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IdTitleAuthorsAbstractPictureThematic fields▲RecommenderReviewersSubmission date
14 Nov 2022
STAGE 2
(Go to stage 1)
article picture

Breaking Ban: Belgium’s ineffective gambling law regulation of video game loot boxes

Loot boxes remain prevalent in Belgium despite their “ban”

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Andrew Moshirnia, Joseph Macey and Jason Chin
Several countries currently struggle to legally interpret and deal with loot boxes, i.e. gambling-like mechanisms that have become common especially in contemporary videogame design. One of the few countries to take a clear regulation stance is Belgium, which officially announced that they interpret paid loot boxes as games of chance that violate their Gaming and Betting Act and can thus be criminally prosecuted (Naessens 2018). This announcement four years ago laid the basis for a unique social experiment where companies offering loot boxes in Belgium had to decide whether to modify their games, exit the market, or continue to monetize with loot boxes. In the present study, Xiao (2022) investigated the outcomes of this experiment both via hypotheses testing and exploratory analysis.
 
Using the 100 highest-grossing iPhone games in Belgium as data and applying comprehensive qualitative mechanical analysis to each title, Xiao (2022) tested three preregistered hypotheses regarding loot box prevalence. None of the hypotheses were confirmed: the prevalence rate of loot boxes in the Belgian App Store was not null but extremely high (82.0%), also among mobile games designed for minors (54.2–80.2%), and significantly more compared to global standards when assessed by a binomial test (p<.001). Corroborating a fourth hypothesis, Xiao was also able to access various UK loot boxes in Belgium. In exploratory research, Xiao received a confirmation from the Belgian Gaming Commission that even “simulated gambling games” (that do not yield monetary wins) also legally constitute gambling in Belgium.
 
The results are the first to describe outcomes of ban-driven loot box regulation globally. Despite Belgium’s clear statement that “paid loot boxes must be removed from the video games in order to comply with the Belgian Gaming and Betting Act” (Naessens 2018, p. 16), almost all highest-grossing iPhone games in the Belgian App Store keep offering them. The finding is important especially for the legal authorities around the world who are currently assessing their own positions in potential regulation: simple statements are unlikely to have immediate effects on international companies in local markets. On the other hand, it remains unknown how these companies have interpreted the statement and what are their distinct reasons for continuing to offer loot boxes in the Belgian App Store. It would be important in future research to investigate the companies’ perspectives.
 
This study (Xiao 2022) is important also from a meta-scientific perspective. It paves the way for Registered Reports in new disciplines and methods, and involves an exceptional field experiment that was carefully documented with open data and materials. Three external experts reviewed the Stage 2 manuscript twice, based on which the recommender awarded a positive recommendation.
 

URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/5mxp6

Level of bias control achieved: Level 6. No part of the data or evidence that was used to answer the research question existed prior to Stage 1 in-principle acceptance.

List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:

 

References
 
1. Naessens, P. (2018) Research Report on Loot Boxes [English Translation]. Belgian Gaming Commission. URL: https://www.gamingcommission.be/sites/default/files/2021-08/onderzoeksrapport-loot-boxen-Engels-publicatie.pdf
 
2. Xiao, L.Y. (2022) Breaking Ban: Belgium’s ineffective gambling law regulation of video game loot boxes. Stage 2 Registered Report, acceptance of Version 2 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/hnd7w 
Breaking Ban: Belgium’s ineffective gambling law regulation of video game loot boxesLeon Y. Xiao<p>Loot boxes in video games are gambling-like mechanics that players buy to obtain randomised rewards of varying value. Loot boxes are conceptually and psychologically similar to gambling, and loot box expenditure is positively correlated with se...Humanities, Social sciencesVeli-Matti Karhulahti2022-07-28 12:29:57 View
18 Jan 2023
STAGE 1
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Beneath the label: Assessing video games’ compliance with ESRB and PEGI loot box warning label industry self-regulation

How effective is self-regulation in loot box labelling?

