ZPID - Leibniz Institute for Psychology
Recent publications
Teachers around the world are increasingly required by policy guidelines to inform their teaching practices with scientific evidence. However, due to the division of cognitive labor, teachers often cannot evaluate the veracity of such evidence first-hand, since they lack specific methodological skills, such as the ability to evaluate study designs. For this reason, second-hand evaluations come into play, during which individuals assess the credibility and trustworthiness of the person or other entity who conveys the evidence instead of evaluating the information itself. In doing so, teachers' belief systems (e.g., beliefs about the trustworthiness of different sources, about science in general, or about specific educational topics) can play a pivotal role. But judging evidence based on beliefs may also lead to distortions which, in turn, can result in barriers for evidence-informed school practice. One popular example is the so-called confirmation bias, that is, preferring belief-consistent and avoiding or questioning belief-inconsistent information. Therefore, we experimentally investigated (1) whether teachers trust knowledge claims made by other teachers and scientific studies differently, (2) whether there is an interplay between teachers' trust in these specific knowledge claims, their trust in educational science, and their global trust in science, and (3) whether their prior topic-specific beliefs influence trust ratings in the sense of a confirmation bias. In an incomplete rotated design with three preregistered hypotheses, N = 414 randomly and representative sampled in-service teachers from Germany indicated greater trust in scientific evidence (information provided by a scientific journal) compared to anecdotal evidence (information provided by another teacher on a teacher blog). In addition, we found a positive relationship between trust in educational science and trust in specific knowledge claims from educational science. Finally, participants also showed a substantial confirmation bias, as they trusted educational science claims more when these matched (rather than contradicted) their prior beliefs. Based on these results, the interplay of trust, first-hand evaluation, and evidence-informed school practice is discussed.
Selective exposure to online health information can be ascribed to two related defense motives: the motivation to confirm one's subjective perceptions and the motivation to protect relevant parts of the self-image, such as physical integrity. Our aim was to identify how these motives come into effect in the context of a health threat (fictitious feedback on an alleged heart disease risk). In a preregistered online study with N = 763 participants, we analyzed the impact of perceived and suggested risk on the degree of bias in selecting risk-related information on a fictitious Google search results page. Applying a 2 × 2 design with the experimental factor "risk feedback" and the quasi-experimental factor "perceived risk," we formulated six hypotheses. First, we expected a main effect of perceived risk on selective exposure to information suggesting no risk, and second, we hypothesized a main effect of perceived risk on mean quality rating of information suggesting a risk. Third, we proposed a main effect of risk feedback on selective exposure to information which suggests no risk, and fourth, we proposed a main effect of risk feedback on mean quality rating of information suggesting a risk. Fifth, we expected an interaction effect between perceived and suggested risk, and sixth, we proposed an interaction effect between perceived and suggested risk in different forms for each of the four conditions on quality ratings. Only the third hypothesis was confirmed: Receiving information which suggested a health risk increased the tendency to select information denying the risk. Additional exploratory analyses revealed moderator effects of health information literacy and participant age on the aforementioned relationships. In sum, our results underline the crucial role of defense motives in the context of a suggested health threat.
Researchers studying person-environment fit can choose between various measurement approaches. Even though these measures are distinctly different, they often get used interchangeably, which makes interpreting the results of person-environment fit studies difficult. In the present article, we contrast the most commonly used measurement approaches for person-environment fit in higher education and compare them in terms of explained variance. We obtained data on the fit as well as subjective and objective study-related outcomes of N = 595 university students. We analyzed the fit between the demands of the study program and the abilities of the student, using the algebraic, squared and absolute difference score, response surface analysis (RSA), and direct fit as measurement approaches. Our results indicate that RSA explains the most variance for objective outcomes, and that direct fit explains the most variance for subjective outcomes. We hope that this contribution will help researchers distinguish the different measurement approaches of demands-abilities fit (and ultimately person-environment fit) and use them accordingly.
In two studies, we examined whether open science practices, such as making materials, data, and code of a study openly accessible, positively affect public trust in science. Furthermore, we investigated whether the potential trust-damaging effects of research being funded privately (e.g. by a commercial enterprise) may be buffered by such practices. After preregistering six hypotheses, we conducted a survey study (Study 1; N = 504) and an experimental study (Study 2; N = 588) in two German general population samples. In both studies, we found evidence for the positive effects of open science practices on trust, though it should be noted that in Study 2, results were more inconsistent. We did not however find evidence for the aforementioned buffering effect. We conclude that while open science practices may contribute to increasing trust in science, the importance of making use of open science practices visible should not be underestimated.
