Metastudies for robust tests of theory


We describe and demonstrate an empirical strategy useful for discovering and replicating empirical effects in psychological science. The method involves the design of a metastudy, in which many independent experimental variables - that may be moderators of an empirical effect - are indiscriminately randomized. Radical randomization yields rich datasets that can be used to test the robustness of an empirical claim to some of the vagaries and idiosyncrasies of experimental protocols and enhances the generalizability of these claims. The strategy is made feasible by advances in hierarchical Bayesian modeling that allow for the pooling of information across unlike experiments and designs and is proposed here as a gold standard for replication research and exploratory research. The practical feasibility of the strategy is demonstrated with a replication of a study on subliminal priming.


Baribault, B., Donkin, C., Little, D., Trueblood, J., Oravecz, Z., van Ravenzwaaij, D., White, C., De Boeck, P., & Vandekerckhove, J. (2018). Metastudies for robust tests of theory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115, 2607–2612.


    title   = {{M}etastudies for robust tests of theory},
    author  = {Baribault, Beth and Donkin, Christopher and Little, Daniel and Trueblood, Jennifer and Oravecz, Zita and van Ravenzwaaij, Don and White, Corey and De Boeck, Paul and Vandekerckhove, Joachim},
    year    = {2018},
    journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
    volume  = {115},
    pages   = {2607--2612}