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Pete Etchells and Jim Sauer
Paid loot boxes – items bought for real-world money that offer randomised rewards – are a prevalent feature of contemporary video games (Zendle et al., 2020). Because they employ random chance to provide rewards after spending real money, loot boxes have been considered a form of gambling, raising concerns about risk of harm to children and other vulnerable users. In response, some countries have taken legal steps to regulate and even ban the use of loot boxes, with only limited success so far (Xiao, 2022). At the same time, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) now expect games that contain loot boxes to be marked with warning labels that, in theory, will enable users (including parents) to make more informed decisions. These requirements by ESRB/PEGI are not legally binding and may be considered a form of industry self-regulation.
 
In the current study, Xiao (2023) will investigate the effectiveness of self-regulation in the use of loot box labels. Study 1 examines the consistency of warning labels by the ESRB and PEGI, with the expectation that if self-regulation works as it should then these labels should always (or nearly always) co-occur. Study 2 establishes the compliance rate for labelling among popular games that are known to contain loot boxes, with a rate of ≥95% considered to be successful. The findings should prove useful in identifying the success or failure of self-regulation as a means of ensuring industry compliance with loot box labelling.
 
The Stage 1 manuscript was evaluated over two rounds of in-depth review. Based on detailed responses to the reviewers' comments, the recommender judged that the manuscript met the Stage 1 criteria and therefore awarded in-principle acceptance (IPA).
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/e6qbm
 
Level of bias control achieved: Level 3. At least some data/evidence that will be used to the answer the research question has been previously accessed by the authors (e.g. downloaded or otherwise received), but the authors certify that they have not yet observed ANY part of the data/evidence.
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. Zendle, D., Meyer, R., Cairns, P., Waters, S., & Ballou, N. (2020). The prevalence of loot boxes in mobile and desktop games. Addiction, 115(9), 1768-1772. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.14973

2. Xiao, L. Y. (2022). Breaking Ban: Belgium’s ineffective gambling law regulation of video game loot boxes. Stage 2 Registered Report, acceptance of Version 2 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/hnd7w 
 
3. Xiao, L. Y. (2023). Beneath the label: Assessing video games’ compliance with ESRB and PEGI loot box warning label industry self-regulation, in principle acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/e6qbm
Beneath the label: Assessing video games’ compliance with ESRB and PEGI loot box warning label industry self-regulationLeon Y. Xiao<p>Loot boxes in video games are a form of in-game transactions with randomised elements. Concerns have been raised about loot boxes’ similarities with gambling and their potential harms (e.g., overspending). Recognising players’ and parents’ conc...Humanities, Social sciencesChris Chambers2022-09-17 00:14:51 View
23 May 2023
STAGE 1
toto

Does Brooding Meaningfully Increase the Likelihood of Believing in a Conspiracy? A Registered Report

Does brooding increase conspiracy beliefs?

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Matt Williams and 1 anonymous reviewer
The world is seemingly awash with conspiracy theories – from well-trodden examples such as fake Moon landings, the 9/11 truth movement, and Holocaust denial, to relative newcomers including COVID as a bioweapon, QAnon, and the belief that the science of climate change has been invented or falsified. While there is a public perception that conspiracy theories are becoming more prevalent, recent evidence suggests that the rate of conspiracism is relatively stable over time (Uscinski et al., 2022). At any point in history, it seems that a certain proportion of people find themselves vulnerable to conspiracy beliefs, but what distinguishes those who do from those who don’t, and what are the causal factors?
 
In the current study, Liekefett et al. (2023) investigate the critical role of rumination – a perseverative and repetitive focus on negative content leading to emotional distress. In particular, the authors ask whether one component of rumination referred to as brooding (dwelling on one’s worries and distressing emotions) has a specific causal role in the formation of conspiracy beliefs. In a series of preliminary experiments, the authors first established a procedure for successfully inducing rumination, identifying various boundary conditions and requirements for a successful design. In the proposed study (of up to N=1,638), they will then ask whether the induction of brooding causes a significant increase in conspiracy beliefs. Manipulation checks will be included to confirm intervention fidelity (independently of this hypothesis), and exploratory analyses will test the effect of various moderators, as well as the causal role of a complementary manipulation of reflection – a component of rumination in which attention is focused on the issue at hand rather than one’s emotions.
 
