Study of attitudes to same-sex marriage retracted over ‘fake data’


The study, using gay political canvessers, alleged that a conversation with a gay person could soften attitudes on same-sex  marriage.  But evidence has has been presented showing the study was a complete fabrication.

The Guardian has the details:


The senior author of a study claiming to find that a brief, face-to-face conversation with a gay political canvasser had the ability to soften the opinions of those opposed to same-sex marriage has retracted its findings, claiming there were errors in his co-author’s work.

The study, which was published in Science in December and was widely covered in the media, found support for same-sex marriage climbed among voters who had a single conversation with a gay or lesbian canvasser. In addition, the authors found that the changed views not only lasted for at least a year, but also positively influenced the opinions of other members of the household.

The optimistic slant on human nature provided by the research evaporated this week, however, when Professor Donald Green retracted the paper.

Green, a professor of political science at Columbia university, said he has now come to the conclusion that, while hundreds of California residents were canvassed for the study, followup surveys on which the results were predicated may have been fabricated by his co-author, Michael LaCour.

“It’s hard to convey to you the mountain of fabrication that accumulated in our dropbox folder over many many months,” he told the Guardian.

Announcing his decision to withdraw the findings, in a statement posted on the website Retraction Watch, Green wrote: “I am deeply embarrassed by this turn of events and apologize to the editors, reviewers and readers of Science.”

LaCour, a graduate student at the university of California Los Angeles, did not respond when contacted for comment, but said on Twitter

on Wednesday that he had read the report and was “gathering evidence and relevant information so I can provide a single comprehensive response. I will do so at my earliest opportunity.”

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