Plain language summaries (PLSs) have been introduced to communicate research in an understandable way to a nonexpert audience. Guidelines for writing PLSs have been developed and empirical research on PLSs has been conducted, but terminology and research approaches in this comparatively young field vary considerably. This prompted us to review the current state of the art of the theoretical and empirical literature on PLSs. The two main objectives of this review were to develop a conceptual framework for PLS theory, and to synthesize empirical evidence on PLS criteria. We began by searching Web of Science, PubMed, PsycInfo and PSYNDEX (last search 07/2021). In our review, we included empirical investigations of PLSs, reports on PLS development, PLS guidelines, and theoretical articles referring to PLSs. A conceptual framework was developed through content analysis. Empirical studies investigating effects of PLS criteria on defined outcomes were narratively synthesized. We identified 7,714 records, of which 90 articles met the inclusion criteria. All articles were used to develop a conceptual framework for PLSs which comprises 12 categories: six of PLS aims and six of PLS characteristics. Thirty-three articles empirically investigated effects of PLSs on several outcomes, but study designs were too heterogeneous to identify definite criteria for high-quality PLSs. Few studies identified effects of various criteria on accessibility, understanding, knowledge, communication of research, and empowerment. We did not find empirical evidence to support most of the criteria we identified in the PLS writing guidelines. We conclude that although considerable work on establishing and investigating PLSs is available, empirical evidence on criteria for high-quality PLSs remains scarce. The conceptual framework developed in this review may provide a valuable starting point for future guideline developers and PLS researchers.
There is a growing public interest in science and, by extension, in psychology, and human behavior. Yet, detailed investigations on whether academic psychological research activity matches lay interests are still scarce. In addition, while lay-friendly communication of research findings becomes continually more important, it is unclear which subfields of psychological research are particularly interesting to laypeople. To address these research gaps, we carried out an explorative study of psychological literature included in two large reference databases, one with a German (PSYNDEX) and one with an international (PsycInfo) scope. The years of 2018-2020 were scanned for articles belonging to one of 20 topic areas assessed as most interesting by lay participants in a previous study. We determined and compared the share of empirical research and research syntheses for each topic area and database and computed rank correlations between lay interest and academic publication volume. Results suggest a positive relationship between lay interest and academic publication activity specifically for research syntheses. Additionally, topic areas associated with clinical psychology offered a large share of research syntheses, while other topic areas such as "Psychodynamics" or "Industrial & Organizational Psychology" encompassed a smaller share of syntheses. Finally, we outline perspectives for long-term monitoring of psychology-related lay interests. Thus, the present study connects academic activity with the public interest in psychology by identifying and quantifying research syntheses for topics garnering the most lay interest.
Zusammenfassung Ziel der Studie Bisher fehlt es hierzulande an Erkenntnissen zur Einstellung zur Grippeimpfung in der Grippesaison 2021/2022. Basierend auf der COSMO-Befragung („COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring“) ist es daher das Ziel dieser Studie, die Einstellung zur Grippeimpfung näher zu beleuchten. Methodik Welle 49 (10. und 11. August 2021) der COSMO-Studie (n=967; deutschlandweite nicht-probabilistische Quotenstichprobe; 18 bis 74 Jahre). Ergebnisse Dieses Jahr plant ca. ein Drittel der Befragten (und der Beschäftigten im Gesundheitswesen) eine Grippeimpfung und bei der Risikogruppe der über 60-Jährigen (bis 74 Jahre in unserer Stichprobe) mehr als die Hälfte. Entsprechende Korrelate (wie das Geschlecht: Frauen mit einer geringeren Wahrscheinlichkeit einer beabsichtigten Grippeimpfung) wurden identifiziert. Schlussfolgerung Ärztinnen und Ärzte sollten insbesondere auch Frauen über die Vorteile der Grippeschutzimpfung, gerade auch in der Pandemie, informieren und Daten zur nachgewiesenen Schutzwirkung der Grippeimpfung möglichst überzeugend (z. B. unter Nutzung bestehender Broschüren) kommunizieren.
Fostering students’ epistemic beliefs is key for achieving a more nuanced approach to psychological knowledge. The Bendixen-Rule model on epistemic change posits epistemic doubt (questioning one's prior epistemic beliefs), epistemic volition (the will to change one's beliefs) and resolution strategies (strategies to overcome epistemic doubt by epistemic change) as three interrelated process components that lead to the development of more advanced epistemic beliefs. However, while the model has risen to relative prominence over the last years, the postulated mechanisms of change still lack empirical backing. In this article, we report on an experimental study with N = 153 psychology students that aimed at testing the effects of two specific resolution strategies—reflection and social interaction. This was realized by developing intervention components that target the two strategies, and by analyzing these components’ incremental effects on epistemic change. Results showed that reflection and social interaction might be promising strategies to address epistemic doubt. Psychology lecturers should thus give students room for reflecting on and discussing their beliefs once doubt has arisen.