The Stage 1 manuscript was evaluated over two rounds of in-depth review. Based on detailed responses to the reviewers' comments, the recommender judged that the manuscript met the Stage 1 criteria and therefore awarded in-principle acceptance (IPA).
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/y82bs
 
Level of bias control achieved: Level 6. No part of the data or evidence that will be used to answer the research question yet exists and no part will be generated until after IPA.
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. Uscinski, J., Enders, A., Klofstad, C., Seelig, M., Drochon, H., Premaratne, K. & Murthi, M. (2022) Have beliefs in conspiracy theories increased over time? PLOS ONE 17: e0270429. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0270429

2. Liekefett, L. Sebben, S. & Becker, J. C. (2023). Does Brooding Meaningfully Increase the Likelihood of Believing in a Conspiracy? Stage 1 Registered Report, in principle acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/y82bs
Does Brooding Meaningfully Increase the Likelihood of Believing in a Conspiracy? A Registered ReportLuisa Liekefett, Simone Sebben, Julia C. Becker<p>This project aims to investigate the relationship between rumination and conspiracy beliefs. It<br>involves four pilot studies, including one observational and three experimental studies, but the<br>results were inconclusive. We suggest that ru...Humanities, Social sciencesChris Chambers2023-02-01 14:47:09 View
07 Mar 2023
STAGE 2
(Go to stage 1)
toto

Beneath the label: Unsatisfactory compliance with ESRB, PEGI, and IARC industry self-regulation requiring loot box presence warning labels by video game companies

Failure of industry self-regulation in loot box labelling

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO
Paid loot boxes – items bought for real-world money that offer randomised rewards – are a prevalent feature of contemporary video games (Zendle et al., 2020). Because they employ random chance to provide rewards after spending real money, loot boxes have been considered a form of gambling, raising concerns about risk of harm to children and other vulnerable users. In response, some countries have taken legal steps to regulate and even ban the use of loot boxes, with only limited success so far (Xiao, 2022). At the same time, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) now expect games that contain loot boxes to be marked with warning labels that, in theory, will enable users (including parents) to make more informed decisions. These requirements by ESRB/PEGI are not legally binding and may be considered a form of industry self-regulation.
 
In the current study, Xiao (2023) investigated the effectiveness of self-regulation in the use of loot box labels. Study 1 examined the consistency of warning labels by the ESRB and PEGI, with the expectation that if self-regulation works as it should then these labels should always (or nearly always) co-occur. Study 2 established the compliance rate for labelling among popular games that are known to contain loot boxes, with a rate of ≥95% considered to be successful.
 
The results of both studies reveal deficiences in industry self-regulation. The consistency rate of warning labels by the ESRB and PEGI was just 39.4% in preregistered analyses, rising to 83.9% in an unregistered exploratory analysis that took into account industry responses to the findings. Even at this upper bound, this rate is lower than expected by complete (or near-complete) consistency. The results of Study 2 indicate that only 29% of games on the Google Play Store known to contain loot boxes were accurately labelled, indicating that 71% were non-compliant with industry requirements.
 
Following careful evaluation, the recommender judged that the manuscript met the Stage 2 criteria and awarded a positive recommendation.
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/e6qbm
 
Level of bias control achieved: Level 3. At least some data/evidence that was used to the answer the research question had been previously accessed by the authors (e.g. downloaded or otherwise received), but the authors certifed that they had not yet observed ANY part of the data/evidence prior to in-principle-acceptance.
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. Zendle, D., Meyer, R., Cairns, P., Waters, S., & Ballou, N. (2020). The prevalence of loot boxes in mobile and desktop games. Addiction, 115(9), 1768-1772. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.14973

2. Xiao, L. Y. (2022). Breaking Ban: Belgium’s ineffective gambling law regulation of video game loot boxes. Stage 2 Registered Report, acceptance of Version 2 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/hnd7w 
 
3. Xiao, L. Y. (2023). Beneath the label: Unsatisfactory compliance with ESRB, PEGI, and IARC industry self-regulation requiring loot box presence warning labels by video game companies, acceptance of Version 2 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/asbcg
Beneath the label: Unsatisfactory compliance with ESRB, PEGI, and IARC industry self-regulation requiring loot box presence warning labels by video game companiesLeon Y. Xiao<p>Loot boxes in video games are a form of in-game transactions with randomised elements. Concerns have been raised about loot boxes’ similarities with gambling and their potential harms (e.g., overspending). Recognising players’ and parents’ conc...Humanities, Social sciencesChris Chambers Jim Sauer, Pete Etchells 2023-02-12 16:17:34 View
11 Apr 2024
STAGE 1
toto

Does retrieval practice protect memory against stress? A meta-analysis [Stage 1 Registered Report]

Can retrieval practice prevent the negative impact of acute stress on memory performance?

