kitchen table math, the sequel: 12/20/15 - 12/27/15

Friday, December 25, 2015

Jerome Groopman on replication

I've been mulling over the replication issue, not least because I was using a lot of social science research for the book. Given that our topic is the cognitive unconscious, I was especially worried because the research on priming may be especially suspect.

I ended up jettisoning studies I had originally intended to include, just to be on the safe side (assuming there is a safe side).

I find this observation by Jerome Groopman helpful:
I have been intrigued by the controversy over the Open Science Collaboration, a loosely organized group of researchers who seek to reproduce the findings of published studies in a variety of fields. As the head of a laboratory, I know how daunting this can be. Even the most trivial deviation from a technical protocol—culturing cells, quantifying proteins, detecting RNA—can make an experiment difficult to replicate. A basic-science laboratory like mine is a relatively controlled environment compared with the human body, so it’s not surprising that confirming findings from clinical research, particularly experiments involving the mind and behavior, is even harder. In August, the Open Science Collaboration reported that it had reattempted a group of studies from the fields of cognitive and social psychology and failed to reproduce the results of nearly two-thirds of them. This should not be taken as an indication that the original researchers were either sloppy or dishonest. But it does suggest that we should regard such results with a skeptical eye, especially since experimental studies in psychology are too quickly touted in the general media as revealing fundamental truths about our nature.

The Most Notable Medical Findings of 2015

Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant

Merry Christmas

(I'm going to see if we can get an in-focus photo taken on Sunday...)


A big year.

Andrew graduated high school in June and, in August, moved into Jimmy's group home.

His move was sudden and a shock to everyone's system; we hadn't planned to move him to a group home until he was 22. But a room came open in Jimmy's house, which is of course where we had hoped Andrew would live, and the system changed, so if we didn't take that spot, we wouldn't have a spot at all.

Apparently New York is now filled with aging parents living with aging developmentally disabled children ... and so far I haven't been able to figure out what, exactly, is going on.

It's possible there's another 'reform' underway, similar to deinstitutionalization; the literature we've been given to read inveighs against the horrors of developmentally developed adults having to share bedrooms in group homes. Apparently, living alone in an apartment with a succession of aides coming in and out respects human dignity; living with 6 other people in a house with aides coming in and out doesn't. That seems to be the idea.

Beyond that, the other concept seems to be that developmentally disabled adults should have homes of their own ----- funded and staffed by parents?

I can't tell. (Very odd not to be able to parse the politics of a situation you're directly involve in.)

So that's Andrew. Safe and sound, it looks like.

Now that he's settled, we know where we want to be next: down the road from the group home, in walking distance. So we're working on that.

Chris is in his senior year at NYU (imagine!) -- and, very big news, has just learned he's been accepted by NYC Teaching Fellows for next year! He found out on the way home when he checked his spam filter.

As for me, I've finished a draft of my book, and have two final exercise sets to edit and revise (Katie Beals did first drafts, thank heavens .... )

The sad news: Surfer and Abby have died, both on the day after Thanksgiving. Abby's death has hit me especially hard. She was with me all the time, often sitting directly on my feet if possible.

The happy news: I've regained my composure sufficiently to have figured out what's next, and that is a puppy from MuddyBay Retrievers.

Last but not least: I have blogging time again!

Very excited to get back to ktm... I've been away far too long.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!