Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Contest: WORST EXAMPLE of Psychological Science Writing

I wonder if this happens to the rest of you: you're glancing through your daily social media feed, or the newspaper, or your email, and to stumble upon a really awful article about psychology (or claims to be about psychology). It's usually a summary of research that is either horribly incomplete, or flat out wrong. Does that happen to you?

It happens to me. Often. My usual response is to tweet it out there with some expression of frustration ("Ugh" "Argh!!" "No!!!" etc.) but maybe it's time to collaborate and ramp up our responses.

If you find an article, blog post, etc. that makes some horrifying claim related to psychology, please either put it in the comments here or send me the link at I'll work on making some sort of "Hall of Shame." Might turn into a good activity for students? They could play "find the worst mistake?"

Here's my nomination for the Hall of Shame:

I think I counted ONE sentence that is probably completely correct (for the record: it's the first sentence). The rest of it... oh my. I'm not a bio-psychologist, but even I can spot the over generalizations, misrepresentations, and general goofiness in there. Whew. (thanks to @Neuro_Skeptic for finding the article - if you don't follow her/his twitter feed, you should!)

posted by Rob McEntarffer


mvita said...

LOVE THIS IDEA!!!! Thanks Rob!

Hunter Clary said...

This JUST came out today. You must have ESP.

Amy Ramponi said...

This. THIS is the worst science I've ever read. The "Drunkest City in America" is apparently my town - based on the worst science ever. Self-report data, median family income, traffic deaths per capita, and early death #s.


And some of the cities are listed as one city - and they're like 30 miles apart. What?

I read somewhere that a list of "drunkest cities" that doesn't include New Orleans, LA is bunk.

THIS is bad science.

Amy Ramponi said...

Oops...the article