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Can you guess which of these high-profile psychology experiments were legit?

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Can you guess which social science experiments were replicated successfully and which were not - just from reading a brief description of their results?

Contemporary psychology produces a lot of surprising and fascinating findings, some of which go viral on social media and become incorporated into our conventional wisdom. However, psychology is also facing a reproducibility crisis. In many cases, striking findings published in top journals turn out to be flukes – when others attempt to recreate the experiment, using the same methodology and a larger sample size, they don't find the same effect.

How can you tell whether a snazzy new psychology discovery should be trusted? This fun quiz, created by our friends at the altruistic career services organization 80,000 Hours, can help you develop your psych-headline BS detector.

In August of 2018, the elite scientific journal Nature published a series of 21 attempts to replicate high-profile psychology experiments that had previously appeared in Nature or the similarly exclusive journal Science between 2010 and 2015. A large proportion of the findings they examined couldn't be reproduced successfully. This quiz lets you try to guess which findings were confirmed and which weren't – based on just a short description of each experiment and a few details about its methodology.

What you'll get from the quiz:

  • The option to guess which of these 21 experiments passed the replication test.

  • A full report on your performance, comparing your guesses to those of social scientists, prediction-market oddsmakers, and the general population.

  • A crash course in examining experimental methods to inform your judgment of a social science study.

  • Further research into reproducibility, prediction markets, and social interventions to chew on.

Click here to give the quiz a shot!

80,000 Hours is a charitable organization that aims to help people find careers that are both personally meaningful and highly beneficial to the world. If you'd like to learn more about their work, check out our writeup on their excellent guide to succeeding in any job, or listen to either of founder Spencer Greenberg's two appearances on their podcast. (Click here for the first appearance from October 2017, detailing our unique research techniques, or here for the second from August 2018, which deals with using evidence to update your beliefs.)

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