Rumors of the 'Nonreplication' of the 'Motivated Numeracy Effect' Are Greatly Exaggerated

15 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2017 Last revised: 30 Oct 2017

See all articles by Dan M. Kahan

Dan M. Kahan

Yale Law School

Ellen Peters

Ohio State University - Psychology Department; Decision Research; University of Oregon

Date Written: August 26, 2017


This paper does three things. First, it describes the design defects (principally, the lack of statistical power) that make it misleading for Ballarini & Sloman (2017) to claim that they “failed to replicate” the results of Kahan, Peters et al. (2017). Second, it presents the positive results of our own replication study. Finally, we conclude with a brief discussion of why confining assertions of non-replication to studies that satisfy emerging replication protocols—in particular the imperative of “faithful recreation of a study with high statistical power” (Brandt, Ijzerman et al 2014, p. 217)—is essential to the contribution such studies can make as building blocks of a cumulative science.

Keywords: replication, gun control, risk perception, science communication

Suggested Citation

Kahan, Dan M. and Peters, Ellen, Rumors of the 'Nonreplication' of the 'Motivated Numeracy Effect' Are Greatly Exaggerated (August 26, 2017). Yale Law & Economics Research Paper No. 584, Available at SSRN: or

Dan M. Kahan (Contact Author)

Yale Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States


Ellen Peters

Ohio State University - Psychology Department ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Decision Research ( email )

1201 Oak Street, Suite 200
Eugene, OR 97401
United States


University of Oregon ( email )

1280 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
United States

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