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Selective Data Analysis in Brown et al.'s Continued Critical Analysis

Posted by Fredrickson on 10 Jun 2016 at 11:47 GMT

Although Brown et al. verify the primary statistical results of my team's 2015 PLoS ONE report (compare their Table 3 to our Tables 2 and 3), they continue to dispute the conclusions that follow from these results. They do so by selectively re-analyzing our Discovery study dataset (N = 76), which represents only 25% of the data presented in our 2015 report.

In their previous critique of our 2013 PNAS report on gene expression correlates of well-being, Brown et al. argued for the replication of findings in additional samples using mixed effect linear model analyses. Such data are now available from two new samples with 229 new participants, and the results continue to indicate a significant inverse relationship between eudaimonic well-being and gene expression. Brown et al.'s current claims of statistical instability rely on selective omission of these new data, which comprise 75% of the data presented in our 2015 PLoS ONE report.

Competing interests declared: My team's 2015 report in PLoS ONE offered new data that challenged critical statements made previously by Brown et al. in their 2014 article in PNAS which was critical of my team's 2013 empirical report in PNAS.