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Chris Hartgerink (they/them) and Adrien Fillon
There are a number of broad assumptions about memory which have penetrated societal understanding and mostly reflect supporting academic evidence e.g., that acute stress can compromise memory performance (Shields et al., 2017) and that practicing recalling critical information can help retain that knowledge (Moriera et al., 2019). The evidence base is less consistent when evaluating whether retrieval practice can protect against the negative effects of acute stress on memory, despite it being highly important for educators as to whether this specific strategy for supporting memorisation can be evidenced as especially effective under stressful conditions. A rigorous review of this mixed evidence base could provide the basis for developments in memory theory and research practice, with potential for direct educational applications.
 
Meta-analyses can play a critical role in furthering our understanding of complex cognitive mechanisms where the evidence base includes a wide range of methods, factors and effect size estimates. Furthermore, there is a lack of rigorous meta-analyses that prioritise open and reproducible processes (Topor et al., 2022) which help role-model good practice. In the current Registered Report, Mihaylova et al. (2024) have proposed a rigorous meta-analysis to systematically review and synthesise the evidence on the effects of retrieval practice for memory performance under acute stress. The work looks to be especially valuable for a) informing future research directions through a structured risk of bias evaluation, and b) generating theoretical developments through a range of confirmatory moderators (including stressor types, memory strategies, time of delay and task type). The findings of the planned analyses are expected to be of immediate interest to educational and occupational domains where memory recall is a priority.
 
The Stage 1 manuscript was evaluated over two rounds of in-depth review. Based on detailed responses to the reviewers' comments, the recommender judged that the manuscript met the Stage 1 criteria and therefore awarded in-principle acceptance (IPA).
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/pkrzb
 
Level of bias control achieved: Level 3. At least some data/evidence that will be used to the answer the research question has been previously accessed by the authors (e.g. downloaded or otherwise received), but the authors certify that they have not yet observed ANY part of the data/evidence.
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. Mihaylova, M., Kliegel, M, & Rothen, N. (2024). Does retrieval practice protect memory against stress? A meta-analysis. In principle acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/pkrzb
 
2. Moreira, B. F. T., Pinto, T. S. S., Starling, D. S. V., & Jaeger, A. (2019). Retrieval practice in classroom settings: A review of applied research. In Frontiers in Education (Vol. 4, p. 5). Frontiers Media SA. https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2019.00005 
 
3. Shields, G. S., Sazma, M. A., McCullough, A. M., & Yonelinas, A. P. (2017). The effects of acute stress on episodic memory: A meta-analysis and integrative review. Psychological Bulletin, 143, 636–675. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000100 
 
4. Topor, M. K., Pickering, J. S., Mendes, A. B., Bishop, D., Büttner, F., Elsherif, M. M., ... & Westwood, S. (2022). An integrative framework for planning and conducting Non-Intervention, Reproducible, and Open Systematic Reviews (NIRO-SR). Meta-Psychology. https://osf.io/preprints/metaarxiv/8gu5z
Does retrieval practice protect memory against stress? A meta-analysis [Stage 1 Registered Report]Mariela Mihaylova, Matthias Kliegel, Nicolas Rothen<p>[Note: This is a Stage 1 Registered Report. All placeholders will be replaced with actual results by Stage 2.]</p> <p><br>Stressors such as test anxiety (TA) are known to decrease memory retrieval, whereas retrieval practice (RP) is the phenom...Humanities, Social sciencesThomas Evans2023-02-16 14:39:06 View
21 Apr 2024
STAGE 1
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Cross-cultural relationships between music, emotion, and visual imagery: A comparative study of Iran, Canada, and Japan [Stage 1 Registered Report]

