Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Just a quick thought

A few months ago I shared some analyses showing that there appeared to be an interesting moderator of the influence of weapons on behavioral outcomes: an allegiance effect. The effect size for studies run by former students, post-docs, and coauthors of Berkowitz was moderate, but the effect size for independent researchers was essentially negligible. What to make of that is ultimately going to be speculation. I think it is worthwhile simply to note that this moderator appears to be an important one for making some sense of what was done in this line of research, especially from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. I'll also reiterate something else that seems to be strikingly obvious: this appears to be a highly politicized area of research. Just re-reading literature reviews from proponents and skeptics, it is very apparent that the players involved at the time largely talked past each other. I am now more convinced than ever that we really need to see work by truly independent third parties, and all the better if they're running multi-lab large N registered replication reports (RRRs). The latter especially have been helpful in shedding some insight into the likely magnitude of other social psychology effects, and could do so here as well. I think Table 2 in my recently published meta-analysis provides something of a roadmap as to what might be happening with behavioral outcomes, and the evidence is far from comforting for anyone who is a proponent. That table is not necessarily a nail in the coffin either. Some properly powered behavioral research I believe is underway, and I am going to be eager for those findings to be made public. The evidence from that work will be critical to how I approach this line of research going forward.

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