Real crisis in psychology isn’t that studies don’t replicate, but that we usually don’t even try

first_imgLinkedIn Share on Twitter Psychology is still digesting the implications of a large study published last month, in which a team led by University of Virginia’s Brian Nosek repeated 100 psychological experiments and found that only 36% of originally “significant” (in the statistical sense) results were replicated.Commentators are divided over how much to worry about the news. Some psychologists have suggested that the field is in “crisis,” a claim that others (such as Northeastern University psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett) have flatly denied.What can we make of such divergence of opinion? Is the discipline in crisis or not? Not in the way that some seemed to suggest, but that doesn’t mean substantial changes aren’t needed. Pinterest Mixing up what the study really tells usCertainly the fact that 64% of the findings were found unstable is surprising and disconcerting. But some of the more sensational press response has been disappointing.Over at The Guardian, a headline writer implied the study delivered a “bleak verdict on validity of psychology experiment results.” Meanwhile an article in The Independent claimed that much of “psychology research really is just psycho-babble.”And everywhere there was the term “failure to replicate,” a subtly sinister phrasing that makes nonreplication sound necessarily like a bad thing, as though “success” in replication were the goal of science. “Psychology can’t be trusted,” runs the implicit narrative here, “the people conducting these experiments have been wasting their time.”Reactions like this tied themselves up in a logical confusion; to believe that nonreplication demonstrated the failure of psychology is incoherent, as it entails a privileging of this latest set of results over the earlier ones. This can’t be right: it makes no sense to put stock in a new set of experimental results if you think their main lesson is to cast doubt on all experimental findings.Experiments should be considered in the aggregate, with conclusions most safely drawn from multiple demonstrations of any given finding.Running experiments is like flipping a coin to establish whether it is biased. Flipping it 20 times, and finding it comes up heads for 17 of them, might start to raise your suspicions. But extreme results like this are actually more likely when the number of flips is lower. You would want to try that coin many more times before feeling confident enough to wager that something funny is going on. Failure to replicate your majority of heads in a sample of 100 flips would indicate just that you hadn’t flipped the coin enough to make a safe conclusion the first time around.This need for aggregation is the basis of an argument advanced by Stanford’s John Ioannidis, a medical researcher who proposed 10 years ago that most published research findings (not just those in psychology) are false. Ioannidis highlights the positive side of facing up to something he and many other people have suspected for a while. He also points out that psychology is almost certainly not alone among scientific disciplines.Real crisis is we don’t try to replicate enoughThe fact is, psychology has long been aware that replication is a good idea. Its importance is evident in the longstanding practice of researchers creating systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses (statistical aggregations of existing published findings) to give one another broader understandings of the field. Researchers just haven’t been abiding by best practice. As psychologist Vaughan Bell pointed out, a big part of Nosek’s achievement was in the logistical challenge of getting such a huge study done with so many cooperating researchers.This brings us to the actual nature of the crisis revealed by the Science study; what Nosek and his colleagues showed is that psychologists need to be doing more to try to replicate their work if they want a better understanding of how much of it is reliable. Unfortunately, as journalist Ed Yong pointed out in his Atlantic coverage of the Nosek study (and in a reply to Barrett’s op-ed) there are several powerful professional disincentives to actually running the same experiments again. In a nutshell, the profession rewards publications and journals publish results which are new and counter-intuitive. The problem is compounded by the media, which tend to disseminate experimental findings as unquestionable “discoveries” or even God-given truths.So though psychology (and very likely not only psychology) most certainly has something of a crisis on its hands, it is not a crisis of the discipline’s methodology or rules. Two of the study’s authors made some suggestions for improvement on The Conversation, including incentives for more open research practices and even obligatory openness with data and preregistration of experiments. These recommendations reiterate what methods specialists have said for years. Hopefully the discussion stirred up by Nosek and colleagues’ efforts will also inspire others.In essence, everyone agrees that experimental coin flipping is a reasonable way to proceed. This study exposed a flaw of the discipline’s sociology, of what people actually do and why they do it. Put another way, psychologists have already developed a perfectly effective system for conducting research; the problem is that so few of them really use it.Huw Green, PhD Student and Trainee Clinical Psychologist at the Graduate Center, City University of New YorkThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.center_img Share Share on Facebook Emaillast_img read more

