Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Announcing the first Registered Replication Report protocol!

I am pleased to announce that Perspectives on Psychological Science has today released the first approved protocol for a Registered Replication Report. The protocol is for a replication of the core finding from the following article: 
Schooler, J. W., & Engstler-Schooler, T. Y. (1990). Verbal overshadowing of visual memories: Some things are better left unsaid. Cognitive Psychology, 22, 36-71.
We are now inviting secondary replicator proposals for those interested in contributing to this Registered Replication Report. See below for more information and instructions, and look for further information from APS this morning as well.

The rationale for replicating this study:
Prior to the original finding of verbal overshadowing, most memory research suggested that any rehearsal of to-be-remembered materials would enhance recall of those materials. The original verbal overshadowing result was both theoretically important and surprising because it showed that verbally rehearsing an experienced event impaired memory for visual details from that event. The finding suggested that eyewitness recollection might be impaired by asking witnesses to describe what they saw, a result with both practical and theoretical importance. Over the ensuing years, the study╩╝s original author (Jonathan Schooler) has tried to reproduce that finding, and the measured effect sizes were substantially smaller than those of the original study—the effect seems to be more temperamental than initially thought. Despite receiving more than 500 citations since it was first published in 1990, few other laboratories have attempted direct replications of the crucial first study. Moreover, Schooler has argued that his attempts to repeat the experiment have resulted in a reduced effect size. He attributes that reduction to an active mechanism, the so-called “decline effect." His writing about the reduced effect size of this result has received extensive coverage in journals and the popular media, including commentaries in Nature and a feature article in the New Yorker. The effect itself appears regularly in cognitive psychology textbooks as well. Given the uncertainty about the size of the effect, direct replication of the original study by multiple laboratories will help determine the robustness of the interfering effects of verbal rehearsal on recognition of visual materials.
About Registered Replication Reports:
Registered Replication Reports are a new article type at Perspectives on Psychological Science designed to better estimate the size of influential effects, especially those for which there is controversy about the effect size or for which there have been few or no direct replications. Alex Holcombe and I are serving as associate editors for these reports, with Bobbie Spellman as editor in chief. 
As part of the review process for these reports, we develop a protocol for a direct replication and then make that protocol public so that multiple laboratories can contribute their own, independent, direct replications. The protocol is pre-registered and vetted for accuracy before any data collection begins. The collected set of replications then will be published together as part of a single article in the pages of Perspectives, with all results published regardless of the outcome. All laboratories contributing a replication will be authors on the final manuscript, with their individual contributions also identified alongside their results. The final reports will be open-access, and all data from each replication attempt will be posted online at the Open Science Framework. The end-result of this replication effort will be a meta-analytic assessment, across all the direct replications, of the size of the effect. With all data and results available and open-access, others researchers will be able to aid in understanding the underlying effect by contributing re-analyses or commentaries.
More information and how to contribute a replication:
  • Active protocols for Registered Replication Reports at Perspectives. (This one will be added later today, with more to come soon.)
  • Open Science Framework page for the Schooler & Engstler-Schooler (1990) protocol. The page includes the approved protocol, all experimental materials, and instructions for joining the project. 

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