research


Where research is funded, researchers may be swayed by the monetary incentives to complete their research and may, as a result, rush through the process thereby failing to capture happenings that may alter the result of the study (Sorlie et al, 2015). In many countries, the research budget is mostly strained especially where the concerned authorities do not foresee immediate benefit arising from research. For this reason, researchers mostly work on a limited budget and may not afford to do pilot studies which are vital in testing both the research tools and the study population (Denscombe 2015). Failing on these vital steps definitely interferes with the validity of the results achieved.

It is noteworthy that the discourse on replication in social psychology has attracted more public attention as opposed to subjects in other fields like biology or economics. In comparison, it has been proven that aspects of validity and reliability have been the pre-occupation of social psychology for comparatively longer periods (Maxwell et al, 2015). This makes research in this field more sophisticated. The attention it attracts from the general public is therefore expected to be more prominent in comparison to other disciplines (Parker et al, 2015). The research designs in the field of psychology have been tested and used for many years and this gives the regular researcher confidence that the tools are perfect. This presumption is likely to blind the researcher from adherence the required procedures and hence overlook faults in the research that may lead to inaccurate results.

Contrary to replication debates that have dominated other fields, social psychology replication discourse has roped in such stalwarts in the field like Susan Flake, John Bargh and Carol Dweck among others. The general feeling that the crisis in this field is dire is thus strengthened by the participation of these scholars. Even in the infant stages of psychology, Popper and Freud had sharp contradictions concerning Freud’s falsifiable theory. That spirit of open debate persists even today. Psychological research in any of its sub-branches attracts a lot of attention and public debate (Abelson et al, 2014). Even in the media today we have a host of talk shows that host psychologists that debate various issues that affect society. Human conduct in religion politics, business and career among other facets of human life is bound to interest various players in society. It is therefore obvious that faults and discrepancies that appear in its research will generate more debate than any other field in society. The study of social psychology is therefore quite linked to human nature and obviously whatever is published in this regard enjoys curiosity and suffers public scrutiny.

Factors Contributing to the Crisis


Any study that involves human nature can never claim to have 100% replication. This is because human nature is dynamic and keeps changing as newer interests and motivations confront humanity. The study of social psychology is even more interesting in the sense that it studies the role of institutions in society in relation to the behavior of the individual (Sheriff M., 2015). The forces of globalization and modernity have transformed the role of societal institutions radically that studies that conclusions arrived at must be subjected to further scrutiny with the passage of time (McDougall, 2015). The family institution, which is the most important social institution, has drastically changed in its function and structure today. Whereas family has traditionally played the role of socialization and basic education of an individual, today families are increasingly becoming  nuclear and their traditional roles have been taken over by the school and media outlets like facebook and the internet in general. This makes the study of the individual in the context of society more complex. An ordinary individual in society is bombarded by more varied forces that span geographical boundaries across the globe. The individual of yester-year had not to worry about such global forces because his life was confined to the extended family which mostly inhabited a common geographical location.

It is also important to note that the researchers are also more likely to succumb to the forces of bias when studying fellow human beings. It is not far-fetched to imagine that a researcher may want to achieve a certain response in research to reinforce his preconceived stereotype about people. Although other researchers too are vulnerable to the evils of bias, a social psychologist faces double tragedy of dealing with the bias of both his subject of study and his own. For this reason, the findings of research may not pass the test of replication.

These observations point out to the challenges that researchers in the field of psychology generally face either unintended or deliberately. The pressure, especially among young scholars to “Publish or perish” partly contributes to this crisis. There is need to rethink the aspect of replication and investigate whether the initial findings were faulty or the repeat findings. There is an inherent assumption that when a research is repeated, more thoroughness is exercised in both the research design and the tools employed. However, overconfident budding researchers may ruin authentic findings generated by their fore-runners in an attempt to gain prominence in academia (Smeyers et al, 2014). Critics must examine both the findings with a sober eye so as to gain a more balanced understanding of the situation at hand.

Debates and Public Scrutiny

In 1998, researchers reported that people were much happier when they held a pen with their teeth. This was depicted when they watched cartoons; they found the cartoons funnier when the pens with their teeth as opposed to them holding it with their lips. The import of this is that the forced smile on the mouth perhaps sent signals to the brain and thereby stimulated hormones of happiness. The article of this research was cited nearly 1500 times according to Google Scholar statistics (Brockmann, et al, 2013). However, repeat experiments involving seventeen labs that were independent in which over two thousand participants took part found out that there was no relationship between the position of the mouth and the state of happiness. The lead author of the original research expressed shock at the findings and raised pertinent concerns including the fact that the participants were filmed during the repeat exercise and their consciousness in being examined may have interfered with their emotions and by extension, the research findings.


Such is the volatility of carrying out social research; so many factors affect the final results of the research done. There have also been concerns about the selection process involved in identifying the experiments to be replicated. So far there has not been record of proper random selection process while selecting cases. With the absence of such information, there have arisen fears that the choice of replicated cases was strongly biased against those researches that the involved people thought to least likely to pass the test (Cook, 2014). This thinking even complicates matters and spreads the notion that social psychology research findings cannot be fully trusted. Psychology students and young professionals getting into psychological research are likely to have their morale lowered by these sentiments. Professionals in this field need to take deliberate public education regarding the special circumstances that a social psychological researcher has to work under so that the public at large can appreciate the benefits such scholars bring in our social milieu.  Such campaigns could help prospective researchers in this field to increase their efforts at refining their research designs and tools to arrive at findings that are appreciative of the volatile nature of this discipline (Jenkins, 2014).

