Neuroskeptic - Hormones and Women Voters: A Very Modern Scientific Controversy

Hormones and Women Voters: A Very Modern Scientific Controversy

A paper just out in the journal Psychological Science says that: Women Can Keep the Vote: No Evidence That Hormonal Changes During the Menstrual Cycle Impact Political and Religious Beliefs

This eye-catching title heads up an article that's interesting in more ways than you'd think.

According to the paper, authors Christine Harris and Laura Mickes tried to reproduce the results of another paper, previously published in the same journal. The original study, by Kristina Durante and colleagues, claimed that some women's political preferences changed over the course of their menstrual cycles: The Fluctuating Female Vote.

Harris and Mickes say that they found no menstrual effects in their replication. Durante et al's rebuttal says, amongst other things, that Harris and Mickes' data do in fact confirm some of their hypotheses, when the results are analyzed appropriately; they also present new data of their own.

In other words it's a pretty typical dispute among psychologists.

I don't know, or especially care, who's right. But what makes this exchange very interesting to me is the way in which both sides of the debate are deploying methodological concerns about the scientific enterprise as a rhetorical weapon.

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See the essay for the rest.

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