9/19/2018 Peter Durantine

F&M Lab Part of Worldwide Psychological Science Accelerator

The Preferences Lab at Franklin & Marshall College’s Department of Psychology is serving as one of more than 300 laboratories across 45 countries that will accelerate the accumulation of reliable and generalizable evidence in psychological science.

The first project the accelerator will tackle is whether the results of a 2008 research paper that examined social perceptions from faces can be replicated in other world regions.  According to the authors of the paper, Nikolaas Oosterhof and Alexander Todorov, “People automatically evaluate faces on multiple trait dimensions, and these evaluations predict important social outcomes, ranging from electoral success to sentencing decisions.” 

This is the first research paper to undergo large-scale replication by the Psychological Science Accelerator, a consortium of institutions of which F&M is part. To address growing concern about the veracity of psychological research, the PSA network organized in 2017 to ensure the generalizability of psychological studies.

  • As director of F&M's Preferences Lab, Assistant Professor of Psychology Batres' own research examines the information faces convey. As director of F&M's Preferences Lab, Assistant Professor of Psychology Batres' own research examines the information faces convey. Image Credit: Deb Grove

“Given its global network, the PSA will enhance the diversity of human subjects who participate in psychology studies,”said F&M Assistant Professor of Psychology Carlota Batres, director of the Preferences Lab and whose own research examines the information faces convey.

Over the next year, the accelerator labs will collect data to examine if the research of Oosterhof and Todorov replicates globally, along with other projects in the pipeline. 

According to a paper about the accelerator published this month in the journal, “Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science,” the PSA and other crowdsourcing groups “will advance understanding of mental processes and behaviors by enabling rigorous research and systematic examinationof its generalizability.”

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