Unpublished paper: Falsification resilience in evolutionary psychology

I attempted to have a paper published in The Psychologist about something I refer to as “falsification resilience” within psychology, especially evolutionary psychology. The paper addresses the issue that theories within psychology are often flawed, but evade rejection because it must be reliably falsified and replaced by a better theory. I illustrated how this is potentially more prevalent in evolutionary psychology using the hunter-gatherer theory as an example.

This is not an experimental study, just a short paper for the ‘New Voices’ segment in The Psychologist. While I did receive good feedback from the reviewers, the paper was ultimately rejected because it was not innovative enough for the column in question. This I feel is justified, as this kind of Lakatonian thinking is prevalent within psychology. What I considered novel about my paper was the suggestion to abandon conflicting theories in search for better ones, and the illustration of falsification resilience within evolutionary psychology. The Psychologist journal emphasise topics which are new, and this was not considered new enough. The reviewers did, however, find my suggestion to test object location memory on lions a great idea. I was of course welcome to submit other articles in the future.

If you are interested in reading the paper itself, it is attached in the Download Section.


Faking amnesia and how to detect it

IMPORTANT NOTE: A revised version of this article has been published in the journal ESTRO. You can access the pdf HERE, or the full issue HERE (page 11).

Have you ever wondered if someone can fake amnesia? You might have seen the movie Memento where they suspect a patient to be faking. Well, believe it or not but people do try to fake memory loss. This is called malingering, but in this article I will generally refer to it as faking. The most usual reason is to avoid criminal punishment or gain money through insurance fraud (Binder & Rohling, 1996). For example, imagine you have an accident and get a minor head injury. If you fake amnesia perhaps you could get more money from your insurance claim. In terms of crime, in 1994 29% of all criminals sentenced to life imprisonment claimed amnesia at their trials and later some admitted feigning their memory loss (Pyszora et al., 2003). The question then becomes: how do you detect fakers? Continue reading