Journal article

Excess success for three related papers on racial bias

Three related articles reported that racial bias altered perceptual experience and influenced decision-making. These findings have been applied to training programs for law enforcement, and elsewhere, to mitigate racial bias. However, a statistical analysis of each of the three articles finds that the reported experimental results should be rare, even if the theoretical ideas were correct. The analysis estimates that the probability of the reported experimental success for the articles is 0.003, 0.048, and 0.070, respectively. These low probabilities suggest that similar future work is unlikely to produce as successful outcomes and indicates that readers should be skeptical about the validity of the reported findings and their theoretical implications. The reported findings should not be used to guide policies related to racial bias, and new experimental work is needed to judge the merit of the theoretical ideas.

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