What’s More Unethical Than A Web Hoax? How About A Scientific Journal Hoax?


The Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, a respected scientific journal, published a supposedly peer-reviewed study in its current issue finding that kisses from mommy are not an effective way of remedying children’s boo-boos. Several news outlets fell for the hoax, including The Daily Caller.

“Maternal kisses are not effective in alleviating minor childhood injuries (boo-boos): a randomized, controlled and blinded study described the results of research allegedly conducted on 943 pairs of toddlers and their mothers and designed to determine whether a kiss from a child’s mother after a minor injury significantly reduced the child’s distress.

There were plenty of red flags in the study beyond its ridiculous subject matter. For example, the “researchers” wrote that they intentionally constructed scenarios in which children would hurt themselves. In one scenario, the authors claimed that they placed chocolate in an area where a child would bump his head trying to reach the chocolate. In another, they said that the researchers placed a child’s favorite object behind a heated coil so the child would burn herself trying to access the object. Continue reading