The Disturbing Trend of Science — Keith Humphreys

Virtually everyone who has heard of Oreo cookies loves Oreos, and because there are over 20 different flavors, you’re bound to find just the right one which will satisfy your sweet tooth. You may know Oreo as a delicious cookie with two wafers and a creamy center — but there’s much more history attached to them than you may know. Today, I will be reviewing one of the articles by Keith Humphreys of Stanford Medicine on this topic.

In 2013, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and Time published an article covering a scientific discovery that Oreos are as addictive as cocaine. Upon further digging, Keith Humphreys, the author, discovered that this “discovery” was actually an undergraduate research project conducted under the supervision of Joseph Schroeder at Connecticut College in New London. Surprisingly enough, the research finding wasn’t evaluated by an expert before publishing. The results of the research were built on such weak foundations that a leading scientist in the addiction field, Edythe London, Ph.D., of UCLA, was able to rebut it by exposing some fatal flaws in the findings.

Such mendacious research studies are becoming commonplace in today’s era. Even in cases where the findings are veracious, press releases can often warp their meaning and promulgate false information. Such actions not only spread false rumors but also instigate undue fear among the common people. It is thus important that we spend some time peer-reviewing our discoveries and conduct follow-up interviews with the scientific teams to enhance the credibility of the findings. It is a human tendency to give in to immediate gratification, but in doing so we undermine our integrity and harm the readers who assume our claims to be built on solid grounds.

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