Commentary and Rejoinder on: Clean Data: Statistical Artifacts Wash Out Replication EffortsJohnson, Cheung, and Donnellan (2014a): Clean Data: Statistical Artifacts Wash Out Replication Efforts

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Johnson, Cheung, and Donnellan (2014a) reported a failure to replicate Schnall, Benton, and Harvey (2008)'s effect of cleanliness on moral judgment. However, inspection of the replication data shows that participants provided high numbers of severe moral judgments – a ceiling effect. In the original data percentage of extreme responses per moral dilemma correlated negatively with the effect of the manipulation. In contrast, this correlation was absent in the replications, due to almost all items showing a high percentage of extreme responses. Therefore the parametric statistics reported by Johnson et al. (2014a) are inconclusive regarding the reproducibility of the original effect. Direct replications are prone to error when reviewers only judge similarity of methods, but not resulting data and conclusions. It is my conclusion that preventable problems can arise if publication decisions are made without independent post-data peer evaluation.

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