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Assessing Theoretical Conclusions With Blinded Inference to Investigate a Potential Inference Crisis


Starns, Jeffrey J; Cataldo, Andrea M; Rotello, Caren M; et al; Mizrak, Eda (2019). Assessing Theoretical Conclusions With Blinded Inference to Investigate a Potential Inference Crisis. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science:251524591986958.

Abstract

Scientific advances across a range of disciplines hinge on the ability to make inferences about unobservable theoretical entities on the basis of empirical data patterns. Accurate inferences rely on both discovering valid, replicable data patterns and accurately interpreting those patterns in terms of their implications for theoretical constructs. The replication crisis in science has led to widespread efforts to improve the reliability of research findings, but comparatively little attention has been devoted to the validity of inferences based on those findings. Using an example from cognitive psychology, we demonstrate a blinded-inference paradigm for assessing the quality of theoretical inferences from data. Our results reveal substantial variability in experts’ judgments on the very same data, hinting at a possible inference crisis.

Abstract

Scientific advances across a range of disciplines hinge on the ability to make inferences about unobservable theoretical entities on the basis of empirical data patterns. Accurate inferences rely on both discovering valid, replicable data patterns and accurately interpreting those patterns in terms of their implications for theoretical constructs. The replication crisis in science has led to widespread efforts to improve the reliability of research findings, but comparatively little attention has been devoted to the validity of inferences based on those findings. Using an example from cognitive psychology, we demonstrate a blinded-inference paradigm for assessing the quality of theoretical inferences from data. Our results reveal substantial variability in experts’ judgments on the very same data, hinting at a possible inference crisis.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:17 September 2019
Deposited On:06 Nov 2019 16:58
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 11:45
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:2515-2467
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/2515245919869583
Related URLs:https://osf.io/92ahy (Research Data)

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