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How subtle protocol choices can affect biological conclusions? An example with how great tits respond to allopatric mobbing calls.

Abstract : In the last ten years, numerous replicated studies showed divergent results from the original papers, leading to the recognition that science may be facing a replication crisis. Apart from fraud, different results may emerge from unconscious bias from the experimenter. Indeed, while the original authors may be prone to p-hacking (to collect data, select data or use statistical analyses until nonsignificant results become significant), the replication-authors are on the contrary probably unwillingly prone to show opposite results (i.e., null-hacking). Two different researchers unknowingly working on the same question and on the same population could overcome this effect. We here present such a comparison: two researchers investigated the response of great tits (Parus major) to mobbing calls of an allopatric species, in their natural and reversed order. We show that although the effect sizes of the differences of interest are similar, biological conclusions solely based on the p-value would be opposite. We here illustrate how subtle protocol choices, especially regarding the soundtrack preparation and playback methodology, can explain variation in the results, but that another pitfall in field studies is a general problem of sample size and blinded rely on the p-value.
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https://hal-univ-lyon1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03098259
Contributor : Nathalie Lyvet <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 4:54:08 PM
Last modification on : Monday, January 18, 2021 - 9:33:20 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-03098259, version 1

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Ambre Salis, Jean-Paul Léna, Thierry Lengagne. How subtle protocol choices can affect biological conclusions? An example with how great tits respond to allopatric mobbing calls.. Animal Behavior and Cognition, In press. ⟨hal-03098259⟩

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