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 (https://doi.org/10.1177/1094428119893452 ), 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:
https://practiceoftheory.weebly.com/a-causal-models-probability-of-being-true.html

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.