Hauser update

1 minute read

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on an “internal document” from the Marc Hauser investigation: “Document Sheds Light on Investigation at Harvard”. The Chronicle story begins by detailing how discrepancies in coding monkey behavioral responses first came to light, but stops short of giving fuller insight into the investigation. This extract conveys some of the breadth of what was uncovered:

They then reviewed Mr. Hauser's coding and, according to the research assistant's statement, discovered that what he had written down bore little relation to what they had actually observed on the videotapes. He would, for instance, mark that a monkey had turned its head when the monkey didn't so much as flinch. It wasn't simply a case of differing interpretations, they believed: His data were just completely wrong.
As word of the problem with the experiment spread, several other lab members revealed they had had similar run-ins with Mr. Hauser, the former research assistant says. This wasn't the first time something like this had happened. There was, several researchers in the lab believed, a pattern in which Mr. Hauser reported false data and then insisted that it be used.

The article also extracts an e-mail from Hauser to his graduate students at the time of the incident. It’s not shocking in its tone – certainly no more than many of those leaked climate e-mails – but it does show the kind of pressure he was imposing upon the graduate students working on his experiments.

(via Greg Laden)