Testing cross-cultural difference in the emotionality and visual associations of music

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Elena Karakashevska, Juan David Leongómez and Nadine Dijkstra
For many of us, music is far more than an auditory experience. It can trigger emotional reactions, evoke memories, and wide-ranging associations with other sensory modalities and cognitive states. Music also varies between different cultures in several ways. It remains unclear in how far the broader associations music has differs between cultural contexts, both in terms of the music itself and the listener. This study by Hadavi et al. (2024) seeks to better understand these relationships. Using an online survey targeted at 72 participants from anglophone Canada, Farsi-speaking Iran, and Japan (24 from each location), the researchers aim to address two straightforward hypotheses.
 
First, does faster tempo of music increase ratings of emotional arousal? Second, do participants match faster tempo music with denser visual line patterns? This latter measure aims to quantify the visual imagery evoked by the musical pieces. Imagery is a loaded term that is not used consistently across the cognitive neuroscience literature; one could argue that what the researchers are actually here is in fact mainly an association between tempo and a visual representation of tempo (or frequency). It certainly seems doubtful that persons listening to a piece of music will form a mental image of a bundle of horizontal lines. Yet, irrespective of how to interpret this experimental variable, it quantifies something about the impression listeners have when experiencing music, and whether these associations differ cross-culturally. The experiment has a balanced design, incorporating excerpts of musical pieces from each of the three cultural contexts, including both solo and group music. While the sample size is comparably low, given the online nature of data collection, it is based on a power analysis and relatively large expected effect sizes.
 
The proposed study was evaluated by three expert reviewers and the recommender over three rounds of in-depth review, plus a final round ironing out smaller issues. Reviewer Juan David Leongómez was recruited as a co-author after the first round of revisions. Following this process, the recommender decided that the manuscript met Stage 1 criteria and awarded in-principle acceptance (IPA).
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/zdnkm
 
Level of bias control achieved: Level 6. No part of the data or evidence that will be used to answer the research question yet exists and no part will be generated until after IPA.
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
References
 
1.Hadavi, S., Kuroda, J., Shimozono, T., Leongómez, J. D. & Savage, P. E. (2024). Cross-cultural relationships between music, emotion, and visual imagery: A comparative study of Iran, Canada, and Japan. In principle acceptance of Version 6 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/zdnkm
Cross-cultural relationships between music, emotion, and visual imagery: A comparative study of Iran, Canada, and Japan [Stage 1 Registered Report]Shafagh Hadavi, Junji Kuroda, Taiki Shimozono, Juan David Leongómez, Patrick E. Savage<p>Many people experience emotions and visual imagery while listening to music. Previous research has identified cross-modal associations between musical and visual features as well as cross-cultural links between music and emotion and between mus...Humanities, Social sciencesD. Samuel Schwarzkopf2023-03-01 02:48:54 View
07 Dec 2023
STAGE 1
toto

Investigating individual differences in linguistic statistical learning and their relation to rhythmic and cognitive abilities: A speech segmentation experiment with online neural tracking

Individual differences in linguistic statistical learning and the relationship to rhythm perception

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
Previous research has demonstrated that experimental participants – both adults and infants – can track syllable co-occurrences in an artificial speech stream. This statistical learning (SL) is thought to support word segmentation and to be a core component of language acquisition. There is also some evidence that SL, as measured through artificial language tasks, is related to individual differences in language learning. What is not well understood is the underpinnings of individual differences in SL. In the current study, van der Wulp et al. (2023) will investigate the relationship between auditory SL and musical – specifically rhythmic – abilities. This work takes advantage of recent methodological innovations which allow online assessment of SL via electroencephalography (EEG) measures of neural entrainment. Up to N=105 participants will be recruited (using a well specified optional stopping procedure) and will be exposed to an artificial language using this EEG method to measure their response to the language through the exposure phase. In addition, post-tests will assess participants’ learning of the artificial language using behavioural tasks, as well as their abilities in a battery of tasks measuring rhythmic, musical, and cognitive abilities, and their vocabulary size. Core analyses will investigate whether the neural signature of statistical learning is found at a group level (i.e. replicating previous work) and whether at the individual level this is related to rhythm perception. Bayes factors will be used to assess the extent of evidence for these hypothesized relationships over the null. Exploratory analyses will explore other relationships, including with working memory and vocabulary size. 
 