The ongoing discussion does not imply that it is difficult to achieve replication in social psychology. The infamous Milgram experiment that concluded that participants were so loyal to authority that they were willing to “electrocute” an innocent person on being given orders was replicated a century later. This was despite the research taking place in different contexts of history and participants. First conducted in the early 60s based on the conduct of Nazi underlings, it was repeated in a different context and surprisingly yielded the same results (Begue L., et al, 2015) This proves that social psychological research can be scientific regardless of time lag and contexts. However, it is possible that scholars trying to reproduce the Milgram experiment would achieve different results today.

The Complexity of Studying Human Nature


However, the dynamic nature of human beings, which is the subject of all research in social psychology, should not be an excuse for shoddy research by concerned researchers. Every individual who undertakes research should know that he has a duty towards society to exercise professionalism and thoroughness in his research endeavors. Given the interest that the replication debate has generated, it will be prudent for respected researchers in this field to guide future discourse regarding the discipline. They could in this respect establish structures that guide publication of research findings especially in popular journals. This will limit undue criticisms especially from uninformed social media commentators who may have no idea about the possible damage they may cause especially among young researchers in this field. With this in mind, the chaff and the wheat, figuratively speaking, will be distinguished with regard to criticism.

Conclusion

There is no actual crisis of replication in social science research. The major criticisms that have been observed in research findings stem from the proximity it has to human existence. Although all disciplines study human existence in various contexts, none touches the heart of life like social psychology. As such studies in this field will touch on human attitudes and motivations in relation to the social processes like socialization, marriage, work among others. It is clear to all that the nature of these processes keeps mutating based of factors responsible for human progress. It will therefore be unreasonable to expect research findings about motives on work during the historic era to apply in modern times; nature of work has changed and even social structures taken new shapes. With such understanding, it will become obvious that the ‘replication crisis’ being observed in social psychology is not unique to the discipline but is prevalent across varied disciplines.

References

Abelson, R. P., Frey, K. P., & Gregg, A. P. (2014). Experiments with people: Revelations from social psychology. Psychology Press.

Anderson, C. J., Bahník, Š., Barnett-Cowan, M., Bosco, F. A., Chandler, J., Chartier, C. R., ... & Della Penna, N. (2016). Response to comment on “estimating the reproducibility of psychological science”. Science, 351(6277), 1037-1037.

Bègue, L., Beauvois, J. L., Courbet, D., Oberlé, D., Lepage, J., & Duke, A. A. (2015). Personality predicts obedience in a Milgram paradigm. Journal of Personality, 83(3), 299-306.

Brockmann, H., & Delhey, J. (Eds.). (2013). Human Happiness and the Pursuit of Maximization: Is More Always Better?. Springer Science & Business Media.

Cook, B. G. (2014). A call for examining replication and bias in special education research. Remedial and Special Education, 35(4), 233-246.

Denscombe, M. (2014). The good research guide: for small-scale social research projects. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Jenkins, R. (2014). Social identity. Routledge.

Maxwell, S. E., Lau, M. Y., & Howard, G. S. (2015). Is psychology suffering from a replication crisis? What does “failure to replicate” really mean?. American Psychologist, 70(6), 487.

McDougall, W. (2015). An introduction to social psychology. Psychology Press.

Parker, I., & Shotter, J. (Eds.). (2015). Deconstructing social psychology (Vol. 21). Psychology Press.

Sherif, M. (2015). Group conflict and co-operation: Their social psychology (Vol. 29). Psychology Press. McDougall, W. (2015). An introduction to social psychology. Psychology Press.

Smeyers, P., De Ruyter, D. J., Waghid, Y., & Strand, T. (2014). Publish yet perish: On the pitfalls of philosophy of education in an age of impact factors. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 33(6), 647-666.

Smith, E. R., Mackie, D. M., & Claypool, H. M. (2014). Social psychology. Psychology Press.

Smith, J. A. (Ed.). (2015). Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods. Sage.

Sorlie, P. D., Sholinsky, P. D., & Lauer, M. S. (2015). Reinvestment in Government-Funded Research.

Taylor, S. J., Bogdan, R., & DeVault, M. (2015). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

My Assignment Help. (2018). Is There A Replication Crisis In Social Psychology?. Retrieved from https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/replication-crisis-in-social-psychology.

"Is There A Replication Crisis In Social Psychology?." My Assignment Help, 2018, https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/replication-crisis-in-social-psychology.

My Assignment Help (2018) Is There A Replication Crisis In Social Psychology? [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/replication-crisis-in-social-psychology
[Accessed 24 July 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Is There A Replication Crisis In Social Psychology?' (My Assignment Help, 2018) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/replication-crisis-in-social-psychology> accessed 24 July 2024.

My Assignment Help. Is There A Replication Crisis In Social Psychology? [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2018 [cited 24 July 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/replication-crisis-in-social-psychology.

Get instant help from 5000+ experts for
question

Writing: Get your essay and assignment written from scratch by PhD expert

Rewriting: Paraphrase or rewrite your friend's essay with similar meaning at reduced cost

Editing: Proofread your work by experts and improve grade at Lowest cost

loader
250 words
Phone no. Missing!

Enter phone no. to receive critical updates and urgent messages !

Attach file

Error goes here

Files Missing!

Please upload all relevant files for quick & complete assistance.

Plagiarism checker
Verify originality of an essay
essay
Generate unique essays in a jiffy
Plagiarism checker
Cite sources with ease
support
Whatsapp
callback
sales
sales chat
Whatsapp
callback
sales chat
close