High-Quality Research in Social Psychology


September 03, 2017, 15:00 – 18:15 Uhr

Workshop organized by Klaus Fiedler & Alexandra M. Freund

Much of the current debate in social psychology is focused on finding fault with formal and superficial aspects of empirical work and pointing fingers at bad research examples. This workshop takes the opposite approach and centers on the question of what constitutes high-quality research in social psychology. Based on the assumption that learning from positive examples is more informative, more motivating, and more likely to inspire innovation and progress than complaining about negative examples, the purpose of this workshop is to present and discuss facets of strong behavioral research that deserves to be imitated. More specifically, we will highlight what we consider to be

•    Good theories that impose strong constraints on the testable empirical world
•    Useful tools to support substantial experimental work
•    So far under-exploited methods that promise to raise the quality of science
•    Fundamental principles in the logic of science, which are indispensable

Although not intended originally, it turned out that our ideas about good research and theorizing are all somehow related to sampling issues. Taking a broad perspective on sampling, we not only emphasize the sampling of study participants, stimuli, task conditions, measurement occasions, and operational tools (manipulations, manipulation checks, and dependent measures), but also the sampling of theories and research hypotheses derived from theories. Last but not least, statistical sampling models have inspired some of the most interesting theoretical developments in recent time.

Addressing these issues, the following scholars have accepted our invitation to present ideas about good social psychological research:
•    Christian Unkelbach (University of Cologne)
•    Hans Alves & Alex Koch (University of Cologne)
•    Oliver J. Kaftan (University of Zurich)
•    Klaus Rothermund & Laura Anne Grigutsch (University of Jena)

Further contributions will be provided by the workshop conveners:
•    Alexandra Freund (University of Zürich)
•    Klaus Fiedler (University of Heidelberg)

The workshop will offer a lot of opportunity for discussion among the presenters and the participants. Presenters will highlight those aspects of their work that address one of the facets of sampling in a brief talk, which will always be followed by a discussion, which allows participants to apply the presented ideas to their own work, point to problems with the presented approach, and / or provide alternative approaches. At a more super-ordinate level, the workshop is meant to help social psychologists establish a constructive academic atmosphere and a positive social identity that fosters good research practice and an improved quality of science.

Workshop program:


15:00K. Fiedler & A. FreundOpening and introduction
15:05A. FreundLearning from examples of good research – The concept of the workshop
15:30C. UnkelbachGrounding convincing research on strong manipulations and reliable measures

K. Rothermund & L. A. Grigutsch

Sampling an adequate manipulation check
16:30Coffee break
17:00Oliver KaftanSampling situations critical for testing hypotheses
17:30H. Alves & A. KochNew theory-driven research inspired by the density hypothesis
18:00K. FiedlerTheorizing is worthwhile: Information sampling imposes strong constraints on social cognition
18:15A. FreundFinal discussion


Articles recommended to prepare for the workshop:

Alves, H., Koch, A., & Unkelbach, C. (2017). Why Good Is More Alike Than Bad: Processing Implications. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Fiedler, K. (2017). What Constitutes Strong Psychological Science? The (Neglected) Role of Diagnosticity and A Priori Theorizing. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(1), 46-61.

Fiedler, K. (2011). Voodoo correlations are everywhere – Not only in social neurosciences. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 163-171.

Koranyi, N., Grigutsch, L.A., Algermissen, J. & Rothermund, K. (2017). Dissociating implicit wanting from implicit liking: Development and validation of the Wanting Implicit Association Test (W-IAT). Journal of Behavior Therapy & Experimental  Psychiatry, 54, 65-69. 

Oppenheimer, D. M., Meyvis, T., & Davidenko, N. (2009). Instructional manipulation checks: Detecting satisficing to increase statistical power. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(4), 867-872.


The fee of the workshop is 20 Euros. This fee includes a cold buffet and drinks after the workshop. To register write an email to sabrina.pfleiderer(at)uni-ulm.de. The deadline to register is 18th of August (please note that there is a restricted number of places available).