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Good science: It's nice to be nice but it's more important to be honest

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Simon, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. Simon

    Simon

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    Great blog on why honesty is needed in science, even though it can be hard to take criticism. It's specifically about neuroscience (which includes all those MRI and fMRI mecfs brain studies) but the principles apply far more widely.

    NeuroChambers: It's nice to be nice but it's more important to be honest
    I've probably quoted too much, and please do read the full blog.
     
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  2. ScottTriGuy

    ScottTriGuy Stop the harm. Start the research and treatment.

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    Does a researcher see their unconscious bias?

    Does a fish see water?
     
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  3. Simon

    Simon

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    Does [anyone, even patients] see their unconscious bias?
    Comes free with being human.
     
  4. ScottTriGuy

    ScottTriGuy Stop the harm. Start the research and treatment.

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    True dat.

    I think (Johari implies?) that others can point out the unconscious to make it conscious.
     
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  5. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member

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    I was always taught that the best way to prove a theory was to do your best to disprove it. This helps to see the flaws and identify any unconscious assumptions. Also, don't let your ego stop you being the best you can - if someone takes the time to criticize then they are actually doing you a favour. Listen to what they say, evaluate it and learn. Your work will be all the better for it.
     
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  6. SOC

    SOC

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    All true. But that is why there is clear guidance on how to design a research study properly to minimize unconscious bias. The problem is that we're seeing so much very poorly designed research in medicine that deliberately ignores the guidance intended to protect us from researcher bias that we're starting to think it's normal and accepted. The researchers are either very, very poorly trained (shame on their universities) or they are knowingly ignoring procedures that would reduce their bias. They don't get off the hook with "everyone has bias" because science recognizes the potential for bias and has ways to account for it.
     
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  7. helen1

    helen1 Senior Member

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    This is a bit off topic but somewhat follows the title topic, which is I've noticed other ME online groups, to which I belong, have mostly members who are very keen on supporting one another in a 'nice' way and very upset about anyone 'honest' who criticizes or voices skepticism.

    I've thought that isn't very helpful for learning on a personal level. I read and participate a bit in those groups to get a different perspective than I get here, but do find them biased against true sharing of thoughts and information.They have a conscious bias toward only positive comments.

    I wonder what traits the ability to accept or even embrace criticism are based on.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
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  8. SOC

    SOC

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    Many people confuse 'nice' with 'always willing to agree' and 'mean' or 'hostile' with 'having a different opinion'. They see disagreement as insult. It's unfortunate because it inhibits conversation and debate, which then limits knowledge. While it's certainly possible to disagree in a rude way, disagreement by itself is not rude, it's just having a different opinion. It seems to me that a common trait among people who have these kinds of confusion is that they were never taught to distinguish between opinion and fact. Therefore, they believe that their opinion alone should be accepted as reality and that disagreeing with their opinion is just offensive stubborness, or a personal comment on their character or intelligence.
     
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  9. helen1

    helen1 Senior Member

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    I think that's probably a big part of it, seeing opinion as fact. I think it also has something to do with emotional health in the sense of lack of defensiveness.

    Being able to disagree respectfully is such an important skill. Just imagine if everyone had this ability.
     
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  10. Simon

    Simon

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    This is nearly two years old, but I hadn't seen before so just putting here for now.

    The Lancet: Research: increasing value, reducing waste
    Good to see the Lancet leading the way.
     
  11. SOC

    SOC

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    Only if they're going to take it seriously and apply it to what they publish. They can make themselves look good by publishing all the papers in the world about what good research and publication should look like. If they don't take it in and make it part of their policies, it's all window-dressing. Lip service does the world no good.
     
  12. Simon

    Simon

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  13. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    I think we're not naturally cut out to do this, we naturally see an attack on our views as an attack on ourselves. It takes practice and discipline to separate ourselves from the picture, and even more to let go of our view and change it when necessary. I know I'm no genius at this. Just gotta keep trying.

    If I feel criticised, I find that a cooling off period really helps. Doesn't feel so personal after some time out.
     
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  14. Simon

    Simon

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    New post from Neuroskeptic on problems with fMRI (which measures which parts of the brain are active in a particular task), a brain imaging technique with a very shaky reputation for reliablility:
    False Positive fMRI Revisited - Neuroskeptic

    Basically, the standard method for analysing fMRI uses an awful lot of statistical processing (as do all methods, there's a huge amount of data from each subject). The standard method is supposed to give a false positive rate for 5%, the norm in research studies. Neuroskeptic blogs about a new paper showing the actual false positive rate is much higher than this, for the technique that underlies most fMRI studies. Which is likely to make fMRI findings very shaky, especially for small studies (which is almost all of them). Oops.

    While I'm here, I like this too:
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
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  15. Simon

    Simon

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    Like this - enlightened self-interest always good in my book
     

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