Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

On the consistency of calling for caution carelessly: Further notes on mythical experiments and phantom footnotes

  • 16 Accesses

  • 1 Citations


In an earlier paper by Grieger (1971), grave errors of scholarship occurred; these included the reporting of the experimental results from three samples that, although they did not exist, were miraculously tested for significance and were declared “nonsignificant.” In the present paper by Grieger and Saavedra there is reference to a phantom footnote, confusion over the nature of the unit normal distribution, confusion over the difference between power and effect size, and a number of errors of fact. The behavioral sciences may be well served by public controversies that involve the debating of subtle points. They are unlikely to be well served by papers failing to meet even the most rudimentary criteria of scholarship.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Cohen, J.Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. New York: Academic Press, 1969.

  2. Grieger, R. M., II. Pygmalion revisited: A loud call for caution.Interchange, 1971,2(4), 78–91.

  3. Mosteller, F., & Bush, R. R. Selected quantitative techniques. In G. Lindzey (Ed.),Handbook of social psychology. Cambridge, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1954. Pp. 289–334.

  4. Rosenthal, R., & Jacobson, L.Pygmalion in the classroom. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1968.

Download references

Author information

Additional information

This paper was written in response to the invitation of the editor. Its preparation was supported by a research grant from the Division of Social Sciences of the National Science Foundation.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rosenthal, R. On the consistency of calling for caution carelessly: Further notes on mythical experiments and phantom footnotes. Interchange 3, 94–95 (1972).

Download citation


  • Normal Distribution
  • Early Paper
  • Behavioral Science
  • Subtle Point
  • Public Controversy