Professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, and the co-founder and director of the Center for Open Science
Brian Nosek received a Ph.D. in from Yale University in 2002 and is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. In 2007, he received early career awards from the International Social Cognition Network (ISCON) and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI). He co-founded Project Implicit (http://projectimplicit.net/) an Internet-based multi-university collaboration of research and education about implicit cognition – thoughts and feelings that exist outside of awareness or control. Nosek investigates the gap between values and practices – such as when behavior is influenced by factors other than one’s intentions and goals. Research applications of this interest are implicit bias, diversity and inclusion, automaticity, social judgment and decision-making, attitudes, beliefs, ideology, morality, identity, memory, and barriers to innovation. Through lectures, training, and consulting, Nosek applies scientific research to improve the alignment between personal and organizational values and practices. Nosek also co-founded and directs the Center for Open Science (COS; http://centerforopenscience.org) that operates the Open Science Framework (http://openscienceframework.org/). The COS aims to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scientific research.
Q1) What is one of the most exciting results from your research that you’d like to share ?
Dr. Nosek > For me, our most exciting result is the accumulation of evidence that behavior is influenced by more than intentions and values. Of course, that is not just a result from our lab’s research. What I am particularly excited to be working on with collaborators is how to address this insight. When behavior is not aligned with intentions, what can people do to correct it?
Q2) What are your ideas about the challenges or replication and your suggestions to move towards more scientific truths?
Dr. Nosek> Right now, the primary incentive for researcher’s behavior is publication. I am rewarded for publishing regardless of the accuracy, reproducibility, or truth of what I publish. As a consequence, we have a ecosystem in science that might lead scientists’ behavior away from they intentions and values – to uncover new truths about reality. [OpenScience Framework]
Q3) How did you get interested in the research that you love doing?
Dr. Nosek> My interests are pretty much the same as most scientists – I am curious and want to figure out how things work. I like problem solving and tackling new challenges. I also like to create efficient and reliable ways to do things. So, my present interests about trying to improve research practices are just an application of those interests. I think we can do science even better than we are doing it now, so I am trying out strategies on myself and my lab, and making ones that seem to be helping available to others to try and evaluate.
Q4) What does your research on the gap between stated values/preferences and actual behavior tell us about humanity and social institutions?
Dr. Nosek> The basic lesson is that thinking or talking about one’s goals, hopes, and dreams is not enough. Action is essential. Gandhi’s quote is particularly instructive: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”
Q5) What would be your message to “eager young minds”?
Dr. Nosek> Listen to Gandhi.
(as sent to Sumitava Mukherjee in Sep 2014)