A growing interest in and concern about the adequacy and fairness of modern peer-review practices in publication and funding are apparent across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Although questions about reliability, accountability, reviewer bias, and competence have been raised, there has been very little direct research on these variables.
In this paper we review the factors alleged to be responsible for the creation of inaccurate reports among preschool-aged children, focusing on so-called "source misattribution errors." We present the first round of results from an ongoing program of research that suggests that source misattributions could be a powerful mechanism underlying children′s false beliefs about having experienced fictitious events. Preliminary findings from this program of research indicate that all children of all ages are equally susceptible to making source misattributions. Data from (...) a follow-up wave of data indicate that very young children may be disproportionately vulnerable to these kinds of errors when the procedure is changed slightly to create mental images more easily. This vulnerability leads younger preschoolers, on occasion, to claim that they actually experienced events that they only thought about. These preliminary findings are discussed in the context of the ongoing debate over the veracity and durability of delayed reports of early memories, repressed memories, dissociative states, and the validity risks posed by therapeutic techniques that entail repeated visually guided imagery inductions. (shrink)
With growing concerns over children's suggestibility and how it may impact their reliability as witnesses, there is increasing interest in determining the long-term effects of induced memories. The goal of the present research was to learn whether source misattributions found by Ceci, Huffman, Smith, and Loftus caused permanent memory alterations in the subjects tested. When 22 children from the original study were reinterviewed 2 years later, they recalled 77% of all true events. However, they only consented to 13% of all (...) false events, compared to the 22% false consent rate found by Ceci et al. . Additionally, while children remained accurate in their recall of true events , they “recanted” their earlier false consents 77% of the time, after the 2-year delay. Implications of these findings for child witnesses and the legal system are discussed. (shrink)
We argue that Henrich et al. do not go far enough in their critique: Sample diversification, while important, will not lead to the detection of generalizable principles. For that it will be necessary to broaden the range of contexts in which data are gathered. We demonstrate the power of contexts to alter results even in the presence of sample diversification.
The behavioral sciences have come under attack for writings and speech that affront sensitivities. At such times, academic freedom and tenure are invoked to forestall efforts to censure and terminate jobs. We review the history and controversy surrounding academic freedom and tenure, and explore their meaning across different fields, at different institutions, and at different ranks. In a multifactoral experimental survey, 1,004 randomly selected faculty members from top-ranked institutions were asked how colleagues would typically respond when confronted with dilemmas concerning (...) teaching, research, and wrong-doing. Full professors were perceived as being more likely to insist on having the academic freedom to teach unpopular courses, research controversial topics, and whistle-blow wrong-doing than were lower-ranked professors (even associate professors with tenure). Everyone thought that others were more likely to exercise academic freedom than they themselves were, and that promotion to full professor was a better predictor of who would exercise academic freedom than was the awarding of tenure. Few differences emerged related either to gender or type of institution, and behavioral scientists' beliefs were similar to scholars from other fields. In addition, no support was found for glib celebrations of tenure's sanctification of broadly defined academic freedoms. These findings challenge the assumption that tenure can be justified on the basis of fostering academic freedom, suggesting the need for a re-examination of the philosophical foundation and practical implications of tenure in today's academy. (Published Online February 8 2007) Key Words: academia; academic freedom; ethical issues; faculty beliefs; professoriate; promotion; scientific misconduct; tenure; whistle-blowing. (shrink)
We present a theoretical model and corresponding research design (Bronfenbrenner & Ceci 1994) that could yield stronger evidence for (or perhaps against) Howe et al.'s conclusions. The model assesses levels of heritability (h²) under different amounts of training and practice, thus providing estimates of the independent contribution of “innate talent” to the quality of development outcomes. The design can also reveal the extent to which this independent contribution varies systematically as a function of other influential factors identified by Howe et (...) al. (shrink)
A pair of studies demonstrates that simply asking children to make a blatantly false accusation in the guise of helping others can result in both immediate and long-term false claims. In the pilot study, the initial willingness to make a blatantly false statement was associated with some children making false statements a week later despite being told that the first interviewer had made mistakes during the initial interview. On a positive note, the majority of participants accurately stated that they did (...) not have first-hand knowledge of their accusation's accuracy. Across both studies, the rate of false accusation rates was high. The main experiment demonstrated that children who were young, possessed the lowest verbal intelligence or who were from the lowest SES homes made the most accusations. These findings illustrate not only the dangers of encouraging children to make false statements, but the ease and durability of making such false statements. (shrink)