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Scientific inbreeding and same-team replication: Type D personality as an example

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Dolphin, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    This sounds interesting and potentially relevant for the ME/CFS field.

    John Ioannidis is an interesting and influential researcher. Among other things, he wrote:
    * I gave each sentence its own paragraph
     
  2. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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  3. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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  4. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    I currently writing a blog on zombie science and another on information monopolies - both are connected to imbalances in information. So is this article. If research is all from similar sources, there is no research diversity, any failures in the study could appear in all the studies. Furthermore if peer reviews, editorial responses, media investigation, and the general scientific community do not hold a collection of papers up for much scrutiny, then this is essentially a monosource of information, even if its spread out in multiple papers.​
    Diversity, criticism and alternative views are essential to science. Small insular research communities are at serious risk of getting so caught up in their own research that erroneous methodologies and conclusions can go unchallenged for very long periods of time.​
    Similar arguments can be leveled at evidence based medicine.​
    Bye, Alex​
     
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  5. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Thanks. Something else for my 'to read' list!
     
  6. biophile

    biophile Places I'd rather be.

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    Classic example, the same group of CDC researchers "replicating" the childhood trauma association using the same questionable methodology.
     
  7. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Researchers doing this sort of work probably are put off looking critically at CFS work because of the drama which surrounds the condition, which is a real shame, as they'd have plenty to get their teeth in to.
     
  8. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Ah something worth looking into - type A, B or C - full of good information no doubt.
     
  9. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    In case people are wondering what obedient replication and obliged replication are:

    I'm very interested in this whole topic and would be interested in reading some of the papers referenced.
     
  10. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Doh, copyright infringement! (only joking). This is a part of where I am going with my book, and I have written up some early thoughts on this in one of my blogs:

    http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?entries/part-one-verificationism.1148/

    In philosophy I would call this dogmatic verificationism. Its embracing old positivist modes of thought: its stuck in 19th century "science". Karl Popper called this "non-science". Its a failure to embrace the idea of critical analysis and testing. Superstition, the creation of self reinforcing ideas that are resistant to external influence, proliferates under these conditions.

    I regard modern scientific consensus building, if not approached carefully, as a form of this problem - its "scientific" group think.

    Bye, Alex
     
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  11. jimells

    jimells Senior Member

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    from "Why most published research findings are false"

    At least something about these studies is accurate! :rolleyes:
     
  12. Simon

    Simon

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    I think this is a striking paper, not only for what it says but also because it was published by the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, which has probably notched up a few of the psychosomatic research false positives referred to by Ioannidis and by Coyne.

    Here's the abstract of the paper by Coyne & de Voogd appearing in the same issue as the Ioannidis paper:

    Are we witnessing the decline effect in the Type D personality literature? What can be learned?
    James C. Coyne, Jacob N. de Voogd, 2012

    After an unbroken series of positive, but underpowered studies seemed to demonstrate Type D personality predicting mortality in cardiovascular disease patients, initial claims now appear at least exaggerated and probably false.

    Larger studies with consistently null findings are accumulating. Conceptual, methodological, and statistical issues can be raised concerning the construction of Type D personality as a categorical variable, whether Type D is sufficiently distinct from other negative affect variables, and if it could be plausibly assumed to predict mortality independent of depressive symptoms and known biomedical factors, including disease severity. The existing literature concerning negative affect and health suggests a low likelihood of discovering a new negative affect variable that independently predicts mortality better than its many rivals.

    The apparent decline effect in the Type D literature is discussed in terms of the need to reduce the persistence of false positive findings in the psychosomatic medicine literature, even while preserving a context allowing risk-taking and discovery. Recommendations include greater transparency concerning research design and analytic strategy; insistence on replication with larger samples before accepting “discoveries” from small samples; reduced confirmatory bias; and availability of all relevant data.

    Such changes would take time to implement, face practical difficulties, and run counter to established practices. An interim solution is for readers to maintain a sense of pre-discovery probabilities, to be sensitized to the pervasiveness of the decline effect, and to be skeptical of claims based on findings reaching significance in small-scale studies that have not been independently replicated.
    ========

    Actually, this seems quite polite compared with a letter they wrote to the editor critiquing a previous meta-analysis linking Type D personality to cardiac mortality. Coyne also published a large study in 2011 refuting the link between Type D personality and heart failure.
     
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  13. Simon

    Simon

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    Thought it worth highlighting a few key points from the main Ioannidis paper:

    First, he explicitly uses the problems seen in false Type D personality associations in research as examples of a wider malaise in psychological science (though don't forget he's already had a pop at most other forms of Life Science):
    Later he suggests reasons why psychological studies might be partiuclarly prone to certain biases:
    Thinking of the PACE trial, coming up with arbritary and flawed cut-offs (thresholds) for 'normal' would seem to be a perfect illustration even though it was done with non-psychological measures. Similarly, they published the percentage improving by a certain amount in the trial while failing to publish the percentage who got worse by the same amount (currently being challenged by a brilliant FOI request, see PACE thread). Again, this is an example of flexibility in analysis leading to overly positive findings.

    And Ioannidis also highlights the lack of transparency, though points out this is an issue in many other scientific fields too:
    Finally, he discusses how group-think and academic biases might play an important role in the development and perpetuation of false positive findings in psychological research.
    As an antidote to such bias and group-think he proposes a wider range of researchers collaborating in the same study to give diversity of views:
    Personally, I find the lack of thinking beyond a fairly rigid and unproven but widely accepted BPS model for CFS is one of the most depressing aspects of CFS research today.
     
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  14. Simon

    Simon

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  15. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    I just came across something else Coyne wrote that I previously highlighted (contains link to the free text)

     

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