The State of Social and Personality Science: Rotten to the Core, Not So Bad, Getting Better, or Getting Worse?

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Forthcoming

94 Pages Posted: 1 May 2017 Last revised: 2 May 2017

Matt Motyl

University of Illinois at Chicago; University of Illinois at Chicago

Alexander P Demos

University of Illinois at Chicago

Timothy S. Carsel

University of Illinois at Chicago

Brittany E. Hanson

University of Illinois at Chicago

Zachary J. Melton

University of Illinois at Chicago

Allison B. Mueller

University of Illinois at Chicago

JP Prims

University of Illinois at Chicago

Jiaqing Sun

University of Illinois at Chicago

Anthony N. Washburn

University of Illinois at Chicago

Kendal M. Wong

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Psychology

Caitlyn A. Yantis

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Psychology

Linda J. Skitka

University of Illinois at Chicago

Date Written: April 27, 2017

Abstract

The scientific quality of social and personality psychology has been debated at great length in recent years. Despite research on the prevalence of questionable research practices (QRPs) and the replicability of particular findings, the impact of the current discussion on research practices is unknown. The current studies examine whether and how practices have changed, if at all, over the last 10 years. In Study 1, we surveyed 1,166 social and personality psychologists about how the current debate has affected their perceptions of their own and the field’s research practices. In Study 2, we coded the research practices and critical test statistics from social and personality psychology articles published in 2003-2004 and 2013-2014.

Together, these studies suggest that:

(1) perceptions of the current state of the field are more pessimistic than optimistic;

(2) the discussion has increased researchers’ intentions to avoid QRPs and adopt proposed best practices,

(3) the estimated replicability of research published in 2003-2004 may not be as bad as many feared, and

(4) research published in 2013-2014 shows some improvement over research published in 2003-2004, a result that suggests the field is evolving in a positive direction.

Keywords: Meta-Science, Questionable Research Practices, Replicability

Suggested Citation

Motyl, Matt and Demos, Alexander P and Carsel, Timothy S. and Hanson, Brittany E. and Melton, Zachary J. and Mueller, Allison B. and Prims, JP and Sun, Jiaqing and Washburn, Anthony N. and Wong, Kendal M. and Yantis, Caitlyn A. and Skitka, Linda J., The State of Social and Personality Science: Rotten to the Core, Not So Bad, Getting Better, or Getting Worse? (April 27, 2017). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2959799

Matt Motyl (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1007 W. Harrison St. (m/c 285)
Psychology Department
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

HOME PAGE: http://motyl.people.uic.edu

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1102 Behavioral Science Building (BSB)
Chicago, IL 60607-7137
United States

HOME PAGE: http://motyl.people.uic.edu

Alexander P Demos

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Timothy S. Carsel

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Brittany E. Hanson

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Zachary J. Melton

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Allison B. Mueller

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

JP Prims

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Jiaqing Sun

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Anthony N. Washburn

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Kendal M. Wong

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Psychology ( email )

1009 Behavioral Sciences Building (BSB)
1007 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Caitlyn A. Yantis

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Psychology ( email )

1009 Behavioral Sciences Building (BSB)
1007 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Linda J. Skitka

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

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