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Author Notes:


A.F. and B.P.M. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.



  • Decision Making
  • Emotions
  • Government
  • Humans
  • Politics

Reply to Healy et al.: Value of ex ante predictions and independent tests for assessing false-positive results


Journal Title:

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


Volume 112, Number 48


, Pages E6592-E6592

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


In our study, we conclude that a published result that college football games influence elections is most likely a false-positive. In a letter to the editor, Healy et al., the authors of the original study, raise several objections. Healy et al.’s letter suggests that they have partly misread our paper as a criticism of their research design. We grant that their research design and identifying assumptions are sound but worry that their result is a chance false-positive, which can arise even with a perfect research design. We test several additional, independent hypotheses that should hold if college football games do indeed influence elections. We find no support for any of these independent hypotheses, leading us to conclude that the original result is most likely a false-positive.

Copyright information:

2015 PNAS

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