Scientists replicated 100 recent psychology experiments. More than half of them failed.

Replication is one of the foundational ideas behind science. It’s when researchers take older studies and reproduce them to see if the findings hold up.

Testing, validating, retesting: It’s all part of the slow and grinding process to arrive at some semblance of scientific truth.

Yet it seems that way too often, when we hear about researchers trying to replicate studies, they simply flop or flounder. Some have even called this a “crisis of irreproducibility.”

Consider the newest evidence: a landmark study published today in the journal Science. More than 270 researchers from around the world came together to replicate 100 recent findings from top psychology journals. By one measure, only 36 percent showed results that were consistent with the original findings. In other words, many more than half of the replications failed.

The results of this study may actually be too generous

“The results are more or less consistent with what we’ve seen in other fields,” said Ivan Oransky, one of the founders of the blog Retraction Watch, which tracks scientific retractions. Still, he applauded the effort: “Because the authors worked with the original researchers and repeated the experiments, the paper is an example of the gold standard of replication.”


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