Brain imaging studies report more positive findings than their numbers can support. This is fishy.
Ben Goldacre explores how twice as many positive findings as could realistically have been expected from the data reported may have occurredKey Concepts addressed:
- 2-9 Reviews of fair comparisons should be systematic
- 2-13 Relative measures of effects can be misleading
Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 13 August 2011
While the authorities are distracted by mass disorder, we can do some statistics. You’ll have seen plenty of news stories telling you that one part of the brain is bigger, or smaller, in people with a particular mental health problem, or even a specific job. These are generally based on real, published scientific research. But how reliable are the studies?
One way of critiquing a piece of research is to read the academic paper itself, in detail, looking for flaws. But that might not be enough, if some sources of bias might exist outside the paper, in the wider system of science.