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A new accelerator aims to bring big science to psychology

first_imgA study of human faces will kick off the Psychological Science Accelerator. Valerie Everett/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) A study of how people perceive human faces will kick off a new initiative to massively scale up, accelerate, and reproduce psychology studies.The initiative—dubbed the “Psychological Science Accelerator” (PSA)—has so far forged alliances with more than 170 laboratories on six continents in a bid to enhance the ability of researchers to collect data at multiple sites on a massive scale. It is led by psychologist Christopher Chartier of Ashland University in Ohio, who says he wants to tackle a long-standing problem: the “tentative, preliminary results” produced by small studies conducted in relatively isolated laboratories. Such studies “just aren’t getting the job done,” he says, and PSA’s goal is to enable researchers to expand their reach and collect “large-scale confirmatory data” at many sites.To gain access to the accelerator, researchers submit proposals to Chartier, who then forwards anonymized versions of submissions to a five-member selection committee. It considers factors such as how important the research question is, what impact it might have on the field, and how feasible data collection would be. Promising proposals are then passed to other committees—totaling more than 40 people—for feedback. The initial panel then makes the final call. PSA received eight proposals in its first round, and late last month approved its first study. Suggested by psychologists Benedict Jones and Lisa DeBruine of the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, it aims to discover whether the research findings of Alexander Todorov, a psychologist at Princeton University, can be replicated on a global scale. Todorov has reported that people rank human faces on two components: valence and dominance. Valence is a measure of trustworthiness, whereas dominance is a measure of physical strength. Todorov’s findings have been successfully replicated in the United States and in the United Kingdom, the two researchers say. Now, they want to tap PSA’s network to see whether they hold up in other parts of the world. “We think this deserves an answer on a global scale,” Chartier says.More than 50 of PSA’s collaborating labs have already committed to collect data as part of the study. And Chartier notes that once the results are ready, the collective will publicly release all its data. This should help eliminate the problem of publication bias—where positive results are published but negative results are ignored—which is an especially thorny issue in so-called meta-analyses of multiple studies. Chartier says all PSA-collected data and experimental material will be open access by default (with exceptions for sensitive subjects), and researchers will preregister their studies, allowing peer reviewers to examine methods and proposed analyses before experiments begin.Because of the large number of collaborators, PSA studies are likely to have hundreds of authors. And that could pose a problem for researchers seeking to use the studies to qualify for tenure or secure promotions. “One potential concern is that the reward system in science is not ready to accommodate large-scale collaboration,” says Brian Nosek, executive director of the Center for Open Science in Charlottesville, Virginia. But he believes “the dramatic gains that these projects will demonstrate will inspire change in the reward systems.”PSA isn’t the only effort aiming to change how researchers conduct psychological studies, which have received extensive criticism for a lack of reproducibility. Others include the Many Labs Replication Project and the Pipeline Project. Earlier this year, Chartier also launched StudySwap, an online platform designed to help researchers find collaborators for replication studies and exchange resources.center_img By Dalmeet Singh ChawlaNov. 8, 2017 , 4:40 PM A new ‘accelerator’ aims to bring big science to psychology Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more