The incredible rarity of falsifying data about changing your mind

Episode 555 of This American Life has a very cool story about a study on how a group of canvassers were able to influence people who were against gay marriage to change their mind:

Curious, but kinda logically, people appeared to change their mind once the canvasser, a member of the LGBT community, told their story.

Sadly, apparently the data was falsified. What’s really surprising it’s the amount of work dumped into forging the data:

Green today told me if there was no survey data, what’s incredible is that LaCour produced all sorts of conclusions and evaluations of data that didn’t exist. For instance, he had “a finding comparing what people said at the door to canvassers to what they said on the survey,” according to Green. “This is the thing I want to convey somehow. There was an incredible mountain of fabrications with the most baroque and ornate ornamentation. There were stories, there were anecdotes, my dropbox is filled with graphs and charts, you’d think no one would do this except to explore a very real data set.”


You can hear the episode here.

You can read more about the forging of the data here and here.

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