Paper on “better-than-average effect” retracted for being, well, worse than average
Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.
There’s been another retraction in social psychology, but before you lump it together with the field’s problem children — read: Diederik Stapel — it seems to be an example of researchers coming forward about an honest error.
Here’s the notice for “The Motivated Self: Self-Affirmation and the Better-Than-Average Effect,” originally published last year in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin:
This article has been retracted from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin at the request of the lead author, Dr. Guenther, after the authors identified condition coding errors in Study 1A. Corrections resulted in the critical comparison between affirmed and control participants no longer reaching statistical significance.
Guenther, of Creighton University, tells us that the notice tells the tale, namely that “some participants had been incorrectly coded as belonging to one condition when they should have been coded as belonging to the other”
…and when the errors were corrected, there was no longer a significant difference between the experimental and control group. Thankfully the errors were caught before the paper published to an issue, but unfortunately, we were too late for Online First. No other papers are affected by this.
Hat tip: Rolf Degen
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