Chronicle on Marc Hauser

Big update on the Marc Hauser affair, and the seriousness of the research misconduct allegations and the irony of this from the author of Moral Minds. The Chronicle for Higher Education has a piece out today which sheds light on the internal investigation and the assertions by research assistants in Hauser’s Harvard lab of misconduct.

The research assistant who analyzed the data and the graduate student decided to review the tapes themselves, without Mr. Hauser’s permission, the document says. They each coded the results independently. Their findings concurred with the conclusion that the experiment had failed: The monkeys didn’t appear to react to the change in patterns.

They then reviewed Mr. Hauser’s coding and, according to the research assistant’s statement, discovered that what he had written down bore little relation to what they had actually observed on the videotapes. He would, for instance, mark that a monkey had turned its head when the monkey didn’t so much as flinch. It wasn’t simply a case of differing interpretations, they believed: His data were just completely wrong.

Here’s the link for more – Document Sheds Light on Investigation at Harvard

And if you’re looking for more background, Nicholas Wade at the NY Times had a very good piece a week ago, In Harvard Lab Inquiry, a Raid and 3-Year Wait.

Update: Nicholas Wade came out with further coverage at NYT in the article Harvard Finds Scientist Guilty of Misconduct.

Harvard University said Friday that it had found a prominent researcher, Marc Hauser, “solely responsible” for eight instances of scientific misconduct.

Hours later, Dr. Hauser, a rising star for his explorations into cognition and morality, made his first public statement since news of the inquiry emerged last week, telling The New York Times, “I acknowledge that I made some significant mistakes” and saying he was “deeply sorry for the problems this case had caused to my students, my colleagues and my university.”

Also, you can find the entire letter/email here sent by Harvard Dean Michael Smith to the faculty, where he confirms the scientific misconduct to the entire Faculty of Arts and Sciences

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