The role of family firms in innovation and the question of whether family firms show differences in innovation investments and outcomes are intensely debated. To address these issues, Duran, Kammerlander, van Essen, and Zellweger (2016) published a meta-analytic structural equation model (MASEM) showing that family firms produce more innovation output with less innovation input. In the present article, we present the results of two empirical studies. Study 1 replicates the original methodological approach and study 2 provides an extension by using an updated and enlarged sample of 290 papers, adopting a more advanced multilevel approach, and controlling for firm age. The results show that while we could successfully replicate the original results of DKEZ in study 1, study 2 revealed only a weak negative effect of family firm status on innovation input and no effect on innovation output. Our results suggest that family firms are not producing more innovation output with less innovation input and that further research should focus on the heterogeneity within the group of family firms rather than simply comparing family to nonfamily firms. We close with a discussion of the methodological implications for meta-analyses in entrepreneurship research and a call for future research on family firm innovation. Our dataset and analytical procedures are publicly available.
Open scholarship has transformed research, and introduced a host of new terms in the lexicon of researchers. The ‘Framework for Open and Reproducible Research Teaching’ (FORRT) community presents a crowdsourced glossary of open scholarship terms to facilitate education and effective communication between experts and newcomers.
Plain language summaries (PLS) aim to communicate research findings to laypersons in an easily understandable manner. Despite the societal relevance of making psychological research findings available to the public, our empirical knowledge on how to write PLS of psychology studies is still scarce. In this article, we present two experimental studies investigating six characteristics of PLS for psychological meta-analyses. We specifically focused on approaches for (1) handling technical terms, (2) communicating the quality of evidence by explaining the methodological approach of meta-analyses, (3) explaining how synthesized studies operationalized their research questions, (4) handling statistical terms, (5) structuring PLS, and (6) explaining complex meta-analytic designs. To develop empirically validated guidelines on writing PLS, two randomized controlled studies including large samples stratified for education status, age, and gender (N Study1 = 2,288 and N Study2 = 2,211) were conducted. Eight PLS of meta-analyses from different areas of psychology were investigated as study materials. Main outcome variables were user experience (i.e., perceived accessibility, perceived understanding, and perceived empowerment) and knowledge acquisition, as well as understanding and knowledge of the quality of evidence. Overall, our hypotheses were partially confirmed, with our results underlining, among other things, the importance of explaining or replacing content-related technical terms (i.e., theoretical concepts) and indicating the detrimental effects of providing too many details on statistical concepts on user experience. Drawing on these and further findings, we derive five empirically well-founded rules on the lay-friendly communication of meta-analytic research findings in psychology. Implications for PLS authors and future research on PLS are discussed.
Munro (2010, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2010.00588.x) found that individuals, when confronted with belief-disconfirming scientific evidence, resist this information by concluding that the topic at hand is not amenable to scientific investigation—a scientific impotence excuse. We strived to replicate this finding and to extend this work by analyzing other factors that might lead to scientific impotence excuses. As a person-specific factor, we analyzed the role of epistemic beliefs, and as a situational factor, we focused on the contradictoriness of the evidence at hand. Three sets of hypotheses were preregistered. In an experimental 2 × 3 online study drawing on a general population sample of N = 901 participants, we first assessed our participants’ prior beliefs on the effects of acupuncture versus massaging (pro acupuncture vs. no opinion). One experimental group then read fictitious empirical evidence claiming superiority of acupuncture, another group read evidence speaking against acupuncture, and a third group read conflicting evidence (i.e., a mix of pro- and contra-findings). Scientific impotence excuses were measured by a newly developed questionnaire. Our first hypothesis, which suggested that participants believing in the superiority of acupuncture would make stronger scientific impotence excuses when confronted with belief-disconfirming findings, was confirmed. A second hypothesis suggested that scientific impotence excuses would be stronger when individuals were confronted with evidence exhibiting a “nature” that contradicts their topic-specific epistemic beliefs. This hypothesis was partially supported. A third hypothesis suggested that individuals confronted with conflicting evidence would make stronger scientific impotence excuses, and this was again confirmed. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Recent years have seen dramatic changes in research practices in psychological science. In particular, preregistration of study plans before conducting a study has been identified as an important tool to help increase the transparency of science and to improve the robustness of psychological research findings. This article presents the Psychological Research Preregistration-Quantitative (PRP-QUANT) Template produced by a Joint Psychological Societies Preregistration Task Force consisting of the American Psychological Association (APA), the British Psychological Society (BPS), and the German Psychological Society (DGPs), supported by the Center for Open Science (COS) and the Leibniz Institute for Psychology (ZPID). The goal of the Task Force was to provide the psychological community with a consensus template for the preregistration of quantitative research in psychology, one with wide coverage and the ability, if necessary, to adapt to specific journals, disciplines, and researcher needs. This article covers the structure and use of the PRP-QUANT template, while outlining and discussing the benefits of its use for researchers, authors, funders, and other relevant stakeholders. We hope that by introducing this template and by demonstrating the support of preregistration by major academic psychological societies, we will facilitate an increase in preregistration practices and also the further advancement of transparency and knowledge-sharing in the psychological sciences. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
