Special Call for Studies – Studying Generalizability with Global Samples

The Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA), supported by the John Templeton Foundation (JTF), welcomes study proposals to test the generalizability of phenomena related to JTF strategic priorities with large, global samples.

The PSA is a distributed network of researchers from the behavioral sciences across the globe. Our more than 1300 collaborators represent 84 countries from all six populated continents. The mission of the PSA is to accelerate the accumulation of reliable and generalizable evidence in psychological science. This call for studies will select projects that fit within the 5 topic areas, broadly construed, that are prioritized by the JTF.

JTF Priority Topics

To be eligible for this call, projects must investigate questions related to one or more of the strategic priorities of JTF. Below is a list of those priorities. Each is followed by some example research questions and topics. These are meant to just be examples; they are not an exhaustive list of the research questions that could be encompassed by each priority.

  • The dynamics of religious change. Why do religions flourish or lose adherents? What kinds of features of religious organizations drive or repel members? Why and how do people switch religious identities?
  • Intellectual humility. Which factors enhance or inhibit intellectual humility? How can we better study the concept of intellectual humility?
  • Religious cognition. What is the nature of religious belief and how can it be better measured? What causes religious or spiritual experiences and what are the effects of those experiences? How do individuals develop and revise their religious beliefs?
  • The science of character virtue. In particular, what helps individuals to develop curiosity and love? What are the consequences of those virtues? How do religions and perceptions of supernatural agents affect virtue and morality development?
  • Health, religion, and spirituality. Are there associations between religious/spiritual beliefs, experiences, practices, and identities, and physical and mental health? If so, are there underlying causal mechanisms?

Proposal Selection

PSA projects are selected using a rigorous review process. Researchers submit detailed proposals to the PSA for consideration. These proposals resemble 5,000 words Stage 1 Registered Reports (e.g., Chambers, 2013), and contain a theoretical introduction, a description of the planned sample and methods, as well as hypotheses and an analysis plan to test those hypotheses. 

The proposals then undergo several rounds of review, overseen by the PSA’s Study Selection Committee (SSC). First, each proposal is screened for feasibility given the PSA’s current capacity and resources. For instance, a proposal that requires dozens of collection sites with fMRI machines is likely to be rejected based on infeasibility. Simultaneously, the SSC screens out submissions deemed low quality. Proposals that pass this screening are then sent out for peer review. Each proposal is reviewed by 5-10 reviewers, consisting of both PSA members and external experts (see Supporting Materials for peer review rating criteria). These reviewers are selected based on their methodological and/or theoretical expertise related to a given proposal. All submissions are also rated quantitatively by the entire PSA network. The (SSC) then aggregates two sources of info, the comments of the reviewers and ratings from the network, before selecting projects for the PSA to pursue.

Funding and Personnel Support for Studies Resulting from this Call

Projects selected through this special call will be advertised to members of the  PSA network in collaboration with the proposing authors. Each study will be supported by $40,000 of direct funding for data collection. The proposing author teams will also be collectively supported by 3 full-time scientific staff members (a Research Coordinator, a Postdoctoral Researcher, and a Research Scientist), an additional ⅓ time senior staff member (Dr. Christopher R. Chartier), a ½ time staff member equivalent team of undergraduate research assistants, several members of PSA committees (at their discretion), and members of the network at large (at their discretion).

Submission Requirements

The following components are required for all submissions:

  • Cover Page, including the title of the study, date of the latest draft, and keywords
  • Abstract of up to 150 words
  • Main body submission text of up to 5,000 words
  • A version of the submission with a cover page included
  • A masked version of the submission without the cover page
  • References
  • Supplementary materials

The following guidelines are intended to assist you in the preparation of your study submission to the PSA. Submissions normally include a description of the key background literature and motivation for the study, hypotheses, study procedures, proposed statistical analysis plan, a statistical power analysis, and pilot data (wherever applicable).

Introduction

A review of the relevant literature that motivates the research question and a full description of the study aims and hypotheses.

