Cognition and the self: Attempt of an independent close replication of the effects of self-construal priming on spatial memory recall
Abstract Do different modes of thinking about the self lead to differences in performance on a contextual memory task? We conducted a pre-registered replication of the study of self-construal priming on spatial memory by KUhnen and Oyserman (2002; Study 2), simultaneously evaluating the role of task-compliance, operationalization specificity, and cross-cultural robustness. In the original study, participants either circled first-person plural (interdependent condition) or singular pronouns (independent condition) when reading a passage and subsequently memorized and recalled a set of objects presented on a visual-spatial grid. When employing a digital version of the original procedure, we were able to replicate the original findings, with better recall of objects in their original location in the interdependent (vs. independent) condition. Notably, the effect of self-construal priming on spatial memory was strongest when screening out participants who did not comply with instructions on the pronoun task and absent when including non-compliant participants. Moreover, in contrast to the original study, effects of priming were not specific to object-&-location operationalization of spatial memory recall, and also present for location-independent object recall and object-independent spatial placement recall. Additionally, condition effects were robust across observed cultural differences: Though white participants performing less successfully compared to non-white participants, both groups were comparably susceptible to priming effects. We discuss the present results and insights learned from the replication process in light of the on-going debate about the replicability of psychological experiments, highlighting the notion of task-compliance, methodological transparency and cross-cultural factors for further advancement of psychological science. Highlights We conducted a pre-registered replication of a study testing self-construal priming effects on non-social object-&-location memory recall Interdependent construal resulted in better recall of objects and their location on a memory task Effect was only present when excluding participants who did not comply on the pronoun task
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