A Reaction to Greenwald, Pratkanis, Leippe, and Baumgardner (1986): Under What Conditions Does Research Obstruct Theory Progress?

Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon, Tom Pyszczynski, Lynne Steinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Greenwald, Pratkanis, Leippe, and Baumgardner (1986) argued that a theory-testing research orientation contributes to a confirmation bias that impedes the progress of research. To eliminate this confirmation bias, they proposed two complementary result-centered approaches: the method of condition seeking and the design approach. We argue that Greenwald et al. confused the relation between theory and research and that the result-centered strategies they proposed would in no way minimize the bias. We also suggest that result-centered research can impede the progress of psychology because it retards theoretical, methodological, and technological advancement, and encourages increasingly narrow and trivial research endeavors. We conclude by discussing ways to minimize these problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-571
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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