University of Cambridge > > Cambridge Neuroscience Interdisciplinary Seminars > Fidelity and Replication: Modelling the Impact of Protocol Deviations on Effect Size

Fidelity and Replication: Modelling the Impact of Protocol Deviations on Effect Size

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Dervila Glynn.

Theme: Adaptive Brain Computations

Abstract: Cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience researchers have agreed that the replication of findings is important for establishing which ideas (or theories) are integral to the study of cognition across the lifespan. Recently, high-profile papers have called into question findings that were once thought to be unassailable. Much attention has been paid to how p-hacking, publication bias, and sample size are responsible for failed replications. However, much less attention has been paid to the fidelity by which researchers enact study protocols. Researchers conducting education or clinical trials are aware of the importance in fidelity – or the extent to which the protocols are delivered in the same way across participants. Nevertheless, this idea has not been applied to cognitive contexts. This seminar discusses factors that impact the replicability of findings alongside recent models suggesting that even small fidelity deviations have real impacts on the data collected.

Bio: Michelle Ellefson is Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education. She convenes the INSTRUCT Lab (Implementing New Student Thinking Resources Using Cognitive Theory) conducting research at the intersection of cognitive psychology and educational neuroscience. Her current research projects focus on the role of executive functions in school achievement and how reasoning about causes and effects impacts how humans make sense of scientific phenomena. In addition, she is applying specific cognitive principles to classroom learning, including simplicity and desirable difficulties. Initially trained in developmental cognitive neuroscience, her interests in improving cognitive outcomes for all children/adolescents have inspired her to reach beyond this foundational training to develop her integrative, multi-disciplinary approach that informs both school practice and theoretical accounts of cognitive development.

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This talk is part of the Cambridge Neuroscience Interdisciplinary Seminars series.

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