Brain waves may be spread by weak electrical field

first_imgShare on Facebook Researchers at Case Western Reserve University may have found a new way information is communicated throughout the brain.Their discovery could lead to identifying possible new targets to investigate brain waves associated with memory and epilepsy and better understand healthy physiology.They recorded neural spikes traveling at a speed too slow for known mechanisms to circulate throughout the brain. The only explanation, the scientists say, is the wave is spread by a mild electrical field they could detect. Computer modeling and in-vitro testing support their theory. “Others have been working on such phenomena for decades, but no one has ever made these connections,” said Steven J. Schiff, director of the Center for Neural Engineering at Penn State University, who was not involved in the study. “The implications are that such directed fields can be used to modulate both pathological activities, such as seizures, and to interact with cognitive rhythms that help regulate a variety of processes in the brain.”Scientists Dominique Durand, Elmer Lincoln Lindseth Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Case School of Engineering and leader of the research, former graduate student Chen Sui and current PhD students Rajat Shivacharan and Mingming Zhang, report their findings in The Journal of Neuroscience.“Researchers have thought that the brain’s endogenous electrical fields are too weak to propagate wave transmission,” Durand said. “But it appears the brain may be using the fields to communicate without synaptic transmissions, gap junctions or diffusion.”How the fields may workComputer modeling and testing on mouse hippocampi (the central part of the brain associated with memory and spatial navigation) in the lab indicate the field begins in one cell or group of cells.Although the electrical field is of low amplitude, the field excites and activates immediate neighbors, which, in turn, excite and activate immediate neighbors, and so on across the brain at a rate of about 0.1 meter per second.Blocking the endogenous electrical field in the mouse hippocampus and increasing the distance between cells in the computer model and in-vitro both slowed the speed of the wave.These results, the researchers say, confirm that the propagation mechanism for the activity is consistent with the electrical field.Because sleep waves and theta waves–which are associated with forming memories during sleep–and epileptic seizure waves travel at about 1 meter per second, the researchers are now investigating whether the electrical fields play a role in normal physiology and in epilepsy.If so, they will try to discern what information the fields may be carrying. Durand’s lab is also investigating where the endogenous spikes come from. LinkedIn Share on Twittercenter_img Email Share Pinterestlast_img read more

NEWS SCAN: Preserving smallpox, countermeasure vaccines, public health cuts, polio steps, malaria in Rwanda, H1N1 immune response

