'Priming' studies, which suggest that decisions can be influenced by apparently irrelevant actions or events that took place just before the cusp of choice, have been a boom area in psychology over the past decade, though what isn't? fMRI, surveys of college students, claims about epigenetics and just about everything have been used by psychologists fame-whoring mass media for publicity.

Sure, but that is psychology, easily marginalized as soft and wayward, right? 

Not so. Irreproducibility is much more widespread, finds The Economist. It happens in all science and the usual ability of science to self-correct is losing ground.

Consider 1,000 hypotheses of which just 100 are true . Studies with a power of 0.8 will find 80 of them, missing 20 because of false negatives. Of the 900 hypotheses that are wrong, 5%—that is, 45 of them—will look right because of type I errors. Add the false positives to the 80 true positives and you have 125 positive results, fully a third of which are specious. If you dropped the statistical power from 0.8 to 0.4, which would seem realistic for many fields, you would still have 45 false positives but only 40 true positives. More than half your positive results would be wrong.

The negative results are much more trustworthy but no one wants to publish those because that ain't how R01 grants get done.

A fascinating look at an ongoing problem.

Trouble at the lab - The Economist