Article retracted, but the message lives on
University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria, .Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (Impact Factor: 2.99). 08/2013; 21(2). DOI: 10.3758/s13423-013-0500-6
The retraction of an original article aims to ensure that readers are alerted to the fact that the findings are not trustworthy. However, the present research suggests that individuals still believe in the findings of an article even though they were later told that the data were fabricated and that the article was retracted. Participants in a debriefing condition and a no-debriefing condition learned about the scientific finding of an empirical article, whereas participants in a control condition did not. Afterward, participants in the debriefing condition were told that the article had been retracted because of fabricated data. Results showed that participants in the debriefing condition were less likely to believe in the findings than participants in the no-debriefing condition but were more likely to believe in the findings than participants in the control condition, suggesting that individuals do adjust their beliefs in the perceived truth of a scientific finding after debriefing-but insufficiently. Mediational analyses revealed that the availability of generated causal arguments underlies belief perseverance. These results suggest that a retraction note of an empirical article in a scientific journal is not sufficient to ensure that readers of the original article no longer believe in the article's conclusions.
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ABSTRACT: Mehta and Zhu (Science, 323, 1226-1229, 2009) hypothesized that the color red induces avoidance motivation and that the color blue induces approach motivation. In one experiment, they reported that anagrams of avoidance motivation words were solved more quickly on red backgrounds and that approach motivation anagrams were solved more quickly on blue backgrounds. Reported here is a direct replication of that experiment, using the same anagrams, instructions, and colors, with more than triple the number of participants used in the original study. The results did not show the Mehta and Zhu color-priming effects, even though statistical power was sufficient to detect the effect. The results call into question the existence of their color-priming effect on the solution of anagrams.
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ABSTRACT: Scientific misconduct appears to be on the rise. However, an accused researcher may later be exonerated. The present research examines to what extent participants adhere to their attitude toward a researcher who allegedly committed academic misconduct after learning that the researcher is innocent. In two studies, participants in an exoneration and an uncorrected accusation condition learned that the ethics committee of a researcher's university demanded the retraction of one of the researcher's articles, whereas participants in a control condition did not receive this information. As intended, this manipulation led to a more favorable attitude toward the researcher in the control compared to the exoneration and the uncorrected accusation conditions (pre-exoneration attitude). Then, participants in the exoneration condition learned that the researcher was exonerated and that the article was not retracted. Participants in the uncorrected accusation and the control condition were not informed about the exoneration. Results revealed that the exoneration effectively worked, in that participants in the exoneration condition had a more favorable attitude (post-exoneration attitude) toward the researcher than did participants in the uncorrected accusation condition. Moreover, the post-exoneration attitude toward the researcher was similar in the exoneration and the control conditions. Finally, in the exoneration condition only, participants' post-exoneration attitude was more favorable than their pre-exoneration attitude. These findings suggest that an exoneration of an accused researcher restores the researcher's credibility.
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