Archive for March 23rd, 2012

From the faculty lounge: False Positives

March 23, 2012

Punch line: Sometimes, published academic research results are flat out wrong.  Hmmm.

Excerpted from HBR’s Daily Stat: Researchers Can Easily “Prove” False Findings
Using legitimate statistical analyses, researchers were able to show in an experiment that participants were nearly 1.5 years younger after listening to the Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four” than after listening to a song that comes with the Windows 7 operating system …

… an obviously ridiculous finding that demonstrates how easy it is for research to yield “false positives,” say Joseph P. Simmons and Uri Simonsohn of The Wharton School and Leif D. Nelson of UC Berkeley.

Too often, researchers aren’t aware of the high likelihood of finding false evidence, and the pressure to publish leads scientists to convince themselves of the validity of their findings, the authors say.
Source: False-Positive Psychology : Undisclosed Flexibility in Data Collection and Analysis Allows Presenting Anything as Significant

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

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Watch out for the boomerang effect …

March 23, 2012

“Boomerang kids” are young adults who move out of the family home for school or work and then return home.

According to the Cristian Science Monitor, a Pew Report indicates that the recession has exacerbated a trend that was already under way since the 1980s.

  • In 1980, some 11 percent of young adults lived in multigenerational households.
  • Today, some 29 percent of 25- to 34-year olds either never moved out of their parents’ home or say they returned home in recent years.
  • Among 18- to 24-year olds, that figure is even higher – 53 percent of young adults in that age group live at home.

Of those living at home, some 78 percent say they’re upbeat about their living arrangements … 24 percent say it’s been good for their relationships with their parents.

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