Method

A full description of proposed sample characteristics, including criteria for data inclusion and exclusion (e.g., outlier extraction). Procedures for objectively defining exclusion criteria caused by technical errors or for any other reasons must be specified, including details of how and under what conditions data would be replaced.

A description of study procedures in sufficient detail to allow another researcher to repeat the methodology exactly, without requiring further information.

Analysis Plan

Proposed analysis pipeline, including all preprocessing steps, and a precise description of all planned analyses, including appropriate correction for multiple comparisons. Specify all covariates or regressors. Specify analysis decisions that are contingent on the outcome of prior analyses.

Studies involving Neyman-Pearson inference must include a statistical power analysis. Estimated effect sizes should be justified with reference to the existing literature or theory. Because publication bias inflates published estimates of effect size, power analysis should be based on the lowest available or meaningful estimate of the effect size.

In the case of highly uncertain effect sizes, variable sample size and interim data analysis is permissible but with inspection points stated in advance, appropriate Type I error correction for ‘peeking’ employed, and a final stopping rule for data collection outlined.

For studies involving analyses with Bayes factors, the predictions of the theory must be specified so that a Bayes factor can be calculated. Authors should indicate what distribution will be used to represent the predictions of the theory and how its parameters will be specified.

Full descriptions must be provided of any outcome-neutral criteria that must be met for successful testing of the stated hypotheses. Such quality checks might include the absence of floor or ceiling effects in data distributions, positive controls, or other quality checks that are orthogonal to the experimental hypotheses.

Supplemental Materials

Include full questionnaires, stimuli, and materials needed to conduct the study. Pilot data can be included to establish proof of concept, effect size estimations, or feasibility of proposed methods. Simulated data and analysis scripts are recommended to provide clarity about the exclusion criteria and analysis plan.

These guidelines were adapted from https://osf.io/pukzy.

Evaluation Criteria

Two studies will be selected and implemented through this year’s call. The project will also include a second round of submissions, with two additional studies to be selected, in 2023.

In your submission, you should clearly state how your project aligns with the goals of this special call and discuss why your research topic would specifically benefit from global data collection (e.g., theoretical reasons to predict global variation). 

In evaluating submissions for this special call for studies, we will prioritize projects whose designs are most well suited for promoting generalizability. In particular, we will prioritize studies that seek global samples (as opposed to studies that wish to sample from one or a few countries), studies with very high statistical power, and studies that are more strongly grounded in previous research (such as replication and generalization studies). All of these criteria are intended to maximize our chances of producing generalizable insights on phenomena-of-interest.

In addition, we will evaluate proposals for this special call together so that we can ensure variation across the projects. In particular, we will strive to select a package of studies that, collectively, represent a range of JTF priorities, study designs (e.g., experimental vs. correlational), and researcher backgrounds (e.g., research specialty, researcher location, etc.). This way, we will avoid overrepresenting a given topic, type of research, or type of researcher in this initiative. 

Selection Process and Timeline

Submission deadline: July 20, 2022.
Initial feasibility and quality review: July 20- July 27, 2022.
Reviewer selection: July 27-August 3, 2022.
Network rating solicitation: August 3, 2022.
Review submission deadline: August 17, 2022.
Network rating deadline: August 17, 2022
Study selection decision deadline: August 31, 2022.

Possible submission outcomes include “desk rejection” upon initial review, rejection upon full review, provisional acceptance, or an invitation to revise and resubmit for next year’s call.

Following a successful period of needs assessment, preparation, personnel identification, lab recruitment, and pre-registration, provisionally selected studies will commence data collection in early 2023 and end data collection in late 2023.

Please use this form to submit your proposal.

For pre-submission inquiries, please email Chris Chartier at cchartie@ashland.edu. He is happy to meet with proposing authors and/or answer questions about what is likely to make for a strong submission. 

