Speed Reads


Co-author of touted same-sex marriage study seeks retraction over allegedly bogus data

One of the authors of a widely covered study suggesting brief conversations with gay people could change opinions of same-sex marriage is seeking a retraction over "irregularities" in data purportedly collected by his co-author.

Published last year in the journal Science, the study claimed to show that conversations with gay canvassers could trigger a lasting change in subjects' views of same-sex marriage. Notably, conversations with straight canvassers did not produce the same effect.

However, when two University of California-Berkeley grad students tried to extend the research, they discovered problematic patterns in the data suggesting it had been faked. They then notified one of study's co-authors, Columbia University professor Donald Green, who said his partner, UCLA graduate assistant Michael LaCour, subsequently "confessed to falsely describing at least some of the details of the data collection."

Green swiftly issued a retraction on his personal site and asked Science to pull the article as well.

"I am deeply embarrassed by this turn of events and apologize to the editors, reviewers, and readers of Science," Green said in a statement.