Speaking Skeptically about Mark Hauser and morality research

Did Marc Hauser fabricate or falsify data in his monkey studies? Will his troubles stain the fields of morality studies and evolutionary bases of behavior? How exactly do you ask a monkey if it can hear patterns of speech?

These were among the questions Desiree Schell asked me the other day on Skeptically Speaking, an Edmonton-based radio show about “Bad Science,” and our conversation takes up the first 15 minutes or so; it’s followed by an interview with cognitive psychologist Barbara Drescher about the common mistakes that scientists make and what that does to science — a sort of primer on how people can get into trouble, even with the best intentions.

If you’ve not read my coverage here or on Slate, this interview with Schell is a good overview of the issues I’ve explored and the situation in general: What Hauser was accused of, what evidence is out so far, what methods he seems to have been using (or misusing), and what sort of harm the scandal might do to the rest of the field..

To listen,  download the episode here, and a little audio player should open in a new browser window.

If you’re more the reading type, you can read my earlier work on this. In the order they appeared:

Marc Hauser, monkey business, and the sine waves of science The ugly beginning. (Aug 11)

Hauser wake cont’d: Could the hivemind prevent fraud & misconduct? Mmm. Maybe. (Aug 13)

Hauser update: Report done since JANUARY. That’s a long time. (Aug 14)

Updated: This Hauser thing is getting hard to watch. The Chronicle of Higher Educations spills some beans. (Aug 20)

Journal editor’s conclusion: Hauser fabricated data. A major blow. (Aug 27)

Edge corrects — no, make that ERASES — the record on Hauser.  Not so good. (Sep 5)

A Rush to Moral Judgment: What went wrong with Marc Hauser’s search for moral foundations My article at Slate. (Sep 7)

In Marc Hauser’s rush to judgment, what was he missing? Fun and beauty, among other things. (Sep 7)

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