Another example of why replication is important in science

Nov 23, 2017

The class of ’52

AN ENDLESS stream of new discoveries makes science thrilling. But, as any seasoned researcher knows, such novelties are worthless unless they can be replicated. Often, though, replication does not get done as thoroughly as it should be—or even at all. For, as any seasoned researcher also knows, replication is rarely the stuff careers are built on; studies conducted with that goal may even struggle to get published in peer-reviewed journals.

In this context, a recent attempted replication is important, for it actually was published last week in a journal called Psychological Science. Its author was Michael Dufner of the University of Leipzig, in Germany. In it, he said that he was unable to replicate a fascinating previous finding which had suggested that people who smile more intensely tend to live longer than those who did not.

The original study, published in 2010 by Ernest Abel and Michael Kruger, then of...

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