Establishing a causal chain: Why experiments are often more effective than mediational analyses in examining psychological processes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89(6), 845-851

Psychology Department, University of Waterloo, ON, Canada.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 01/2006; 89(6):845-51. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.89.6.845
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The authors propose that experiments that utilize mediational analyses as suggested by R. M. Baron and D. A. Kenny (1986) are overused and sometimes improperly held up as necessary for a good social psychological paper. The authors argue that when it is easy to manipulate and measure a proposed psychological process that a series of experiments that demonstrates the proposed causal chain is superior. They further argue that when it is easy to manipulate a proposed psychological process but difficult to measure it that designs that examine underlying process by utilizing moderation can be effective. It is only when measurement of a proposed psychological process is easy and manipulation of it is difficult that designs that rely on mediational analyses should be preferred, and even in these situations careful consideration should be given to the limiting factors of such designs.

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Available from: Steven J Spencer, Sep 27, 2015
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    • "Study 2 demonstrated that consumers who realize they overpaid for a product can increase satisfaction by price-dropping. Specifically, this increase in satisfaction from price-dropping overpayment occurs for those who are sensitive to status, again demonstrating the mechanism through which price-dropping overpayment occurs (Spencer et al. 2005). Thus, consumers who overpay and are sensitive to status cues may successfully cope with the dissatisfaction that follows an overpayment by mentioning the (high) price paid to others. "
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    • "eded to examine the effects of behavioral disinhibition on private conformity as well as its effects on additional other - oriented reactions , including relevant cognitions , feelings , and other internalized responses . Although we believe that the effects of reminders of behavioral disinhibition are better studied using a chain of experiments ( Spencer et al . , 2005 ) , rather than by attempting to tap intervening variables that may disturb the effects of the reminders , we do want to note explicitly that future research is needed to examine relevant moderators and mediators of the processes suggested by our findings . For example , in earlier research we found that differences in social value orie"
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    • "evidence for mediation of the SAL by trust, IV 1 should still contribute to Trust 2 but become redundant for Attraction 2 because of the manipulated trust (Spencer et al., 2005). Such patterns of significant and nonsignificant effects of the IV 1 and IV 2 on the trust and attraction responses measured at the two occasions might provide a much neater experimental evidence for mediation of the SAL by trust than that from the previously employed multi-equation regression framework with the data from a measurement-of-mediator design. "
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