Date of this Version
Stevens, J.R. (2017). Replicability and reproducibility in comparative psychology. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 862. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00862
Psychology faces a replication crisis. The Reproducibility Project: Psychology sought to replicate the effects of 100 psychology studies. Though 97% of the original studies produced statistically significant results, only 36% of the replication studies did so (Open Science Collaboration, 2015). This inability to replicate previously published results, however, is not limited to psychology (Ioannidis, 2005). Replication projects in medicine (Prinz et al., 2011) and behavioral economics (Camerer et al., 2016) resulted in replication rates of 25 and 61%, respectively, and analyses in genetics (Munafò, 2009) and neuroscience (Button et al., 2013) question the validity of studies in those fields. Science, in general, is reckoning with challenges in one of its basic tenets: replication. Comparative psychology also faces the grand challenge of producing replicable research. Though social psychology has born the brunt of most of the critique regarding failed replications, comparative psychology suffers from some of the same problems faced by social psychology (e.g., small sample sizes). Yet, comparative psychology follows the methods of cognitive psychology by often using within-subjects designs, which may buffer it from replicability problems (Open Science Collaboration, 2015). In this Grand Challenge article, I explore the shared and unique challenges of and potential solutions for replication and reproducibility in comparative psychology.