Commentary on Vul et al.'s (2009) “Puzzlingly High Correlations in fMRI Studies of Emotion, Personality, and Social Cognition”
Nichols TE., Poline JB.
The article “Puzzlingly High Correlations in fMRI Studies of Emotion, Personality, and Social Cognition” (Vul, Harris, Winkielman, & Pashler, 2009, this issue) makes a broad case that current practice in neuroimaging methodology is deficient. Vul et al. go so far as to demand that authors retract or restate results, which we find wrongly casts suspicion on the confirmatory inference methods that form the foundation of neuroimaging statistics. We contend the authors’ argument is overstated and that their work can be distilled down to two points already familiar to the neuroimaging community: that the multiple testing problem must be accounted for, and that reporting of methods and results should be improved. We also illuminate their concerns with standard statistical concepts such as the distinction between estimation and inference and between confirmatory and post hoc inferences, which makes their findings less puzzling. © 2009, Association for Psychological Science. All rights reserved.