New Study Accepted: The Object Orientation Effect

We are pleased to announce that our third official study, proposed by Dr. Sau-Chin Chen of Tzu-Chi University, has been selected. It will examine the extent to which the object orientation effect, in which language comprehension can guide later perception, extends across numerous world languages. For example, a picture of a flying eagle is identified faster after reading “He saw the eagle in the sky” than “He saw the eagle in the nest.”

aguila picture Eagle Bald American Bald-eagle-44

Here is a bit more information from Sau-Chin:

When we read a sentence describing an object in context, such as ‘The eagle is in the sky’, our minds simulate the visual properties of the eagle. This general concept is supported by findings from the sentence-picture verification task. In this task, target objects that match the probe sentence (e.g., the flying eagle) are identified faster than target objects that mismatch the probe sentence (e.g., the sitting eagle). This pattern is called the “match advantage.” So far, this effect has been relatively robust across a range of characteristics of target objects, such as shape, color, size, and orientation. These specific match advantages are named the shape effect, the color effect, the size effect, and the orientation effect, respectively. 

However, there is some inconsistency in orientation effect findings between the studies with a comprehension task (Stanfield & Zwaan, 2001; Zwaan & Pecher, 2012) and studies without a comprehension task (De Koning, Wassenburg, Bos, & van der Schoot, 2017; Hoeben-Mannaert, Dijkstra, & Zwaan, 2017). This project aims to identify the source of these inconsistent findings and assess the extent to which the effect generalizes across languages.

We have also decided to “bundle” this study with Dr. Curtis Phill’s investigation of the gendered nature of social category representations. This bundling will allow us to efficiently collect data for both studies in a large and international sample using a single combined and brief (less than 30 minutes) data collection session in each lab.

We will begin recruiting specific labs from our network for this combined data collection process in the coming weeks. Please congratulate Sau-Chin and stay tuned!

Please visit our Get Involved page to sign up for our mailing list and express your interest in participating.


Accepted for 2018: Gendered Social Category Representations

We have selected the Psychological Science Accelerator’s second study. Congratulations to Dr. Curtis Phills, University of North Florida, who submitted a very compelling proposal to investigate the degree to which cognitive representations of a host of social categories are gendered. Data collection will begin in early 2018.


One of the strengths of this submission, beyond its intellectual merits, is the fact that it can be administered quite quickly and easily in a range of research settings. It remains possible that this study will be paired with another brief study into a single data collection session.

Dr. Phills provided the following background and rationale for his proposed study:

“Research related to the intersectional invisibility hypothesis (Purdie-Vaughns & Eibach, 2008) and the gendered nature of race (Carpinella, Chen, Hamilton, & Johnson, 2015; Goff, Thomas, & Jackson, 2008; Johnson, Freeman, & Pauker, 2012; Thomas, Dovidio, & West, 2014) suggest men and women may not be equally represented in the cognitive representations of social categories. Research has found people are more likely to think of a Black man than a Black woman when imagining a Black person (Schug, Alt, & Klauer, 2015) and associate Black men more quickly with Black people than Black women (Thomas et al., 2014). Understanding the extent to which men are overrepresented in the cognitive representations of minority groups is a necessary step in designing effective anti-bias interventions. For example, if Black women are not included in the cognitive representation of Black people then interventions designed to reduce bias against Black people or Black men may not ameliorate bias against Black women. This project is designed to investigate the over-representation of men in the cognitive representations of many social categories (e.g., racial, ethnic, gender, political, and religious categories) around the world. Ultimately, it is hoped that this project will contribute to the design of more effective anti-bias interventions by encouraging researchers to specifically include the women of minority groups–especially for groups in which men are over-represented.”

We look forward to working with Dr. Phills to finalize data the data collection protocol and data analysis plan soon!

The Psychological Science Accelerator’s First Study

We are excited to announce that we have selected our first study to be conducted with the Psychological Science Accelerator distributed laboratory network.

Ben Jones and Lisa DeBruine of the University of Glasgow ( submitted an excellent proposal to test if Oosterhof and Todorov’s (2008) valence-dominance model of social perception generalizes across world regions. In their submission they explain,

Oosterhof and Todorov (2008 PNAS) found that Principal Component Analysis of trait ratings of face images made by students at a US university produced two components. The first component, which they labeled ‘valence’, was highly correlated with rated trustworthiness. The second, which they labeled ‘dominance’, was highly correlated with rated dominance. Although this two-component model of social judgments of faces has become very influential, the extent to which it applies to trait ratings of faces made in other regions of the world is not yet known. The proposed project would use confirmatory factor analysis to establish whether the model described in Oosterhof and Todorov (2008 PNAS) can (1) be replicated in a new sample of North American raters and (2) can also explains trait-ratings made in other world regions (United Nations Country Grouping: Africa, Asia, Central America, Eastern Europe, European Union, Middle East, North America, Oceania, South America, The Caribbean).”

Image result for todorov face perception

Their blinded submission was reviewed by over 40 members of the Psychological Science Accelerator. Our Study Selection Committee found it feasible for our initial efforts, our Advisory Committees noted many strengths of the submission and the likely impact of such a study, and we ultimately decided it was an excellent study to kick-off the Accelerator!

In the coming days and weeks, all experimental materials, protocols, translated instructions, and analysis scripts will be finalized in a collaborative effort between the proposing authors and our committee members. We look forward to subsequently matching laboratories from our network with this exciting project.

While we will invest considerable data collection in this study, it will not come close to exhausting the overall data collection capacity of the Psychological Science Accelerator for 2018. Thus, we continue to review the other excellent and exciting submissions that we received following our first call for studies. More announcements will be coming soon!

If you would like to join the Psychological Science Accelerator, to assist in data collection for this specific study, or to be involved going forward, please sign up here to receive more information!

Timeline for late 2017 and early 2018

Here is a brief run-down of our timeline for the remainder of 2017 and early 2018.

Currently happening:  Review the 8 (quite interesting and promising) submissions that we received in response to our first call for studies.

November 2017:  Make final selections for which studies to include in our initial data collection sessions.

December 2017:  Finalize all data collection materials, protocols, and data analytic plans for selected studies in collaboration with the proposing authors of the selected studies.

December 2017:  Pair data collection teams with selected studies based on power analyses, match between lab resources and the demands of the selected studies, and the overall data collection capacity of the network.

Early 2018:  Submit our commentary paper introducing the Psychology Science Accelerator’s mission, core principles, policies, promise, and likely challenges.

Early 2018:  Commence data collection on our first empirical projects!

Early 2018:  Seek funding to support general development of the Accelerator and to facilitate data collection for resource intensive studies.

2018 and forever onward:  Re-evaluate our policies and procedures based on public feedback and lessons learned from our first round of study selection, data collection team matching, and the logistics of early data collection.

2018 and forever onward:  Review and accept more study submissions and collect LOTS of data.

2018 and forever onward:  Recruit more researchers all around the world to contribute in any way they can to the Psychological Science Accelerator!

This, of course, is the optimistic version 🙂