In case you still think that social psychology (the branch of pseudo-science that the mainstream media loves because it produces snappy, quotable, and completely idiotic “studies”) has some value, you have got to wake up:
The three social psychologists set up a test experiment, then played by current academic methodologies and widely permissible statistical rules. By going on what amounted to a fishing expedition (that is, by recording many, many variables but reporting only the results that came out to their liking); by failing to establish in advance the number of human subjects in an experiment; and by analyzing the data as they went, so they could end the experiment when the results suited them, they produced a howler of a result, a truly absurd finding. They then ran a series of computer simulations using other experimental data to show that these methods could increase the odds of a false-positive result—a statistical fluke, basically—to nearly two-thirds.
Read the entire article. It’s very good. And after you do, please stop quoting “studies” you read about in the NYTimes or a similarly unreliable publication.