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Please note: To accommodate reviewer and recommender holiday schedules, we will be closed to submissions from 1st July — 1st September. During this time, reviewers will be able to submit reviews and recommenders will issue decisions, but no new or revised submissions will be made by authors. The one exception to this rule is that authors using the scheduled track who submit their initial Stage 1 snapshot prior to 1st July can choose a date within the shutdown period to submit their full Stage 1 manuscript.

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IdTitleAuthorsAbstractPictureThematic fieldsRecommenderReviewers▲Submission date
21 Oct 2022
STAGE 1
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Replicating the facilitatory effects of transcranial random noise stimulation on motion processing: A registered report

Testing the facilitatory effect of high-frequency transcranial random noise stimulation through enhancement of global motion processing

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Sam Westwood and Filippo Ghin
High frequency transcranial random noise stimulation (hf-tRNS) is a relatively novel form of non-invasive brain stimulation, thought to enhance neural excitability and facilitate processing in targeted brain areas. The evidence for the efficacy of hf-tRNS is mixed, so a high-powered test of the proposed facilitatory effects would be of value to the field. This Registered Report will target the human middle temporal complex (hMT+), an area with a well-established critical role in global motion processing. The protocol is adapted from a study by Ghin and colleagues (2018) but focusing on a sub-set of the original experimental conditions and using a fully within-subjects design (n=42). Global motion processing will be operationalised in terms of the coherence threshold for identification of the dominant direction of random-dot motion. The experiment will test the predicted facilitation of contralateral motion processing (reduced coherence threshold) during hf-tRNS to the left hMT+. The specificity of this effect will be tested by comparison to a sham stimulation control condition and an active stimulation control condition (left forehead). By targeting a brain area with a well-established critical role in behaviour, this study will provide important information about the replicability and specificity of the facilitatory effects of hf-tRNS.
 
Following two rounds of in-depth review, the recommender judged that the manuscript met the Stage 1 criteria and awarded in-principle acceptance (IPA).  
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/bce7u
 
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. Ghin, F., Pavan, A., Contillo, A., & Mather, G. (2018). The effects of high-frequency transcranial random noise stimulation (hf-tRNS) on global motion processing: an equivalent noise approach. Brain Stimulation, 11, 1263–75.
 
2. Caroll, M. B., Edwards, G. & Baker, C. I. (2022). Replicating the facilitatory effects of transcranial random noise stimulation on motion processing: A registered report, in principle acceptance of Version 7 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/bce7u
Replicating the facilitatory effects of transcranial random noise stimulation on motion processing: A registered reportMica B. Carroll*, Grace Edwards*, Chris I. Baker<p>Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques have the potential to demonstrate the causal impact of targeted brain regions on specific behaviors, and to regulate or facilitate behavior in clinical applications. Transcranial random noise sti...Life SciencesRobert McIntosh2022-06-02 21:25:02 View
23 Jan 2023
STAGE 1
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Responding to Online Toxicity: Which Strategies Make Others Feel Freer to Contribute, Believe That Toxicity Will Decrease, and Believe that Justice Has Been Restored?

Testing antidotes to online toxicity

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Corina Logan and Marcel Martončik
Social media is a popular tool for online discussion and debate, bringing with it various forms of hostile interactions –  from offensive remarks and insults, to harassment and threats of physical violence. The nature of such online toxicity has been well studied, but much remains to be understood regarding strategies to reduce it. Existing theory and evidence suggests that a range of responses – including those that emphasise prosociality and empathy – might be effective at mitigating online toxicity. But do such strategies work in practice?
 
In the current study, Young Reusser et al (2023) propose an experiment to test the effectiveness of three types of responses to online toxicity – Benevolent Correction (including disagreement), Benevolent Going Along (including joking/agreement), or Retaliation (additional toxicity) – on how able participants feel to contribute to conversations, their belief that the toxicity would be reduced by the intervention, and their belief that justice had been restored. The findings promise to shed light on approaches for improving the health of online discourse.
 
