Realism article in Theory & Psych

Dr. Frank Arocha has just published an article on scientific realism in the journal Theory & Psychology. The title of the article is: Scientific Realism and the Issue of Variability in Behavior. Here’s a link to the abstract:

The paper is broad in scope and offers a clear exposition of important issues facing modern psychologists and how we might move forward from a realist perspective. This will be required reading in my courses at OSU.

New Version Available

A new version of the OOM software has been uploaded. A number of minor bugs have been removed from the program, and a new option for generating data from proportions and frequencies (contingency tables) has been added. A video demonstrating this new feature has been uploaded to the Instructional Videos page (see link to the right, or click here). Two new videos for editing multigrams have also been added.  Please update your version of the software, and please let me know if you find any bugs in the software or have any issues when using it.

Bacon’s Idols

Here’s a pithy article (behind a paywall) by Kevin Weinfurt of Duke University in which he revisits Francis Bacon’s famous idols:  Here’s my favorite quote: “And finally, the Idols of the Theater might be updated to include the uncritical adherence to systems of ritualized rules intended to automate the inductive activities of scientists” (p. 1312). One such system is of course Null Hypothesis Significance Testing (“p < .05”). I am hopeful OOM will encourage us to avoid statistical rituals and to instead always engage our data in a theoretically meaningful manner.  

West Texas A&M Visit

A sincere word of thanks to the faculty and staff of West Texas A&M University for hosting a talk on OOM last Friday, February 14th. I am particularly appreciative of John Richeson (an OSU alumnus!) and Mark Garrison for making the visit possible. West Texas A&M is growing and has a strong core of faculty…and, as a personally relevant fact, the university has an outstanding bowling program!

A Cautionary Paper on Complex Models

Thanks to Paul Barrett for alerting us to this newly published paper: Saylors, R., & Trafimow, D. (2020). Why the increasing use of complex causal models is a problem: On the danger sophisticated theoretical narratives pose to truth. Organizational Research Methods ( ), In Press, , 1-14. [paywall]

As pointed out by the authors, “As use of complex models increases, the joint probability a published model is true decreases.”
The paper comes with a calculator to compute said probability:

An analogous concern in OOM is that as a path model increases in complexity, fewer and fewer individuals will be traceable through the model. It is easy to imagine a complex path model in which not a single person can be accurately traced through all of the links. What use would such a model be as an explication of causes and effects? Of course, this information can only be known if the researcher attempts to perform such person-centered analyses.