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How do we choose our giants? Perceptions of replicability in psychological science

Mr. Manikya Alister
The University of Melbourne ~ School of Psychology
Raine Vickers-Jones
Dr. David Sewell
University of Queensland ~ School of Psychology
Dr. Timothy Ballard
The University of Queensland ~ School of Psychology

Judgments regarding replicability are vital to scientific progress. The metaphor of “standing on the shoulders of giants” encapsulates the notion that progress is made when new discoveries build on previous findings. Yet attempts to build on findings that are not replicable could mean a great deal of time, effort, and money wasted. In light of the recent “crisis of confidence” in psychological science, the ability to accurately judge the replicability of findings may be more important than ever. In this Registered Report, we examine the factors that influence psychological scientists’ confidence in the replicability of findings. We recruited corresponding authors of articles published in psychology journals between 2014 and 2018 to complete a brief survey in which they were asked to consider 76 specific study attributes that might bear upon the replicability of a finding (e.g., preregistration, sample size, statistical methods). Participants were asked to rate the extent to which information regarding each attribute increased or decreased their confidence in the finding being replicated. We examined the extent to which each research attribute influenced average confidence in replicability, whether there were distinct underlying factors that influenced these judgments, and whether there were individual differences in the issues that participants considered. The conclusions reveal how certain research practices affect other researchers’ perceptions of robustness. We hope our findings will help encourage the use of practices that promote replicability, and by extension, the cumulative progress of psychological science.





Mathematical Psychology

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Cite this as:

Alister, M., Vickers-Jones, R., Sewell, D., & Ballard, T. (2021, February). How do we choose our giants? Perceptions of replicability in psychological science. Paper presented at Australasian Mathematical Psychology Conference 2021. Via