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/hfjnb (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. Young Reusser, A. I., Veit, K. M., Gassin, E. A., & Case, J. P. (2023). Responding to Online Toxicity: Which Strategies Make Others Feel Freer to Contribute, Believe That Toxicity Will Decrease, and Believe that Justice Has Been Restored? In principle acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/hfjnb
Responding to Online Toxicity: Which Strategies Make Others Feel Freer to Contribute, Believe That Toxicity Will Decrease, and Believe that Justice Has Been Restored?Alison I. Young Reusser, Houghton University; Kristian Veit, Olivet Nazarene University; Lisa Gassin, Olivet Nazarene University; Jonathan Case, Houghton University<p>When we encounter toxic comments online, how might individual efforts to reply to those comments improve others’ experiences conversing in that forum? Is it more helpful for others to publicly, but benevolently (with a polite tone, demonstrated...Social sciencesChris Chambers2022-06-08 18:35:48 View
16 Sep 2022
STAGE 2
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Taking A Closer Look At The Bayesian Truth Serum: A Registered Report

Reassessing the use of the Bayesian Truth Serum as an incentive-compatible design for self-reports

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Joël van der Weele
Different disciplines and research areas that rely on participants’ self-reports to accrue data on participants’ true preferences are faced with the question to what extent the former can be equated with the latter. Using monetary incentivisation for study participation may influence this relationship, and researchers, especially in economics, have been discussing how to develop and implement incentive-compatible research designs, i.e., those in which the incentivisation yields the best payoff for the participant if they report their true preferences (Hertwig & Ortmann, 2011; Baillon, 2017). The Bayesian Truth Serum, first introduced by Prelec (2004), according to which participants are rewarded based on how surprisingly common their own answers are relative to the actual distribution of answers, has been proposed as a possible incentive-compatible design for survey studies that rely on participants’ self-reports about their true preferences (Schoenegger, 2021).
 
In this study, Schoenegger and Verheyen (2022) ran a replication of the study by Schoenegger (2021) and assessed whether the effect elicited by the manipulations known as the Bayesian Truth Serum is distinct from its separate constituent parts. The authors report that the manipulation did not yield a significant difference compared to control conditions, which they interpret as a failure to replicate the original results. At the same time, the authors are careful in drawing conclusions as to the usefulness of the Bayesian Truth Serum for self-report studies using Likert-scale items in general, as they emphasise that smaller effect sizes may be of interest and that the results may differ when different items are used. 
 
The Stage 2 manuscript was evaluated by two reviewers, one of whom reviewed the first Stage 1 submission, and the other one of whom reviewed the manuscript specifically to assess statistical questions.
 
Following a careful revision by the authors, the recommender judged that the manuscript meets the Stage 2 criteria and awarded a positive recommendation.
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/dkvms
 
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. Baillon, A. (2017). Bayesian markets to elicit private information. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 114(30), 7985-7962. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1703486114
 
2. Hertwig, R. & Ortmann (2001). Experimental practices in economics: a methodlogical challenge for psychologists? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24(3), 383-403. https://doi.org/10.1037/e683322011-032
 
3. Prelec, D. (2004). A Bayesian Truth Serum for Subjective Data. Science, 306(5695), 462-466. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1102081
 
4. Schoenegger, P. (2021). Experimental Philosophy and the Incentivisation Challenge: a Proposed Application of the Bayesian Truth Serum. Review of Philosophy and Psychology https://doi.org/10.1007/s13164-021-00571-4 
 
5. Schoenegger, P., & Verheyen, S. (2022). Taking A Closer Look At The Bayesian Truth Serum: A Registered Report. Stage 2 Registered Report, in principle acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/9zvqj
Taking A Closer Look At The Bayesian Truth Serum: A Registered ReportPhilipp Schoenegger & Steven Verheyen<p>Over the past decade, psychology and its cognate disciplines have undergone substantial scientific reform, ranging from advances in statistical methodology to significant changes in academic norms. One aspect of experimental design that has rec...Social sciencesLjerka Ostojic2022-06-11 14:39:38 View
21 Sep 2022
STAGE 2
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Phenomenological Strands for Gaming Disorder and Esports Play: A Qualitative Registered Report

The lived experience of gamers: a comparative qualitative investigation of treatment-seekers and esports players

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Malte Elson and Peter Branney
Since 2018, the inclusion of “gaming disorder” in the ICD-11 has been met with a mixture of interest, confusion and controversy (Van Rooij et al, 2018), mirroring broader debates about the effects of gaming on mental health. One of the major gaps in understanding the validity of gaming disorder as an identifiable mental illness is the absence of qualitative studies comparing the lived experience of gamers who seek treatment with esports players who do not report health problems.
 