Call for Proposals: PSA Rare Populations

The Psychological Science Accelerator is a distributed network of researchers across the behavioral sciences. Great theoretical advances can be made by conducting studies with participants being members of rare populations, but power is necessarily small in single-center investigations (due to the populations being rare). With over 1200 labs from 82 countries on all six populated continents, the PSA has the ability to collect large-sample data from rare populations and advance theory. The PSA is able to contribute to the discovery of generalizable knowledge through a new initiative where researchers may propose a study using a rare population for strong theoretical testing.

What is a rare population? 

For this call, rare populations are defined in a broad manner: these include hard-to-reach samples whether because of logistical, geographic, cultural or other reasons. Examples include people extremely high or low on a given trait; people with a specific diagnosis; members of rare minority groups, trauma survivors and other vulnerable populations, and so on. Rare populations (broadly defined) that can be accessed across multiple countries globally are preferred to rare populations that can only be accessed within a specific country/region. This would ensure the engagement of the full PSA network, increased data gathering capabilities of the study and that the results are generalizable and not dependent on the idiosyncrasies of the local data collection.

What makes for a strong submission?

A major factor of the proposals will be to use a study design where studying the rare population would contribute to a major theoretical advance, regardless of the outcome of the results. In this line, a broad range of methodologies are welcome, not only experimental/quantitative but also including descriptive, exploratory, mixed-methods and qualitative designs. Strong submissions should also justify the need for the use of the PSA network and resources.

Stage 1:

Submit a 2-page proposal with a supplementary document. The proposal should include rationale for the study, the targeted rare population and the study design (including measures, protocols and data analysis).

Importantly, the proposal should come with an additional supplementary document that details the steps to be taken for data gathering labs to access the rare population. As applicable, this document may include protocols to “filter” the general population, partnering with relevant local  institutions, or any such criteria as to demarcate the population of interest and how to access them. This is important so PSA can review the feasibility of the proposal.

Note: Rare Populations can be vulnerable and data collection in some countries can pose ethical or legal risk. Please consider this when preparing your submission and be prepared to submit (separate from the 2-page proposal) discussion of any ethical issues from an international, multi-lab perspective.

Stage 1 screening will be conducted blind to authors’ identity by the PSA Rare Populations Working Group with proposals first screened for depth of theoretical advance as well as feasibility.

Stage 2:

If the 2-page proposal passes the first round, we will be requesting the proposers to write a more detailed proposal with an introduction and methods section in a format that can be submitted as a Registered Report to a major journal [e.g. here].

This longer proposal more fully details the theoretical contributions and methods of the study. Importantly, this should also discuss the specific ethical issues of studying the particular rare population of interest. Potential harms and protocols to mitigate these harms should be discussed. 

Review of Stage 2 Proposals will be conducted blind to the authors’ identity, and will be done by the PSA Rare Populations Working Group and content experts. 

Timeline 

Deadline for the 2-page proposal: April 15, 2022 
Announcement for successful proposals: May 6, 2022 
Deadline for the detailed proposal: June 10, 2022 
Announcement for any selected proposal: July 7, 2022 

Initial 2-page proposal with supplemental steps should be submitted using this Google form here.

For general inquiries, email John Protzko (protzko@gmail.com) with the Subject Line: PSA:RP Question.

Launching PSA-Affiliated Projects

Today, the PSA is launching a pilot of a new stream of activity called “PSA-affiliated projects”. 

Due to resource and infrastructure constraints, the PSA is limited in the number of projects it can officially support. Nonetheless, members of the PSA often self-organize to create initiatives and collaborations that are not “officially” supported by the PSA, but are nonetheless guided by PSA principles and policies. The goal for the PSA-affiliated project line is to develop a formal mechanism for recognizing, promoting, and supporting these types of activities.

Official policies and infrastructure will be developed along the way, but PSA-affiliated projects will be expected to follow three rules:

1. Be led by at least one member of the PSA who has agreed to abide by the PSA Code of Conduct.

2. Follow the five PSA Core Principles (or transparently articulate why those principles are not followed).

3. Provide annual updates on how PSA core principles are being upheld (until the project is completed).

To pilot this initiative, we will start with one project: “The Preference-Matching Project: Testing the Predictive Validity of Ideal Partner Preference-Matching Across Cultures”, led by Paul Eastwick, Jehan Sparks, Eli J. Finkel, & Eva M. Meza. This project provides a unique opportunity to test the PSA-affiliated initiative because it was originally accepted with minor revisions by the PSA Study Selection Committee–but placed on a waitlist due to PSA resource constraints. PSA committees will not offer direct support to this project, but we suspect that many members of the PSA would be interested in contributing.

