This Time Could Be Different (with Fiona Fidler)

The open science movement is not the first time psychology has tried to reform itself. Why do some scientific reform movements succeed and others fizzle out? In this episode we talk with Fiona Fidler, a philosopher and historian of science at the University of Melbourne. Fiona’s doctoral thesis was an investigation of a decades-spanning attempt to reform statistical practice in psychology based on critiques of null hypothesis significance testing. Her research included interviews with reform proponents like Patricia Cohen, Paul Meehl, and Robert Rosenthal; reviews of the correspondence and output of the APA Task Force on Statistical Inference; and close study of how several psychology journals attempted to implement reform. The statistical reform movement came to what many saw as an unsatisfying end. We talk with Fiona about what we can learn from it – and crucially, why this time could be different. Plus: We answer a letter from a graduate student whose advisor’s temperament has changed.


The Black Goat is hosted by Sanjay Srivastava, Alexa Tullett, and Simine Vazire. Find us on the web at, on Twitter at @blackgoatpod, on Facebook at, and on instagram at @blackgoatpod. You can email us at You can subscribe to us on iTunes.

Our theme music is Peak Beak by Doctor Turtle, available on under a Creative Commons noncommercial attribution license. Our logo was created by Jude Weaver.

This is episode 47. It was recorded in two parts on November 15 and November 25, 2018.