Here, Karhulahti et al. (2022) tackle this question in the first of two Stage 2 Registered Reports associated with their previous programmatic Stage 1 submission. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis in gamers and medical experts, they find that treatment-seekers and esports players differ in how gaming is associated with the sense of self, either interfering with the self for treatment-seekers or successfully integrating into the self for esports players. These findings help to identify the key characteristics of problematic and non-problematic gaming and call for more intensive and wide-reaching qualitative research in this area.
 
Following one round of in-depth review and revision, 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/a2rwg
 
Level of bias control achieved: Level 4. At least some of the data/evidence that was used to answer the research question existed prior to in-principle acceptance(IPA) but the authors certify that they did not access any part of that data/evidence prior to IPA.
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. van Rooij AJ, Ferguson CJ, Carras MC, Kardefelt-Winther D, Shi J, Aarseth E, Bean AM, Bergmark KH, Brus A, Coulson M, Deleuze J, Dullur P, Dunkels E, Edman J, Elson M, Etchells PJ, Fiskaali A, Granic I, Jansz J, Karlsen F, Kaye LK, Kirsh B, Lieberoth A, Markey P, Mills KL, Nielsen RKL, Orben A, Poulsen A, Prause N, Prax P, Quandt T, Schimmenti A, Starcevic V, Stutman G, Turner NE, Looy J van, Przybylski AK (2018) A weak scientific basis for gaming disorder: Let us err on the side of caution. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 7, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1556/2006.7.2018.19
 
2. Karhulahti V-M, Siutila M, Vahlo J, Koskimaa R (2022) Phenomenological Strands for Gaming Disorder and Esports Play: A Qualitative Registered Report. Stage 2 Registered Report, acceptance of Version 2 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/q53jz
Phenomenological Strands for Gaming Disorder and Esports Play: A Qualitative Registered ReportVeli-Matti Karhulahti, Miia Siutila, Jukka Vahlo, Raine Koskimaa<p>The recent inclusion of gaming disorder in the ICD-11 as a mental disorder has further increased the importance of researching the health spectrum related to gaming. A critical area in this regard is the lack of clarity concerning the differenc...Medical Sciences, Social sciencesChris Chambers2022-06-11 23:49:03 View
18 Nov 2022
STAGE 1
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Fathers learning on the job: Role of Paternity Leave Duration on Paternal Infant-Directed Speech and Preference for Male Infant-Directed Speech in infants

Dads and baby talk: understanding the role of paternal interaction in infant-directed speech

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Naja Ferjan Ramírez, Melanie Soderstrom and Krista Byers-Heinlein
Infant-directed speech (IDS) – colloquially known as “baby talk” – is a form of speech produced by parents that may be important for emotional bonding with children while also helping infants with early language development. In contrast to adult-directed speech (ADS), IDS is characterised by a higher and broader pitch range, slower speech rate, and shorter/simpler syntax. A significant body of research has studied the dynamics of IDS and shown that infants prefer IDS over ADS, however the great majority of this work has focused on maternal speech, leaving much to be discovered about the differences and similarities between paternal and maternal IDS, the relative preference infants exhibit for paternal IDS compared with ADS, and the role of paternal interaction in shaping these dynamics.
 
Using a Norwegian sample of 70 fathers and children, the proposed study by Robberstad et al. (2022) takes an important step into this less-explored domain, asking whether (and if so, how) fathers employ IDS when interacting with infants, whether any such modulation of speech is related to the amount of time they spend as a caregiver, whether infants show the same preferences for IDS over ADS in fathers as observed previously in mothers, and whether that preference is related to the amount of exposure the infant has to parental speech. The authors will analyse speech modulation using acoustic analysis, while preference for IDS will be tested using eye-tracking to measure infants’ overt gaze orientation while listening to IDS vs ADS.
 
