Thursday, March 4, 2021

Can Researchers’ Personal Characteristics Shape Their Statistical Inferences?

Can Researchers’ Personal Characteristics Shape Their Statistical Inferences? Elizabeth W. Dunn, Lihan Chen et al. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, August 31, 2020.

Abstract: Researchers’ subjective judgments may affect the statistical results they obtain. This possibility is particularly stark in Bayesian hypothesis testing: To use this increasingly popular approach, researchers specify the effect size they are expecting (the “prior mean”), which is then incorporated into the final statistical results. Because the prior mean represents an expression of confidence that one is studying a large effect, we reasoned that scientists who are more confident in their research skills may be inclined to select larger prior means. Across two preregistered studies with more than 900 active researchers in psychology, we showed that more self-confident researchers selected larger prior means. We also found suggestive but somewhat inconsistent evidence that men may choose larger prior means than women, due in part to gender differences in researcher self-confidence. Our findings provide the first evidence that researchers’ personal characteristics might shape the statistical results they obtain with Bayesian hypothesis testing.

Keywords: confidence, gender, Bayesian inference, hypothesis testing

Body dissatisfaction is highest in heterosexual women and lowest in heterosexual men

Malillos, Monica H., Elena Theofanous, Keith R. Laws, and Paul Jenkinson. 2021. “Gender, Sexual Orientation and Body Dissatisfaction: A Meta-analysis Covering Four Decades of Research.” PsyArXiv. March 4. doi:10.31234/


Background: Four decades of research has assessed how gender and/or sexual orientation contribute to levels of body dissatisfaction (BD). The findings have proven somewhat equivocal and little attention has been paid to potential moderators. Method: The current meta-analysis compared BD in gay and heterosexual men (38 overall effects), and lesbian and heterosexual women (25 overall effects). Additional pairwise comparisons explored differences between heterosexual men and heterosexual women, gay men and lesbians, gay men and heterosexual women, and heterosexual men and lesbian women.

Results: Random effects model meta-analyses revealed greater levels of BD in gay men compared to heterosexual men (g = -0.36, 95% CI -0.43, -0.29). By contrast, BD was greater in heterosexual women than lesbians (g = 0.09 95% CI 0.03, 0.15). Year of publication and mean difference in age between gay and heterosexual samples moderated the relationship between BD and sexual orientation, but only for men. Pairwise comparisons indicated that BD is highest in heterosexual women and lowest in heterosexual men.

Conclusions: Findings indicate that both gender and sexual orientation influence BD. We identified a number of limitations in the existing research base, and make recommendations for future research.

Conservative (vs. liberal) providers enhance consumer experience because conservative providers are higher on trait‐conscientiousness; consumers expect to receive better service from liberals due to their higher openness

How Consumer Experience Is Shaped by the Political Orientation of Service Providers. Alexander Davidson  Derek A. Theriault. Journal of Consumer Psychology, March 3 2021.

Abstract: This research documents the counterintuitive effect that consumers actually have better service experiences with politically conservative service providers, but expect to have better experiences with politically liberal service providers. First, we document the effect in actual consumer service experience across three different contexts (Airbnb hosts, Uber drivers, waiters), and demonstrate that conservative (vs. liberal) providers enhance consumer experience (studies 1, 2a, 2b), because conservative providers are higher on trait‐conscientiousness (study 3). Second, in an experiment (study 4), we document expectations about service experience and demonstrate that consumers expect to receive better service from liberals (vs. conservatives). We explain that this effect emerges because consumers do not perceive that conservatives (vs. liberals) are more conscientious, but do perceive that they are less open. Overall, our theoretical framework outlines how conservative providers possess an unknown strength (higher conscientiousness) and a known weakness (lower openness), which leads to different actual and expected consumer service experiences. These novel findings provide valuable contributions to our understanding of how consumers are impacted by the political orientation of marketplace providers.