first_imgMar 21, 2011Biodefense expert recommends keeping smallpox stockpilesAnother smallpox expert has weighed in on the fate of the world’s remaining reserves of smallpox viruses, saying it would be unwise to destroy them lest potential discoveries be missed. In the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, Raymond Weinstein, a clinical associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, and a research professor at George Mason University in Manassas, Va., writes, “Recent studies suggest that variola and its experimental surrogate, vaccinia, have a remarkable ability to modify the human immune response through complex mechanisms that scientists are only just beginning to unravel.” He cites recent research that indicates HIV might have been suppressed by circulating smallpox viruses and says, “Eliminating all known remaining smallpox stocks might hinder ongoing research in this direction.” Weinstein, whose research focuses on infectious diseases and biodefense, also adds as another important reason to maintain smallpox stockpiles, “Today’s science is capable, through genetic manipulation, of re-creating a highly virulent smallpox-like virus from a closely related poxvirus or even from scratch. But perhaps what we should fear even more is nature creating it for us.” The only known remaining stocks of smallpox virus reside in the United States and Russia.Mar 18 Emerg Infect Dis articleDoD grant supports tests of simultaneous countermeasure vaccinationInovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Blue Bell, Pa., today announced that it has received a US Department of Defense (DoD) grant to test the simultaneous delivery of DNA-based vaccines with the company’s intradermal electroporation delivery system. The company said in a press release that the goal is to reduce potential immune interference that could occur when combination vaccines are formulated together. It said the device would allow the DoD, as well as the civilian population, to more quickly vaccinate troops against emerging disease or pandemic threats. The grant will allow the company to determine the optimal distance on the body between vaccination sites. Final testing will involve the delivery of Lassa and Hantaan virus vaccines simultaneously at different body sites. An earlier study on the vaccine combination suggested the two DNA vaccines worked well individually but lost potency when combined.Mar 21 Inovio press releaseLocal health departments lose 19% of workforceLocal health departments have lost almost a fifth of their workforce since 2008, posing a “staggering challenge” to keeping Americans safe and healthy, according to a survey released today by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). NACCHO surveyed 2,107 local health departments (LHD; 82% response rate) from September to November 2010 on budget, staffing, and program cuts, and followed up with a randomized subset of 440 (74% response rate) in January 2011 on staffing issues only. The survey found that 6,000 LHD jobs were eliminated last year, bringing the total since 2008 to 29,000, or 19% of the LHD workforce. In addition 18,000 employees had their hours reduced. Forty percent of LHDs reduced services in at least one area, with maternal and child health the most frequently affected program. “These annual budget cuts and job losses threaten the ability of local health departments to prepare for and respond to emergencies, and provide basic services that all individuals and families count on,” said NACCHO Executive Director Robert M. Pestronk in a press release.Mar 21 NACCHO press releaseNACCHO job loss survey findingsPolio vaccine campaign targets Somalian childrenThe United Nations (UN), its international partners, and local healthcare workers yesterday launched a polio vaccination campaign in Somalia with a goal of reaching more than 1.8 million young children. The UN said in a press release that Somalia has been polio-free for 4 years but is at risk of importing the virus from other countries such as Nigeria, where it still circulates. The 3-day campaign is the first of two polio immunization drives slated for this year, and officials hope to include 800,000 children in Somalia’s south-central region who missed receiving the vaccine last year. Dr Martha Everard, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Somalia, said in the statement that the success so far shows that the disease can be eradicated, even in the most challenging settings, such as Somalia, where political insecurity threatens several regions.Mar 20 UN press releaseIn a related development, Nigeria received a $60 million credit from the World Bank to help it eradicate polio, according to a Mar 17 statement. The World Bank said Nigeria is at a pivotal moment, because it experienced a 95% drop in polio cases from 2009 to 2010. It said despite the dramatic drop, polio immunization campaigns need to extend into 2011, given that the risk of resurgence remains high. The World Bank credit is Nigeria’s third for polio. The funds allow the country to continue a “buy down” provision in which other partners such as the UN Fund and Rotary International, convert the credit into a grant, based on Nigeria’s meeting predetermined conditions.Mar 17 World Bank press releaseRwanda sees drop in malaria infectionsA group reviewing Rwanda’s progress toward eliminating malaria recently reported that the country has reduced the disease burden by 70% between 2001 and 2010, the New Times, a daily newspaper based in Rwanda, reported today. The group reported other positive indicators, such as improvements in case management and greater numbers of children receiving rapid treatment for malaria infections. Dr Corrine Karema, with Rwanda’s national disease control center, told the Times nearly all households own mosquito nets, but more campaigns are needed to support their use. At a stakeholders meeting, officials signed a statement agreeing to work together to battle the malaria threat.Mar 21 New Times storyIn other developments, Canadian officials on Mar 18 announced that scientists from the country’s National Research Council (NRC), based in Saskatoon, have achieved a breakthrough in a public-private effort to produce the malaria drug artemisinin more quickly and more affordably for developing countries. The plant that is used to make the drug grows primarily in Africa and Asia and is difficult to grow quickly when demand is high. NRC scientists discovered genes in the plant’s metabolic pathway that are being used along with a yeast production platform developed at the University of California, Berkeley, to produce large amounts of artemisinic acid, a key ingredient used to synthesize the drug. The discovery came from an Institute for OneWorld Health initiative, which was supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.Mar 18 NRC press releaseVaccine, disease lead to similar novel H1N1 immune responseChildren receiving one dose of pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine had similar antibody responses to children who had contracted the disease, and immunocompromised children required two doses to achieve the same immune response, according to a Swiss study. Researchers studied 48 healthy and 27 immunocompromised children who received the Pandemrix (made by GlaxoSmithKline) or Focetria (Novartis) H1N1 vaccine, as well as 51 convalescent children. Both vaccines contained adjuvants. The vaccinated children’s median age was 10.5, compared with 9.0 for the convalescent children. The 48 healthy vaccinated children had seroprotection rates of 98% as measured by hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) and microneutralization (MN) assays 4 to 6 weeks after vaccination, compared with 98% by HAI and 92% by MN in the 51 convalescent children 4 to 6 weeks after disease onset. The immunocompromised children had slightly lower seroprotection rates (HAI, 89%; MN, 85%) but similar antibody titers after two vaccine doses. The study also found that adverse events increased with age and were more prevalent with Pandemrix.Mar 17 Vaccine abstractlast_img read more