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/c43xu
 
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. Robberstad, S., Kartushina, N. & Mayor, J. (2022). Fathers learning on the job: Role of paternity leave duration on paternal infant-directed speech and preference for male infant-directed speech in infants, in principle acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/sjupt
Fathers learning on the job: Role of Paternity Leave Duration on Paternal Infant-Directed Speech and Preference for Male Infant-Directed Speech in infantsSilje Robberstad, Natalia Kartushina & Julien Mayor<p>The acoustic properties of infant-directed speech (IDS) and the functions that IDS may serve in language development have been highly debated in research. However, previous research has mostly explored IDS in mothers and the preference for mate...Social sciencesChris Chambers2022-06-27 20:53:13 View
29 Mar 2023
STAGE 2
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Exploring How Members of Illicit Networks Navigate Investigative Interviews

What to say to help one's partners in crime

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Lorraine Hope
When interviewing members of a criminal network, what determines the information a given interviewee chooses to disclose, as guided by the network's collective planning? What principles could help inform a detective preparing for such interviews? In the current study, Neequaye et al. recruited groups of people known to each other to assume the role of networks that run an illegal sports betting business, fronting as a chain of tanning salons. Although each network launders money, they have to come up with a strategy to convince investigators they are legit. The groups are motivated to disclose some information when individuals are interviewed, but only enough to appear cooperative. Members disclosed information they perceived would yield benefical outcomes, but the extent to which members disclosed varied substantially according to the groups they were in.
 
The Stage 2 manuscript was evaluated over one round of in-depth review. Based on detailed responses to the reviewers' comments, 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/n7ugr
 
Level of bias control achieved: Level 6. Data collection began during the final round of Stage 1 peer review. Since no further revisions were made after this review round, the risk of bias due to prior data observation remained zero, and the manuscript therefore qualified for Level 6.
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. Neequaye, D. A., Granhag, P. A. & Luke, T. J. (2023). Exploring How Members of Illicit Networks Navigate Investigative Interviews. Acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/f3ct4
Exploring How Members of Illicit Networks Navigate Investigative InterviewsDavid A. Neequaye, Pär Anders Granhag, Timothy Luke<p>This study explored how members of an illicit network navigate investigative interviews probing their crimes. We examined how perceived disclosure outcomes, namely, the projected costs and benefits, affect what members choose to reveal. We recr...Humanities, Social sciencesZoltan Dienes2022-07-11 15:21:09 View
24 Oct 2022
STAGE 2
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Does alleviating poverty increase cognitive performance? Short- and long-term evidence from a randomized controlled trial

No strong effect of unconditional cash transfers on cognition

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Charlotte Pennington and Matúš Adamkovič
Recent studies have revealed potential benefits of unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) on a variety of health and social outcomes, including self-reported happiness and life satisfaction (Haushofer & Shapiro, 2016), economic and financial well-being (Blattman et al., 2013; Baird et al., 2018) and educational attainment (Baird et al., 2016). Although the effects of UCTs do not always out-perform rigorous control conditions (Whillans & West, 2022), these findings prompt the question of whether the alleviation of poverty via UCTs can also influence cognitive processing and performance.
 
In the current study, Szaszi et al. analysed the results of a previous randomised trial of UCTs by Blattman et al. (2017) to test whether a $200 lump sum – equivalent to three months of income – administered to a sample of young men in Liberia carries both short- and long-term benefits for a range of executive functions, including attention, response inhibition, and working memory capacity. Overall, the results suggest minimal if any consequences of the intervention – the observed effects of UCTs on cognition were several times smaller than suggested by previous research, and the evidence for a positive effect was inconclusive. Extensive multiverse analyses showed that these findings were robust to a range of alternative analytical specifications, and the authors estimate that a sample size of nearly 5000 would be required to provide strong evidence.
 
In their Discussion, the authors explore a range of reasons for the negative findings compared with previous research, including the more rigorous and severe causal test enabled by the randomised trial design, the demographic homogeneity of the sample demographic, the use of pen-and-paper tests (cf. computerised tests in previous studies), and the delivery of a lump-sum cash transfer compared with a regular monthly installment. In addition, although the results were negative or inconclusive, there were hints that a positive effect of UCTs may be more evident in some cognitive domains than in others – in this case, potentially benefiting working memory more than inhibitory control. Further research would be required to confirm this hypothesis.
 
