Keep your enemies close: Adversarial collaborations will improve behavioral science
Behavioral scientists enjoy vast methodological freedom in how they operationalize theoretical constructs. This freedom may promote creativity in designing laboratory paradigms that shed light on real-world phenomena, but it also enables questionable research practices that undercut our collective credibility. Open Science norms impose some discipline but cannot constrain cherry-picking operational definitions that insulate preferred theories from rejection. All too often scholars conduct performative research to score points instead of engaging each other’s strongest arguments—a pattern that allows contradictory claims to fester unresolved for decades. Adversarial collaborations, which call on disputants to codevelop tests of competing hypotheses, are an efficient method of improving our science’s capacity for self-correction and of promoting intellectual competition that exposes false claims. Although individual researchers are often initially reluctant to participate, the research community would be better served by institutionalizing adversarial collaboration into its peer-review process.