The topic of individual differences in language learning and is important, but work in this area is often underpowered, and the correlational nature of the research makes it vulnerable to HARKing. In this context, the current RR looks set to make an important contribution. The Stage 1 manuscript was evaluated over two rounds of in-depth review by the recommender and two expert reviewers, and one additional round of review by the recommender, before issuing in-principle acceptance.
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/2y6sx

Level of bias control achieved: Level 6. No part of the data or evidence that will be used to answer the research question yet exists and no part will be generated until after IPA.
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. van der Wulp, I. M., Struiksma, M. E., Batterink, L. J., & Wijnen, F. N. K. (2023). Investigating individual differences in linguistic statistical learning and their relation to rhythmic and cognitive abilities: A speech segmentation experiment with online neural tracking. In principle acceptance of Version 4 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/2y6sx
 
Investigating individual differences in linguistic statistical learning and their relation to rhythmic and cognitive abilities: A speech segmentation experiment with online neural trackingIris van der Wulp, Marijn Struiksma, Laura Batterink, Frank Wijnen<p><strong>Objective:</strong> Statistical Learning (SL) is an essential mechanism for speech segmentation. Importantly, individual differences in SL ability are associated with language acquisition. For instance, better SL correlated with a large...Humanities, Social sciencesElizabeth Wonnacott2023-05-03 10:53:51 View
03 Jul 2023
STAGE 2
(Go to stage 1)
toto

Globally, songs and instrumental melodies are slower, higher, and use more stable pitches than speech [Stage 2 Registered Report]

Strong evidence for cross-cultural regularities in music and speech

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Bob Slevc and Nai Ding
For centuries, the ubiquity of language and music across human societies has prompted scholars to speculate about their cross-cultural origins as well as their shared and unique characteristics. Depending on the extent to which contemporary theories emphasise the role of biology vs. culture, a range of hypotheses have been proposed concerning expected similarities and differences in song and speech. One class of hypotheses stemming from cultural relativism assumes a lack of universal regularities in song and speech, and therefore predicts no systematic cross-cultural relationships. On the other hand, more recent evolutionary hypotheses such as the social bonding hypothesis, motor constraint hypothesis, and sexual selection hypothesis all predict differences or similarities in specific characteristic of vocalisations, such as pitch regularity, pitch interval size, and melodic contour. Existing results are mixed in their support of these predictions.
 
In the current study, Ozaki et al. (2023) elucidated cross-cultural similarities and differences between speech and song in 75 different linguistic varieties spanning 21 language families. Understanding precisely how song and speech are related is methodologically challenging due to the multitude of confounds that can arise in comparing natural recordings. Here the authors overcame these difficulties with four types of carefully controlled recordings: singing, recitation of sung lyrics, spoken description of the song, and instrumental version of the sung melody. The authors then examined six features that are amenable to reliable comparison, including pitch height, temporal rate, pitch stability, timbral brightness, pitch interval size, and pitch declination. With this data in hand, the authors asked which acoustic features differ reliably between song and speech across cultures, with the expectation that song would exhibit higher pitch, slower rate and more stable pitch than speech. At the same time, the authors expected song and speech to be reliably similar in the characteristics of timbral brightness, pitch intervals and pitch contours
 
The findings provided strong support for the preregistered hypotheses. Relative to speech, songs exhibited higher pitch, slower temporal rate, and more stable pitches, while both songs and speech had similar pitch interval size and timbral brightness. Only one hypothesis was unsupported, with the comparison of pitch declination between song and speech turning out inconclusive. To overcome potential sources of analytic bias, the authors undertook additional robustness checks, including reanalysis of a previously published dataset of over 400 song/speech recordings; this exploratory analysis corroborated the conclusions from the confirmatory analysis. Overall this study offers a unique insight into the shared global characteristics of langage and music, with implications for understanding their cultural and biological (co)evolution.
 