The Stage 2 manuscript was evaluated over one round of in-depth review. Based on the responses to the reviewers' comments, 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/k56yv
 
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 prior to Stage 1 acceptance, but the authors certified that they had not yet observed the key variables within the data that would 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. Haushofer, J. & Shapiro, J.  (2016). The short-term impact of unconditional cash transfers to the poor: Experimental evidence from Kenya. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 13, 1973–2042. https://doi.org/10.1093/qje/qjw025
 
2. Blattman, C., Fiala, N. & Martinez, S. (2013) Generating skilled self-employment in developing countries: Experimental evidence from Uganda. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129, 697–752. https://doi.org/10.1093/qje/qjt057
 
3. Baird, S., McKenzie, D., & Özler, B. (2018). The effects of cash transfers on adult labor market outcomes. IZA Journal of Development and Migration, 8, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40176-018-0131-9
 
4. Baird, S., Chirwa, E., De Hoop, J., & Özler, B. (2016). Girl power: cash transfers and adolescent welfare: evidence from a cluster-randomized experiment in Malawi. In African Successes, Volume II: Human Capital (pp. 139-164). University of Chicago Press. https://www.nber.org/system/files/chapters/c13380/c13380.pdf
 
5. Whillans, A., & West, C. (2022). Alleviating time poverty among the working poor: A pre-registered longitudinal field experiment. Scientific Reports, 12(1), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-04352-y
 
6. Blattman, C., Jamison, J. C. & Sheridan, M. (2017). Reducing crime and violence: Experimental evidence from cognitive behavioral therapy in Liberia. American Economic Review, 107, 1165–1206. http://doi.org/10.1257/aer.20150503
 
7. Szaszi, B., Palfi, B., Neszveda, G., Taka, A., Szecsi, P., Blattman, C., Jamison, J. C., & Sheridan, M. (2022). Does alleviating poverty increase cognitive performance? Short- and long-term evidence from a randomized controlled trial. Stage 2 Registered Report, acceptance of Version 2 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://psyarxiv.com/4gyzh
Does alleviating poverty increase cognitive performance? Short- and long-term evidence from a randomized controlled trialBarnabas Szaszi, Bence Palfi, Gabor Neszveda, Aikaterini Taka, Péter Szécsi, Christopher Blattman, Julian C. Jamison, Margaret Sheridan<p>In this Registered Report, we investigated the impact of a poverty alleviation program on cognitive performance. We analyzed data from a randomized controlled trial conducted on low-income, high-risk individuals in Liberia where a random half o...Social sciencesChris Chambers2022-07-13 12:10:49 View
19 Mar 2023
STAGE 1
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How does the phrasing of house edge information affect gamblers’ perceptions and level of understanding? A Registered Report

Does relaying ‘house edge’ information influence gambler’s perceived chances of winning and their factual understanding of the statistical outcomes?

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Zhang Chen, Graeme Knibb and Luke Clarke
Many products that can impact upon health and wellbeing (e.g. alcohol, food) relay information to consumers about the potential risks. However, such information is commonly provided in suboptimal format for gambling-related products. To encourage safer gambling, research has therefore recommended that information about the average loss from a gambling product (“house edge”) or percentage payout (“return-to-player”) should be communicated, with the former translating to better perceived understanding by gamblers. In this study, Newall et al. (2022) aim to experimentally compare two phrasings of the house edge against a control return-to-player to arrive at the most effective phrasing to aid gambler’s perceived chances of winning and their factual understanding of the statistical outcomes of their bet. Using a hypothetical gambling scenario, a sample of 3,000 UK-based online gamblers will be randomly assigned to receive two alternative phrasings of the house edge or the equivalent return-to-player information. Two outcome measures will be used to judge the effectiveness of the house edge information: gamblers’ perceived changes of winning and rates of accurate responding on a multiple-choice question measuring factual understanding of this information. This study will therefore assess the most effective communication of gambling risk, which can inform public health policies to reduce gambling-related harm.
 
