I’m disappointed: A graduate student’s perspective

I recently created this blog, and I had no intention of writing my first post about the replication conversation (if you need to catch up, David Johnson just posted links to everything here), especially because all of the points I would make have already been made and I’m getting tired of reading the same arguments over and over.

But, I* do feel the need to say: I am disappointed in our field right now. As a graduate student in training for a career in Social/Personality Psychology, you (i.e., established researchers) are the people I am learning from. I should be able to look up to and model your professionalism, passion, and dedication to science. But instead, I am reading personal attacks, inappropriate references to respected historical figures (i.e., Rosa Parks), and a conversation focused on reputations as opposed to the purpose and pursuit of scientific principles. Of course, not every comment/post meets these criteria, but enough do that, only 2 years into graduate school, I’m already starting to question what it is that we, as scientists, are doing.

SO, I urge that the conversation move forward. Discuss, for example, the potential diversity problem in this conversation. I also want to point out that all of this (at least what I’ve seen most recently…) is about ONE of the fifteen replications published in this special issue. Perhaps we could focus on what we’ve learned from the others?

*I should point out that I am biased in many ways, and not important in any, so feel free to just ignore me. Also, I’m continuing my graduate education at Michigan State in the fall (where the debated replication came from), so again: biased.

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5 responses to “I’m disappointed: A graduate student’s perspective

  1. “But, I* do feel the need to say: I am disappointed in our field right now. As a graduate student in training for a career in Social/Personality Psychology, you (i.e., established researchers) are the people I am learning from. I should be able to look up to and model your professionalism, passion, and dedication to science. But instead, I am reading personal attacks, inappropriate references to respected historical figures (i.e., Rosa Parks), and a conversation focused on reputations as opposed to the purpose and pursuit of scientific principles. Of course, not every comment/post meets these criteria, but enough do that, only 2 years into graduate school, I’m already starting to question what it is that we, as scientists, are doing.”

    Thank you for writing this! As a jobless behavioural scientist, this whole discussion also makes me wonder about whether I still want to even be a part of this all. Is this science or is it about careers, who you’re friends with, and opinions?

  2. 50 years ago, students like you wanted to understand human behavior and were made to study rats in skinner boxes. Then the cognitive revolution came and students trained in animal behavior wondered what it was all about. Consider yourself lucky to feel frustrated right now rather than being happy. You are young enough to contribute to the building of a better science. Ignore Gilbert and others. They are as important to the future of psychology as Skinner in 1980. Also, consider yourself luck to be at MSU rather than … (to be polite).

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  5. I guess… welcome to Human Nature 101? I’m pretty sure we were all expecting this kind of fall-out to happen. Transparency opens up the possibility for other people to find out that we are wrong. And nobody likes to admit they are wrong in public, so let the lynching begin!.

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