To enable optimal decision-making based on the best evidence available, open syntheses are called for. To make data accessible and comprehensible even for decision-makers without proficient knowledge in meta-analysis, a graphical user interface (GUI) provides flexible data visualizations including interpretation aids. Moreover, due to a growing number of research findings, efficient and easy updating of meta-analyses is crucial to prevent waste in research. One label for a concept to meet these needs is community-augmented meta-analysis (CAMA). The research community at the one hand feeds the data repository of a CAMA with new data and on the other hand benefits from easy access to data and meta-analyses on a GUI. PsychOpen CAMA has been released recently to serve the psychological research community as a whole by covering a broad scope of potential research domains. PsychOpen CAMA relies on a web application with an OpenCPU server for the R calculations. To achieve interoperability of different datasets with the analysis functions used in PsychOpen CAMA, a template for meta-analytic data and machine-readable metadata are used. In the future, the automation of workflows, flexibility of analysis options, and the scope of the platform will be further developed by making use of synergies with other resources and tools at ZPID. The article provides an overview on the rationale for the necessity of open syntheses and the CAMA approach, as well as a presentation of the architecture, user interface, functionalities and future challenges of PsychOpen CAMA.
When dealing with a health threat, health information seeking (HIS) is a prominent way of engagement coping. Yet, there is only limited research as to its motivational and emotion regulatory antecedents. We present a theoretical model integrating approach and avoidance motivation, emotion regulation, HIS self-efficacy, and problem and emotion coping focus as predictors of HIS. We propose that, in the context of HIS, (1) approach and avoidance motivation have a direct effect on emotion regulation ability (positive and negative, respectively), (2) approach and avoidance motivation have indirect effects on intended comprehensiveness of search via emotion regulation, HIS self-efficacy and problem coping focus, (3) avoidance motivation has a direct effect on emotion coping focus. Our model was tested by means of structural equation modeling in a sample of university students (N = 283). Model fit was good, and all three hypotheses were supported. We show that emotion regulation ability is essential to explain the effects of approach and avoidance motivation on HIS as it fosters self-efficacy and a problem coping focus. The direct effect of avoidance motivation on emotion focus may represent an alternative way of coping with a health threat for those individuals who are highly sensitive to threat-related emotions.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic is posing a global public health burden. These consequences have been shown to increase the risk of mental distress, but the underlying protective and risk factors for mental distress and trends over different waves of the pandemic are largely unknown. Furthermore, it is largely unknown how mental distress is associated with individual protective behavior. Three quota samples, weighted to represent the population forming the German COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring study (24 March and 26 May 2020, and 9 March 2021 with >900 subjects each), were used to describe the course of mental distress and resilience, to identify risk and protective factors during the pandemic, and to investigate their associations with individual protective behaviors. Mental distress increased slightly during the pandemic. Usage of cognitive reappraisal strategies, maintenance of a daily structure, and usage of alternative social interactions decreased. Self-reported resilience, cognitive reappraisal strategies, and maintaining a daily structure were the most important protective factors in all three samples. Adherence to individual protective behaviors (e.g., physical distancing) was negatively associated with mental distress and positively associated with frequency of information intake, maintenance of a daily structure, and cognitive reappraisal. Maintaining a daily structure, training of cognitive reappraisal strategies, and information provision may be targets to prevent mental distress while assuring a high degree of individual protective behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Effects of the respective interventions have to be confirmed in further studies.
In the context of the current “replication crisis” across the sciences, failures to reproduce a finding are often viewed as discrediting it. This paper shows how such a conclusion can be incorrect. In 1981, Schuman and Presser showed that including the word “freedom” in a survey question significantly increased approval of allowing a speech against religion in the USA. New experiments in probability sample surveys (n = 23,370) in the USA and 10 other countries showed that the wording effect replicated in the USA and appeared in four other countries (Canada, Germany, Taiwan, and the Netherlands) but not in the remaining countries. The effect appeared only in countries in which the value of freedom is especially salient and endorsed. Thus, public support for a proposition was enhanced by portraying it as embodying a salient principle of a nation’s culture. Instead of questioning initial findings, inconsistent results across countries signal limits on generalizability and identify an important moderator.
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