The Design and Analysis of State-Trace Experiments

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State-trace analysis (Bamber, 1979) addresses a question of interest in many areas of psychological research: Does 1 or more than 1 latent (i.e., not directly observed) variable mediate an interaction between 2 experimental manipulations? There is little guidance available on how to design an experiment suited to state-trace analysis, despite its increasing use, and existing statistical methods for state-trace analysis are problematic. We provide a framework for designing and refining a state-trace experiment and statistical procedures for the analysis of accuracy data using Klugkist, Kato, and Hoijtink's (2005) method of estimating Bayes factors. The statistical procedures provide estimates of the evidence favoring 1 versus more than 1 latent variable, as well as evidence that can be used to refine experimental methodology.

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