The Stage 2 manuscript was evaluated over one round of in-depth review. Based on responses to the reviewers' comments, the recommender judged that the manuscript met the Stage 2 criteria and therefore awarded a positive recommendation.
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/jdhtz
 
Level of bias control achieved: Level 2. At least some data/evidence that was used to answer the research question had been accessed and partially observed by the authors, but the authors certify that they had not yet observed the key variables within the data that were be used to answer the research question AND they took additional steps to maximise bias control and rigour.

List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. Ozaki, Y. et al. (2023). Globally, songs and instrumental melodies are slower, higher, and use more stable pitches than speech [Stage 2 Registered Report]. Acceptance of Version 11 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/jr9x7
Globally, songs and instrumental melodies are slower, higher, and use more stable pitches than speech [Stage 2 Registered Report]Yuto Ozaki, Adam Tierney, Peter Pfordresher, John Mcbride, Emmanouil Benetos, Polina Proutskova, Gakuto Chiba, Fang Liu, Nori Jacoby, Suzanne Purdy, Patricia Opondo, Tecumseh Fitch, Shantala Hegde, Martín Rocamora, Rob Thorne, Florence Ewomazino N...<p>What, if any, similarities and differences between music and speech are consistent across cultures? Both music and language are found in all known human societies and are argued to share evolutionary roots and cognitive resources, yet no studie...Humanities, Social sciencesChris Chambers2023-05-16 17:22:17 View
10 Feb 2024
STAGE 1
toto

Using Shakespeare to Answer Psychological Questions: Complexity and Mental Representability of Character Networks

Complexity of Shakespeare’s Social Networks

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Matúš Adamkovič, James Stiller, Tomáš Lintner and Matus Adamkovic
The rapid methodological development in digital humanities keeps opening new possibilities to better understand our cultural artifacts and, in the process, also ourselves. Some of the historically most influential works of literary human culture are the plays of Shakespeare, which continue to be read and treasured around the world. Although the social networks of Shakespeare’s plays have attracted scientific attention already more than two decades (Stiller et al. 2003), the understanding of their complexity in terms of character networks remains limited and not fully contextualized in the larger landscape of European drama.
 
In the present registered report, Thurn and colleagues (2024) apply Kolmogorov complexity analysis to investigate the social networks in 37 existing plays of Shakespeare. The authors replicate the original work by Stiller et al. (2003) and situate the findings in a larger regional context by further analyzing over 3,000 plays available in the European Drama Corpus. Ultimately, the authors explore the relationships between (Kolmogorov) complexity and the size of character networks as well as the robustness of their results in relation to possible researcher decisions in the analytic process.
 
This Stage 1 manuscript was evaluated over three rounds of in-depth review by four expert reviewers from the research fields of literature, networks, and social analysis. Based on the authors’ careful revisions and responses to the reviewers’ feedback, the recommender judged that the manuscript met the Stage 1 criteria and therefore awarded in-principle acceptance (IPA).
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/6uw27
 
Level of bias control achieved: Level 3. At least some data/evidence that will be used to the answer the research question has been previously accessed by the authors (e.g. downloaded or otherwise received), but the authors certify that they have not yet observed ANY part of the data/evidence.
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. Stiller, J., Nettle, D. & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2003). The small world of shakespeare’s plays. Human Nature, 14, 397-408. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12110-003-1013-1

2. Thurn, C., Sebben, S. & Kovacevic, Z. (2024) Using Shakespeare to Answer Psychological Questions: Complexity and Mental Representability of Character Networks. In principle acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/6uw27
Using Shakespeare to Answer Psychological Questions: Complexity and Mental Representability of Character NetworksChristian M. Thurn; Simone Sebben; Zoran Kovacevic<p>Theater plays are a cultural product that can be used to learn about the capacity of human cognition. We argue that Kolmogorov complexity may be suited to operationalize the demand that is put onto a<br>recipient's cognitive system to represent...Humanities, Social sciencesVeli-Matti Karhulahti2023-06-16 12:40:14 View
08 Dec 2023
STAGE 1
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An #EEGManyLabs study to test the role of the alpha phase on visual perception (a replication and new evidence)

Understanding the relationship between alpha oscillations and visual perception

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Chris Allen, Luca Ronconi and Alexander Jones
For nearly a century, rhythmic patterns in electrical brain activity have been of major interest in neuroscience and electrophysiology, but much remains to be discovered about their causal contribution to cognition and behaviour. Low-frequency oscillations in the alpha band (~8-13 Hz) have been suggested to facilitate the organisation and delivery of visual information to higher-level systems, including those involved in perception and decision-making. If so, visual perception should also operate in cycles that are synchronous with – and determined by – the phase of ongoing low-frequency oscillatory activity.
 
