Making people nicer with eye primes does not work – always.

Quick update here – I got some questions about this study, and to clarify some things:

  • this study is not a direct replication, nor is it intended as a replication. Rather, I was interested in putting my ideas on unconscious perception to the test: based on earlier work, I predicted that priming prosocial behaviour would only work for unmasked stimuli, and not for masked stimuli. Turned out the priming effect did not work for either condition.
  • Because it was not a replication attempt, I did not stick to Simonsohn’s N*2.5 rule. Nevertheless, Bayes factors turned out to be informative, and yield substantial evidence for the null.
  • Did I expect the effect to replicate? Sure as hell I did! The data published here is only our final attempt. In total, we tested almost 400 participants between 2008 and 2010, but since this was all ‘before Stapel’, and there was no effect in the data, I have been sloppy with the earlier data. This dataset, collected by Tineke de Haan for her MSc-thesis, is complete and well-documented; the other data I got in is not. Otherwise I could have presented a huge dataset without any effect. A second experiment, in which we looked at effects of eye primes on responses on questionnaire that measures moral behaviour (N=90), also – no effect at all. If you’re interested in that data, let me know.The only reason I kept on trying is because I truly believed the effect would be there, because it’s so plausible!
  • Is ‘social priming’ anything I expect not to replicate? Nonsense. See new blog post in the making for that one.

Darn, some bad news for the weekend. A paper I submitted to PLOS One got rejected. But in all fairness, it was a non-successful conceptual replication with so many potential moderators that it’s hard to draw any conclusions. We (that is, my master student and I) decided to try to publish it anyway, in line with this paper by Jelte Wicherts et al., but the editor disagreed.

So, too bad, but I can live with this rejection.

However, since I do not have time to shop around to try and get it published somewhere else, but at the same time would like to save the rest of the world interested in making people nicer with eye primes (masked and unmasked) some time, I uploaded the data to PsychFileDrawer, plus as a bonus, the full manuscript and data can be downloaded from this very website.

The manuscript can be found here, the data here. Comments of course welcome via e-mail!