Another headline chasing psychologist is censured

What is it about social psychology and psychologists that causes them particularly to chase notoriety and public attention even to the extent of faking data? Diedrik Stapel and Marc Hauser being recent high profile cases. Could it just be that they are all suffer from a narcissism which can only be satisfied by generating headlines and generally being in the limelight?

Now a certain Geoffrey Miller – supposedly an “evolutionary psychologist” – has been publicly censured by New York University  for essentially behaving like an idiot and then lying about it. After tweeting a stupid and offensive remark he then tried to pass it off as part of a research project! He has now apologised – a bit late – and deleted the tweet. But his self-promotional intentions were recognised. Apparently he researches into how the human mind evolved. (Or as is pretty obvious –  didn’t evolve for some).

“The Tweeting activities of associate professor Geoffrey Miller did not rise to the level of research,” said a statement from the IRB on the university’s website.

“The board concluded that Miller’s Tweets were self-promotional in nature and did not follow research criteria which require specific research questions or hypotheses, systematic methods for collection quantitative and/or qualitative data and criteria for selecting respondents.”

He is an Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico and visiting NYU

The Times Higher Education covers the developments:

A US professor who Tweeted that if overweight PhD applicants “didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs” then they “won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation” has been formally censured by his university.

Geoffrey Miller Twitter page

Geoffrey Miller Twitter page

Geoffrey Miller, associate professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico, apologised after sending the Tweet, which he subsequently deleted. He later told UNM it had been part of a research project – a claim dismissed by the university

The institution has now formally censured Professor Miller for “misrepresenting to his department chair and colleagues the motivation for a Tweet”. 

“Miller at first claimed his Tweet was part of a research project, but investigations by the Institutional Review Board at New York University where he was a visiting professor, and the IRB at UNM where he is a tenured professor, concluded that was not correct,” a statement from his university read. 

As part of the censure, Professor Miller will be required to develop “a plan for sensitivity training as it pertains to obesity” in cooperation with the UNM psychology department, and apologise to colleagues for his behavior. 

Professor Miller, who can appeal the censure, will also have his work monitored by the chair of the psychology department, and will be assigned a faculty mentor for three years, with whom he will meet on a regular basis to discuss potential problems.

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