See the following links for a manuscript draft and recruitment flyer.

If members of the PSA seem interested in more of these types of initiatives, we will consider expanding this program in the future!

News from the Accelerator- January 2022

QUICK READ: 

  • Job recruitment has begun for three positions!(Research Scientist, a Post-doctoral Researcher, and a Research Coordinator) 
  • PSA-008 Minimal and Real Group Biases is now official! For those interested in learning more or joining the project, please fill out this survey before February 15th! 

Study updates:

  • PSA-002 (Object Orientation): The lead team has received extensive feedback on our Stage 2 Registered Report submission from Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. The lead team is currently working on a strategy to address this feedback.
  • PSA-003 (Gendered Prejudice): The lead team has completed initial data analyses and is working on drafting a manuscript describing the results. 
  • PSA-004 (Accelerated CREP): The lead team is currently working on data processing, data analysis, and authorship credit tracking. Collaborators can expect the authorship survey in their inbox soon. 
  • PSA-005 (Stereotype Threat): PSA-005 data collection will continue to collect data as we enter into another academic semester. 
  • PSA-006 (Trolley Problem): The manuscript has received an acceptance with minor revisions from Nature Human Behavior. 
  • PSA-007 (SPAM-L): The team recently submitted the registered report to Nature Human Behavior, and is waiting to hear back about the manuscript’s status. The admin team is additionally working on getting the experiment finalized in lab.js while awaiting updates on the registered report submission. The project team will be sending out updates in the near future regarding ways to contribute to the current project. If you are interested in becoming a collaborator, or want to learn more about 007 please e-mail 007spaml@gmail.com.
  • PSA-COVID Rapid Bundle (001/003)- 
    • PSACR-001 is working on revising the manuscript at Affective Science.
    • PSACR-003- The lead author team is working on resolving a difficult conflict between PSA policy and PNAS policy regarding authorship. Authors of this paper were asked about their preference between a few options, and the lead author team is working to find a consensus decision or other way forward.

(Officially) Announcing PSA 008: Minimal and Real Group Biases!

Project Overview

The minimal group effect occurs when random assignment to experimentally created and otherwise meaningless social groups is sufficient to create ingroup preference. PSA 008 will examine the cultural prevalence of the minimal group effect and compare bias in favor of minimal group members to ingroup biases based on real groups (i.e., those favoring family and national group members).

Interested in learning more and (maybe) joining the project? Fill out this survey

The lead team has created an interest survey to gather information about potential data collection sites and create a contact email list. Please complete the survey by February 15 so we can include an estimated number of sites by location in our Stage 1 Registered Report (to be submitted in March). 

John Templeton Foundation Hiring Update

Christopher Chartier has begun the search to hire three full time positions funded by the John Templeton Foundation. The three positions include a Research Scientist, a Post-doctoral Researcher, and a Research Coordinator that will work with the PSA and Chris on a three year project.

All positions will begin on July 1, 2022 on a 1-year contract with the potential to renew for up to two additional years through the end of the project on June 30, 2025 and will report directly to me! You can read more about the project here (credit to @CharlieEbersole for leading the grant writing!): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1S2h0CuBlN9V9TFus3qfmRAwKXkiMoyAf/edit

The job postings and description can be found below for all those interested. If you have questions feel free to slack, dm or email Chris.(cchartie@ashland.edu) 

Research Scientist

The Research Scientist will work closely with Chris and PSA leadership to supervise the four studies and conduct meta-scientific investigations of effect-generalizability and contributor predictions. A PhD in Psychology or a related field is required. The ideal candidate will have extensive experience with large-scale multi-site collaborations.

