Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's Been Done

I'm not the first to point out the absurdly-small sample sizes of social-science research. Tversky and Kahneman (seen via The Wall Street Journal) beat me to it by several decades.

On the other hand, their sample size was only 84. On the gripping hand, that might be a dividing line between social-science research that should be taken seriously and social-science research that should be regarded as tentative.

One more point: My usual reaction to reports of research on cognitive bias is to wonder why we don't see more research into the cognitive biases of psychologists. It turns out they've done such research, at least as far as the cognitive bias of believing in small samples is concerned. The problem is that it isn't as widely reported as first-order cognitive-bias research.

Has there been any research done on the cognitive biases of science reporters? (I wouldn't be surprised to find there has been such research and the reporters don't mention it … for obvious reasons.)

No comments:

Post a Comment