It seems apt today (literally today) in light of Dana Carney’s statement, released late last night, that she no longer believes “power pose” effects are real. She explains her reasons in detail. I learned about this from a comment on Andrew Gelman’s blog; an hour and a half later, an article by Jesse Singal appeared in Science of Us (New York Magazine).
The “power pose” study has been under criticism for some time; a replication failed, and an analysis of both the study and the replication turned up still more problems. (For history and insight, see Andrew Gelman and Kaiser Fung’s Slate article.) Of the three researchers involved, Carney is the first to acknowledge the problems with the original study and to state that the effects are not real.
Carney not only acknowledges her errors but explains them clearly. The statement is an act of courage and edification. This is how research should work; people should not hold fast to flawed methods and flimsy conclusions but should instead illuminate the flaws.
Update: Jesse Singal wrote an important follow-up article, “There’s an Interesting House-of-Cards Element to the Fall of Power Poses.” He discusses, among other things, the ripple effect (or house-of-cards effect) of flawed studies.