https://www.indeed.com/viewjob?cmp=Ashland-University—Ashland,-OH&t=Research+Scientist&jk=c143333997a2447b&q=Ashland+University&vjs=3s=3

Post-doctoral Researcher 

The Post-doctoral Researcher will work closely with the Chris and PSA leadership as well as serve as a content expert in at least one of the areas of research represented in JTF’s strategic priorities. They will be responsible for working with and advising the lead researchers of the four selected projects on matters of study design and implementation. This position will give a junior researcher an excellent opportunity to refine their skills in areas of research related to JTF’s strategic priorities as well as the opportunity to take part in several high-profile research projects. A PhD in Psychology or a related field is required.

https://www.indeed.com/viewjob?cmp=Ashland-University—Ashland,-OH&t=Post+Doctoral+Researcher&jk=5547b4ff5de1e201&q=Ashland+University&vjs=3

Research Coordinator 

The Research Coordinator will work closely with Chris and PSA leadership to facilitate and monitor all aspects of the project, including communicating directly with all data collection laboratories, tracking and communicating progress on the 4 studies, and coordinating with all PSA committees to ensure efficient progress throughout the conduct and dissemination of the studies. This position is a Post-Bacc position. The ideal candidate will have excellent organizational, communication, and problem-solving skills to effectively work with a large, complicated, and diverse group of researchers.

https://www.indeed.com/viewjob?cmp=Ashland-University—Ashland,-OH&t=Research+Coordinator&jk=2b8aa4a2d28de65e&q=Ashland+University&vj

News from the Accelerator- October/November 2021

QUICK READ: 

  • PSACON2021 Videos are now uploaded on our YouTube page and will soon be on the website.
  • PSA 006 (Trolley Problem) has been accepted with minor revisions!

Elections

Thank you to everybody who nominated PSA members for Assistant Director positions. We are pleased to announce that Hans IJzerman and David Vaidis have been elected to serve as the Assistant Directors of the Funding and Project Monitoring committees respectively.

Study updates:

  • PSA-002 (Object Orientation): The lead team has submitted the Stage II manuscript to Psychonomic Bulletin & Review and is still awaiting feedback.
  • PSA-003 (Gendered Prejudice): The lead team has completed initial data analyses and is working on drafting a manuscript to send to collaborators for feedback.
  • PSA-004 (Accelerated CREP): The lead team is currently working on data processing, data analysis, and authorship credit tracking. The lead team expects to have a revised draft available for full team review/approval at the end of January.
  • PSA-005 (Stereotype Threat): PSA-005 data collection officially launched a month ago! As of right now, we have collected 393 participants! The lead team sends their thanks to everybody who helped with piloting the study.
  • PSA-006 (Trolley Problem): The manuscript has received an acceptance with minor revisions from Nature Human Behavior
  • PSA-007 (SPAM-L): The lead team is recruiting data collection collaborators. Interested people can now get added to canvas, view the current version of the registered report, and begin working on their institution’s necessary ethical documentation to collect data. Data collection timing will depend on the registered report process, translation, and coding. If you are interested in becoming a collaborator or want to learn more about 007 please email 007spaml@gmail.com
  • PSA-COVID Rapid Bundle (001/002/003)- 
    • PSACR-001 received a R&R at Affective Science. The lead team plans to solicit feedback from the full author group in the coming weeks.
    • PSACR-002 is now published in Nature Human Behaviour.
    • PSACR-003 received another favorable R&R from PNAS. The lead team is working on revisions and will soon update collaborators.

PSACON

PSACON was a blast. We had 254 people register to attend from 50 different geographical regions. A big thank you to all who presented, moderated, organized, attended, and sponsored seats to make this year’s conference a success. The PSACON videos have now been uploaded to our YouTube page and will be posted to the website soon. Please also make sure to fill out this feedback survey so we can make next year’s conference even better. 

Canvas

Everyone with a PSA account has now been added to the new membership site on Canvas. Make sure to log on to update your affiliations and to join projects.