/ Resources
Many labs make right work

Many labs make right work

Can we try that again?

Many Labs 2 is the latest in a series of international projects to see if influential psychology experiments – the big ones you’d find in textbooks – can be reproduced.

Almost 200 psychologists in “many labs” from all over the world have collaborated to test 28 influential findings. About half of the studies were replicated, and half showed “no effect”.

What’s been dubbed as the ‘Reproducibility Crisis’ is a huge talking point amongst psychologists at the moment, and has spread to the social and health sciences.

Some sceptics have said that the crisis is overblown and that it’s normal for there to be variation between cultures and labs in whether a published effect can be reproduced.

#156 and #133, please stand up

Two of the 200 co-authors are BWA’s Morgan Tear and Alexander Saeri (yes, those are their respective numbers). After more than four years of work, the Many Labs 2 project has put sceptics’ objection to rest: it’s not the different cultures or labs that determine replication, it’s something more fundamental about the original studies themselves.

These projects are a response to concerns that the reproducibility of published findings may not be as robust as is assumed, particularly because of publication pressures that may lead to publication bias in which studies and findings with negative results are ignored or unpublished.

Such biases could distort the evidence in the published literature implying that the findings are stronger than the existing evidence suggests and failing to identify boundary conditions on when the findings will be observed.

Two true

As Alexander explains: “We were motivated to join Many Labs 2 because we completed our PhDs during the tumultuous early years of the “crisis”, and wanted to contribute positively to the open and reproducible science movement.”

Painful as it is, this is a kind of self-critical reformation for science, as symbolized by The Open Science movement, a worldwide movement to make scientific research, data, and dissemination accessible to all levels of an inquiring society, amateur or professional. Open science is transparent and accessible knowledge that is shared and developed through collaborative networks.

Morgan and Alexander believe that in the end, it’s all about making science, and especially behavioural science, more reliable.

Further reading:

Ed Yong for The Atlantic

Brian Owen for Nature News

Education & training

Looking to upskill?

Check out our Monash University accredited courses, along with our short and bespoke training programs.


Have a project for us?

We offer a broad range of research services to help governments, industries and NGOs find behavioural solutions.


Explore our resources

We believe in building capacity and sharing knowledge through multiple channels to our partners, collaborators and the wider community.


Sign up to the broadcast

Get monthly behaviour change content and insights

I agree to receive marketing communications from Behaviour Works Australia, part of Monash University. Monash University values the privacy of every individual's personal information and is committed to the protection of that information from unauthorised use and disclosure except where permitted by law. For information about the handling of your personal information please see Data Protection and Privacy Procedure and our ** Data Protection and Privacy Collection Statements.

If you have any questions about how Monash University is collecting and handling your personal information, please contact our Data Protection and Privacy Office at dataprotectionofficer@monash.edu.

Thanks for your interest in BehaviourWorks Australia.

You'll hear from us soon!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.