Journal: BMC psychology
The PACE trial was a well-powered randomised trial designed to examine the efficacy of graded exercise therapy (GET) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for chronic fatigue syndrome. Reports concluded that both treatments were moderately effective, each leading to recovery in over a fifth of patients. However, the reported analyses did not consistently follow the procedures set out in the published protocol, and it is unclear whether the conclusions are fully justified by the evidence.
Some studies have indicated that social engagement is associated with better cognitive outcomes. This study aimed to investigate associations between life-course social engagement (civic participation) and cognitive status at age 50, adjusting for social networks and support, behavioural, health, social and socio-economic characteristics.
Despite widespread evidence that gender stereotypes influence human parental behavior, their potential effects on adults' perception of babies' cries have been overlooked. In particular, whether adult listeners overgeneralize the sex dimorphism that characterizes the voice of adult speakers (men are lower-pitched than women) to their perception of babies' cries has not been investigated.
Arguments for including mindfulness instruction in higher education have included claims about the benefits of mindfulness practice for critical thinking. While there is theoretical support for this claim, empirical support is limited. The aim of this study was to test this claim by investigating the effects of an online mindfulness intervention on executive function, critical thinking skills and associated thinking dispositions.
The evidence that many of the findings in the published literature may be unreliable is compelling. There is an excess of positive results, often from studies with small sample sizes, or other methodological limitations, and the conspicuous absence of null findings from studies of a similar quality. This distorts the evidence base, leading to false conclusions and undermining scientific progress. Central to this problem is a peer-review system where the decisions of authors, reviewers, and editors are more influenced by impressive results than they are by the validity of the study design. To address this, BMC Psychology is launching a pilot to trial a new ‘results-free’ peer-review process, whereby editors and reviewers are blinded to the study’s results, initially assessing manuscripts on the scientific merits of the rationale and methods alone. The aim is to improve the reliability and quality of published research, by focusing editorial decisions on the rigour of the methods, and preventing impressive ends justifying poor means.
The movement of evidence-based practices (EBPs) into routine clinical usage is not spontaneous, but requires focused efforts. The field of implementation science has developed to facilitate the spread of EBPs, including both psychosocial and medical interventions for mental and physical health concerns.
The effect of cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis (CBTp) on the core symptoms of schizophrenia has proven contentious, with current meta-analyses finding at most only small effects. However, it has been suggested that the effects of CBTp in areas other than psychotic symptoms are at least as important and potentially benefit from the intervention.
Previous studies have reported on positive and negative psychological outcomes associated with the use of social networking sites (SNSs). Research efforts linking Facebook use with depression and low self-esteem have indicated that it might be the manner in which people engage with the site that makes its use problematic for some people. The aim of the current study was to test a theoretical model of problematic Facebook use, using adult attachment style as the predictor variable of interest.
Replication initiatives in psychology continue to gather considerable attention from far outside the field, as well as controversy from within. Some accomplishments of these initiatives are noted, but this article focuses on why they do not provide a general solution for what ails psychology. There are inherent limitations to mass replications ever being conducted in many areas of psychology, both in terms of their practicality and their prospects for improving the science. Unnecessary compromises were built into the ground rules for design and publication of the Open Science Collaboration: Psychology that undermine its effectiveness. Some ground rules could actually be flipped into guidance for how not to conduct replications. Greater adherence to best publication practices, transparency in the design and publishing of research, strengthening of independent post-publication peer review and firmer enforcement of rules about data sharing and declarations of conflict of interest would make many replications unnecessary. Yet, it has been difficult to move beyond simple endorsement of these measures to consistent implementation. Given the strong institutional support for questionable publication practices, progress will depend on effective individual and collective use of social media to expose lapses and demand reform. Some recent incidents highlight the necessity of this.
Meta-analyses play an important role in cumulative science by combining information across multiple studies and attempting to provide effect size estimates corrected for publication bias. Research on the reproducibility of meta-analyses reveals that errors are common, and the percentage of effect size calculations that cannot be reproduced is much higher than is desirable. Furthermore, the flexibility in inclusion criteria when performing a meta-analysis, combined with the many conflicting conclusions drawn by meta-analyses of the same set of studies performed by different researchers, has led some people to doubt whether meta-analyses can provide objective conclusions.