Green brings Arcadia chic to Bhs department stores

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Ratermann Manufacturing releases new catalog

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

Treasury Secretary Visits Ellicott Dredges

first_imgU.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, joined by Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, yesterday visited Ellicott Dredges, a South Baltimore manufacturer of dredging equipment.The Cabinet secretary toured the company that has designed and made more than 2,500 dredges for customers in more than 80 countries for functions such as harbor and navigation maintenance, river and channel dredging, erosion control, environmental cleanup, sand mining, etc.“Ellicott’s equipment is heavily used in developing countries, where their machines help in mining, environmental cleanup and acquisition of raw materials,” said Craig Murdock, Ellicott’s general manager.“I always look forward to visiting companies that manufacture in Maryland. Our visit to Ellicott Dredges, LLC in Baltimore highlights The White House and my commitment to fostering economic growth and investing in American infrastructure,” said Senator Ben Cardin.“Dredging is critically important to shipping power houses like the Port of Baltimore as well as the over all health of the Chesapeake‬ Bay,” added Cardin.The company, founded in 1885 and located on Bush Street since 1900, is the largest maker of dredging equipment in the United States.[mappress mapid=”20086″]last_img read more

Immigration Advisory Service in administration

first_imgThe Immigration Advisory Service, a charity that gives telephone advice to 36,000 clients and opens 7,000 appeal files every year, went into administration over the weekend. Cuts to legal aid are thought to be one reason for the charity’s financial problems. According to its 2009 annual report, the IAS employs 372 people. A Legal Services Commission spokesman said: ‘The IAS’s decision to go into administration is theirs alone. ‘During recent stewardship activities the LSC raised concerns around financial management and claims irregularities, which prompted IAS trustees to conclude that the organisation was no longer financially viable. ‘Our priority now is to work closely with IAS and the administrators to ensure clients of IAS continue to get the help they need, whilst safeguarding public money. ‘We are now identifying alternative advice provision in the areas affected and arrangements for case transfer will follow as soon as possible.’ The IAS has not yet issued a formal statement and was not answering the telephone this morning. The Law Society has warned that thousands of clients will be without representation.last_img read more

Baku looks to Antwerp

first_imgConstruction of Baku’s new port began in November 2010 and is being carried out in three phases. By the end of the first phase, the transhipment volume of the port is expected to stand at 25 million tonnes annually.The two subsidiaries of Antwerp Port Authority will support the Baku port management with training, as well as provide assistance with planning the new port and associated logistics zone.www.portofantwerp.comwww.bakuseaport.azlast_img

Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life DVD review

first_imgCredit: Pecca PicsElkana Yonatan Langer is better known by his porn performer name Jonathan Agassi. An Israeli-born adult performer who rose to fame as part of the notorious Lucas Film brand, Jonathan has won numerous awards for his work. This new documentary by Tomer Heymann follows Jonathan over the span of 8 years as he continues to work in porn and side hustles as an escort to make ends meet and support his family.The title Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life is a line that Jonathan utters early on in the documentary, explaining that being that character allowed him to express himself in a way he never could before. It also allows him to separate himself from the deeply trouble Elkana Yonatan Langer, or at least that’s what he initially thinks. Often it’s easy to forget that porn stars are actually human beings with real problems and feelings. Most people see them as an object of lust or a way to gratify themselves, without any consideration of the person behind the enviable muscles, abs and good looks.Credit: Pecca PicsWhat Heymann does with Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life is peel back the layers to reveal a performer who appears to be on top of the world but in actuality, he’s struggling to hold everything together. While winning awards for his work in porn, Jonathan is battling behind the scenes over long-held emotional issues related to his absent father. He enjoys a close relationship with his mother, who is aware of his profession, and throughout the documentary she appears to support him or to lend him a shoulder via Skype when he needs it.Living away in Berlin while his mother is back in Tel Aviv, Jonathan believes he’s doing what he needs to in order to help his mother financially. In reality he uses his work in porn and as an escort as a way of rebelling against a father who never accepted him for who he is. Numbing his pain with drugs, there are times when Jonathan isn’t even aware of his own actions and this culminates in the film’s final moments, which are heartbreaking and difficult to watch.Credit: Pecca PicsDuring the film we do get to see Jonathan interacting with his father and it’s a lot less confrontational than you expect from the build-up. Once he’s with his father, he reverts back to the little boy that sought his approval and he doesn’t really fight his corner. What he does do is report everything back to his mother, and it feels like Jonathan has a need for his pain to be shared by those around him as if that makes it somehow more manageable for him.Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life definitely reinforces the idea that porn performers are often masking a tragic or difficult background. While this is true for Jonathan, I’m not entirely convinced it’s the case for every person who works in the industry. At times fascinating, at others completely bewildering, Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life is a stark look at a porn star who seemingly has it all but behind closed doors he’s a complete and utter mess. Will the penny finally drop for him? You’ll have to check the documentary out to find out.Cast: Jonathan Agassi Director: Tomer Heymann Certificate: 18 Duration: 105 mins Released by: Peccadillo Pictures Release date: 18th November 2019 Buy Jonathan Agassi Saved My Lifelast_img read more

RADWIN Unveils First Ever All-In-One Communication & Power Solution for Smart Cities

first_imgGlobal wireless broadband provider, RADWIN has released Smart-Node, an outdoor communications and power solution that reduces costs and accelerates the roll-out of smart-city, IoT and telecom projects. The all-in-one Smart-Node solution offers a wide variety of power and networking interfaces including fiber and an array of radio technologies to connect multiple devices such as CCTV cameras, Wi-Fi access points and IoT sensors. Bridging the gap between broadband and IoT applications, Smart-Node enables easy integration with 3rd party devices to support multiple applications ranging from city surveillance, smart-lighting, smart-metering, waste management and more. It is a remarkably compact, IP-67 protection-grade solution that guarantees low visual impact for street-level deployments and high reliability to withstand extreme temperatures and tough environments.Today, in order to connect equipment required for smart city projects, system integrators and solution providers need to build hardware and software solutions from scratch. This is a time-consuming process that typically results in high costs and compromised performance. To address these challenges, RADWIN offers a ready-to-install solution with a unified management system for monitoring and controlling all power, networking and alarms. This eliminates costly truck rolls and cuts down on operational expenses.RADWIN Smart-Node will be available for purchase from January 2018.last_img read more