Harvard Professor Resigns

Marc Hauser resigns after findings of scientific misconduct continue to restrict his teaching and research duties.

By | July 20, 2011


Nearly a year after being found guilty of eight counts of scientific misconduct by an internal investigation, Harvard cognitive scientist Marc Hauser resigns, effective August 1, the Boston Globe reported yesterday (July 19).

During his 18 years at the university, Hauser led a primate lab investigating the evolution of morality and the differences in cognitive abilities between humans and other animals. A three year investigation by Harvard resulted in the finding that Hauser was solely responsible for a number of unexplained data inconsistencies, which called into question the findings of three published papers.

One of the three papers in question, published in 2002 in the journal Cognition, was retracted because the data did not support the study’s conclusions. A correction was made to a second paper published in 2007 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. And the experiments of the third questioned paper, published in Science in 2007, were repeated and reconfirmed last April, reported ScienceInsider.

But the reconfirmation was not enough to sway Hauser’s colleagues. In April, the Harvard psychology department faculty voted to not allow Hauser to teach at the university this fall, after returning from a year’s leave of absence. And after the findings of misconduct last year, Hauser’s research duties had also been restricted.

In Hauser’s resignation letter, he writes, “While on leave over the past year, I have begun doing some extremely interesting and rewarding work focusing on the educational needs of at-risk teenagers. I have also been offered some exciting opportunities in the private sector.” Harvard University reported that it continues to cooperate with an ongoing federal investigation into Hauser’s research.


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