In this #EEGManyLabs study, Ruzzoli et al. (2023) propose a large-scale, multi-lab investigation (9 labs; N=315 human participants) of the relationship between the phase of alpha oscillations and visual perception. The authors focus in particular on replicating a formative study by Mathewson et al. (2009) which reported that during high-amplitude alpha fluctuations, stimulus visibility depended on the time the stimulus was presented relative to the phase of the pre-stimulus alpha activity. In addition, the amplitude of visual evoked potentials recorded with EEG was larger when the target was presented at peaks in pre-stimulus alpha. To explain their findings, Mathewson proposed an influential pulsed inhibition hypothesis in which low alpha power boosts both cortical excitability and stimulus processing (and hence perception), while high alpha power makes stimulus processing dependent on the phase during the alpha cycle at which the stimulus is presented.
 
In the first of (up to) two studies, the authors will seek to directly replicate the key finding of Mathewson et al: that when alpha power is high, the oscillatory phase determines perceptual performance and event-related electrophysiological correlates in a masked visual detection task. Specifically, (a) alpha oscillations are predicted to modulate the probability of perceiving a target stimulus within a single oscillatory cycle, with detection rate associated with separated (and potentially opposite) phase angles, and (b) alpha phase at the onset of the stimulus should drive electrophysiological correlates of stimulus processing (including the amplitude and/or latency of the N1 ERP component).
 
Provided the results of this first study do not conclusively disconfirm these hypotheses, the authors will then conduct a follow-up study in which the temporal predictability of the target onset (in relation to a fixation stimulus) is reduced to test the more severe hypothesis that the observed correlations between alpha phase and perception are linked directly to ongoing oscillations, independent of temporal expectations.
 
The Stage 1 manuscript was evaluated over two rounds of in-depth review. Based on detailed responses to the reviewers' comments, the recommender judged that the manuscript met the Stage 1 criteria and therefore awarded in-principle acceptance (IPA).
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/scqj8​ (under temporary private embargo)
 
Level of bias control achieved: Level 6. No part of the data or evidence that will be used to answer the research question yet exists and no part will be generated until after IPA. 
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. Ruzzoli, M., Cuello, M. T., Molinaro, N., Benwell, C. S. Y., Berkowitz, D., Brignani, D., Falciati, L., Harris, A. M., Keitel, C., Kopčanová, M., Madan, C. R., Mathewson, K., Mishra, S., Morucci, P., Myers, N., Nannetti, F., Nara, S., Pérez-Navarro, J., Ro, T., Schaworonkow, N., Snyder, J. S., Soto-Faraco, S., Srinivasan, N., Trübutschek, D., Zazio, A., Mushtaq, F., Pavlov, Y. G., & Veniero, D. (2023). In principle acceptance of Version 2 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/scqj8​
 
2. Mathewson, K. E., Gratton, G., Fabiani, M., Beck, D. M., & Ro, T. (2009). To see or not to see: prestimulus α phase predicts visual awareness. Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 2725-2732. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3963-08.2009
An #EEGManyLabs study to test the role of the alpha phase on visual perception (a replication and new evidence)Manuela Ruzzoli, Mireia Torralba Cuello, Nicola Molinaro, Christopher S.Y. Benwell, Daniel Berkowitz, Debora Brignani, Luca Falciati, Anthony M. Harris, Christian Keitel, Martina Kopčanová, Christopher R. Madan, Kyle Mathewson, Sudhakar Mishra, Pi...<p>Several studies have suggested that low-frequency brain oscillations could be key to understanding how the brain samples sensory information via rhythmic alternation of low and high excitability periods. However, this hypothesis has recently be...Humanities, Social sciencesChris Chambers2023-08-03 12:59:33 View