Psychology's Renaissance

Leif D. Nelson, Joseph Simmons, Uri Simonsohn

Research output: Indexed journal article Reviewpeer-review

324 Citations (Scopus)


In 2010-2012, a few largely coincidental events led experimental psychologists to realize that their approach to collecting, analyzing, and reporting data made it too easy to publish false-positive findings. This sparked a period of methodological reflection that we review here and call Psychology's Renaissance. We begin by describing how psychologists' concerns with publication bias shifted from worrying about file-drawered studies to worrying about p-hacked analyses. We then review the methodological changes that psychologists have proposed and, in some cases, embraced. In describing how the renaissance has unfolded, we attempt to describe different points of view fairly but not neutrally, so as to identify the most promising paths forward. In so doing, we champion disclosure and preregistration, express skepticism about most statistical solutions to publication bias, take positions on the analysis and interpretation of replication failures, and contend that meta-analytical thinking increases the prevalence of false positives. Our general thesis is that the scientific practices of experimental psychologists have improved dramatically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-534
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • False positives
  • Methodology
  • Preregistration
  • Publication bias
  • Renaissance
  • p-hacking


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