Following a positive initial appraisal, and after two rounds of in-depth review, the recommender judged that the manuscript met the Stage 1 criteria and awarded in-principle acceptance (IPA).
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/5npy9
 
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. Newall, P. W. S., James, R. J. E. & Maynard, O. M. (2022). How does the phrasing of house edge information affect gamblers’ perceptions and level of understanding? A Registered Report, in principle acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/5npy9
How does the phrasing of house edge information affect gamblers’ perceptions and level of understanding? A Registered ReportPhilip Newall, Richard James, Olivia Maynard<p>The provision of information to consumers is a common input to tackling various public health issues. By comparison to the information given on food and alcohol products, information on gambling products is either not given at all, or shown in ...Social sciencesCharlotte Pennington2022-07-18 16:25:06 View
10 Feb 2023
STAGE 2
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Neuroanatomical Correlates of System-justifying Ideologies: A Pre-registered Voxel-based Morphometry Study on Right-Wing Authoritarianism and Social Dominance Orientation

No definitive evidence for neuroanatomical correlates of system-justifying ideologies

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Bonni Crawford and 1 anonymous reviewer
According to the tenets of system justification theory, system-justifying ideologies are beliefs held by individuals to defend and justify the status quo, even when doing do perpetuates social inequalities (Jost and Hunyady, 2005). Two such well-studied ideologies to emerge from political science and social psychology are social dominance orientation (SDO) – the belief that some social groups are superior to others – and right wing authoritarianism (RWA) – the belief that people should follow conventional traditions and authorities, avoiding rebellious ideas. Although considered to be stable traits that may have a heritable basis, there has been little investigation of the neural correlates of SDO and RWA, and it remains unknown whether they are associated with common or distinct brain systems.
 
In the current study, Balagtas et al. report a novel investigation of the neuroanatomical correlates of both SDO and RWA in a Chinese Singaporean sample using voxel-based morphometry. Based on previous research, the authors chose to focus especially on relationships between SDO, RWA and the volume of the amygdala, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and anterior insula.
 
As predicted, the results showed a reliable positive correlation between measures of RWA and SDO; however, none of the neuroanatomical hypotheses were fully supported. Preregistered whole brain analyses revealed no significant regions associated with either RWA or SDO, while ROI analyses identified overlapping (including the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex) and non-overlapping regions (including left anterior insula) associated with RWA and SDO. Exploratory robustness checks suggested that the authors' spherical ROI localisation method may have identified clusters that were not within the amygdala or left anterior insula, prompting the need for future replication in a larger sample using more precise, atlas-based analyses.
 
The Stage 2 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 2 criteria and awarded a positive recommendation.
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/btkwq
 
Level of bias control achieved: Level 4. At least some of the data/evidence that was used to answer the research question already existed AND was accessible in principle to the authors (e.g. residing in a public database or with a colleague) BUT the authors certified that they had not yet accessed any part of that data/evidence prior to IPA.
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. Jost, J. T., & Hunyady, O. (2005). Antecedents and consequences of system-justifying ideologies. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 260-265. https://doi.org/10.1111%2Fj.0963-7214.2005.00377.x
 
2. Balagtas, P. M., Tolomeo, S., Ragunath, B., Rigo, P., Bornstein, M. H. & Esposito, G. (2023). Neuroanatomical Correlates of System-justifying Ideologies: A Pre-registered Voxel-based Morphometry Study on Right-Wing Authoritarianism and Social Dominance Orientation. Stage 2 Registered Report, acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/nrqtz
Neuroanatomical Correlates of System-justifying Ideologies: A Pre-registered Voxel-based Morphometry Study on Right-Wing Authoritarianism and Social Dominance OrientationJan Paolo M. Balagtas, Serenella Tolomeo, Bindiya L. Ragunath, Paola Rigo, Marc H. Bornstein & Gianluca Esposito<p>System-justifying ideologies are a cluster of ideals that perpetuate a hierarchical social system despite being fraught with inequalities. Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) are two ideologies that have rec...Social sciencesChris Chambers2022-07-27 17:53:26 View
14 Nov 2022
STAGE 2
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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