Researcher’s Dilemma: When Your Work as a Researcher is Challenged

In a TED talk that had over fourteen million views on YouTube, Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, and a lecturer talked about how your body language can make you powerful, in what she termed as ‘Power Poses’, after her talk, she has received critiques questioning her research results from fellow psychologists.

How Cuddy responded to these critiques?

By publishing a paper that examines the theory she suggested and highlighting where her critics fall short when evaluating her findings.

Being accused of false research findings can be hugely devastating and damaging to the status of an academic. But Amy Cuddy responded with the same instrument her critics used “evidence-based research”.

Malcolm Gladwell is another writer and social researcher with a journalistic background, his ten thousand hour rule to achieve mastery in a field was also brought into scrutiny by scholars and writers back in 2013, although he didn’t do an in-depth research, or undertake a study to justify his theory, but rather re-examined what he wrote by quoting from his book ‘Outliers’ when explaining his suggested ten thousand hour theory in an article in the New Yorker.

Cuddy and Gladwell used two different ways to respond to their critics, Cuddy used analytical research and Gladwell by publishing an article emphasizing his resources.

The fact is, they both have similar methods when they speak to the masses; straight forwardness, a simple language without scientific terms and jargons, this is what popularized their ideas.

Cuddy writes at the end of her paper to her critics “We [referring to herself and fellow research colleagues] are not arguing that the statistical results of Simmons and Simonsohn’s p-curve analysis (20152017) are incorrect; we are arguing that their results and conclusions, as a result of the practices described above, are misleading with regard to assessments of the evidential value of this area of research.”.

Malcolm Gladwell highlighted the research of David Epstein in his book The Sports Gene to support his ten-thousand-hour rule emphasizing that ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery can be less or more but what he tried to tell his critics is that “In cognitively demanding fields, there are no naturals.”.

Photo Credit

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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