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Details Emerge in Hauser-Harvard Hullabaloo

So far, no one knows exactly what happened in the evolving Marc Hauser melodrama — what did he do? The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a new document shows Hauser may have fabricated data. The internal university document shows that some of Hauser's research assistants became convinced that he was "reporting bogus data" and that he was very aggressive against those who asked for verification of his findings, the Chronicle's Tom Bartlett says. One experiment in particular that was suspicious for the former research assistant (who wants to remain anonymous) tested the ability of rhesus monkeys to learn patterns. Both Hauser and a research assistant coded the experiment — however, when a grad student analyzed the results, he found that the assistant's codes showed the experiment to be "a bust," Bartlett says. But when Hauser's codes for the same experiment were analyzed, the results were shown to be statistically significant, making the experiment a big success. When the two assistants saw the discrepancy, they asked Hauser to let a third assistant code the experiment. "After several back-and-forths, it became plain that the professor was annoyed," Bartlett says. Indeed, an email from Hauser to the assistants reads: "i am getting a bit pissed here" and he says "there were no inconsistencies!' When reviewing and re-coding the tapes without Hauser's knowledge, the two assistants again came to the conclusion that the experiment had failed, Bartlett adds, and they became convinced that it wasn't merely a different interpretation of the data, but that Hauser had fabricated his results outright. Even worse, Bartlett says, there is evidence that Hauser has repeated this pattern before.

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