Claimed Research Findings May Often Be Simple Accurate Measures of the Prevailing Bias
Pretty amazing quote from a paper in PLoS medicine, titled ‘Why Most Published Research Findings Are False’. I haven’t read all of the paper, but I do know lost of research findings are not as certain or correct as claimed by the authors. And in most cases,authors are aware of this. It’s just that like everything, research needs to be sold. To be successful in science you need publications in prominent magazines. And for a magazine to be successful it needs to sell copies, and copies are sold by marketing. So for instance, when Horowitz and Wolfe wrote ‘Visual search has no memory’ , I’m sure they were just exaggerating for the sake of sales. Just like Peterson and Kramer when they obstinately claimed that ‘Visual search has memory’ in their paper of 2001. You can almost hear them scream at each other:
‘it has not!’
‘Well, then you can’t come to my birthday!’
‘Moooom!, he’s teasing me again!’
In fact, neither of these people are very sure, they probably don’t even think the other is very wrong at all. But all is fair in the love of science and the subsequent war for publications, status and research grants. Yep, unfortunately science is not simply the idealistic search for truth and knowledge I thought it was when I fell in love with it. Sometimes it’s just like any other business.