Psychology: Warning Signs, Replicability And Extraordinary Claims Essay

Replicability: A scientific concept that justifies the production of consistent results when an experiment is undertaken numerous times determines its replicability. Despite the hypothesis claiming the weekly weight loss of 10 pounds per person only if kale was consumed thrice daily, this scenario failed to demonstrate replicability. The methodology used in the first experiment by Dr. McGraw and his team yielded inconsistent results as the weight loss was 200 pounds varied among each subject. As for the second study that only included the participation of his wife, the results obtained were personalized and non-verifiable. To ensure replicability, it is recommended that methodology be revamped by the researcher firstly acclimatizing each subject and adding more distinctions corresponding to each subject.

Correlation vs causation effect: According to Lilienfeld et al’s understanding of this principle, weight loss and kale consumption would exhibit correlation as a relationship is present between the two variables. Nevertheless, there is no indication that the direct cause of the weight loss is solely attributed to the increased consumption of kale. Possibly an alternate variable could be accountable for the weight loss in women such as exercise or their metabolism. From Dr. McGraw’s experiment to determine the cause and effect, there was the formation of two experimenting groups. However, some demographic characteristics were not held constant to ensure that one variable was manipulated or altered to make the data generalizable. To determine the causation, the experimenter would isolate a single variable and ensure that all other variables remain constant.

Extraordinary claims: When addressing psychological claims, it was endorsed by Professor Ornstein, that some consideration must be made to reveal whether a claim contradicts a known fact. It is a fact that exercise is a major contributor to weight loss as fat tissues are broken down, not ‘absorbed’ and converted into muscles. There has been substantial evidence proving this claim however, a claim such a kale being two times more effective in fat absorption than exercise is extraordinary. The claim is flawed as the vegetable contains a small portion of calories and as such would be the basis for some weight loss, but surely not all. To validate the extraordinary claims, there must be the acquisition of extraordinary evidence often carried out by multiple investigations.

Warning signs: As expressed by Lilienfeld et al, the overreliance on anecdote is one of the warning signs related to pseudoscientific claims. The pseudoscientific claim uses personal experience as a reliable proof for a claim. Evidence of anecdote usage was the reference made to the positive testimonial of Dr. McGraw’s wife. The evidence from this testimonial could be perceived as biased as her husband wanted to report the positive contribution of kale consumption to weight loss and to proclaim kale as the ultimate superfood. Furthermore, his wife only represented one sample size which is incapable of being generalizable to the public thus making results relative to the study unreliable. To lessen the reliance on pseudoscientific claims requires the collection of experimental data from controlled, and randomized studies.

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