Crisis in Cognitive Science? Rise of the Undead Theories

Moritz HeeneLudwig Maximilian University of Munich
James CoyneUniversity of Pennsylvania
Greg FrancisPurdue University
Phil MaguireNUI Maynooth
Rebecca MaguireNational College of Ireland


The controversy that followed the publication of Bem’s (2011) surprising results had the merit of focusing discussions on the validity of the current paradigm in psychological science. It has been argued that a tendency of journals to avoid publishing null results, in addition to the further extinguishing of null results through questionable researcher practices, is leading to the promulgation of a multitude of ‘undead’ theories that have little basis in fact (Ferguson & Heene, 2012; Francis, 2012). At the same time, the field of AI has met with success precisely by abandoning theory, prompting Noam Chomsky to remark that it is deviating from anything previously seen in the history of science (see Cristianini, 2014). In this symposium the speakers consider whether current theories offered by psychological science are valuable, whether there might be inherent obstacles which are preventing the identification of valuable theories, and whether psychological theory even matters at all.


Crisis in Cognitive Science? Rise of the Undead Theories (61 KB)

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