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IdTitle▲AuthorsAbstractPictureThematic fieldsRecommenderReviewersSubmission date
16 Sep 2022
STAGE 1
toto

Action-Inaction Asymmetries in Emotions and Counterfactual ‎Thoughts: Meta-Analysis of the Action Effect‎

Charting meta-analytic evidence for the action-effect

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Dan Quintana, Emiel Cracco and priyali rajagopal

Winston Churchill once famously quipped, “I never worry about action, but only inaction.” Churchill, however, may have been an exception to the rule, with psychological research suggesting that people are more concerned about the consequences of actions than inactions. During the so-called “action-effect”, first reported by Kahneman and Tversky (1982), people regret an action leading to a bad outcome more than they do an inaction leading to the same bad outcome

In the current study, Yeung and Feldman (2022) propose a wide-ranging meta-analysis to characterise evidence for the action-effect, focusing in particular on emotions and counterfactual thoughts – that is, mental representations of alternative decisions (or “what if” thoughts). Consistent with the expected consequences of the action-effect on emotion, they predict that action will be associated with stronger negative emotions than inaction (when outcomes are negative), and with stronger positive emotions than inaction (when outcomes are positive). The authors also expect action to be associated with a greater abundance of counterfactual thought compared to inaction.

In addition to examining the overall reliability of the action-effect (plus a range of exploratory questions), the study will also examine the extent to which the action-effect is moderated by temporal distance (with more recent events or behaviours predicted to associated with a stronger action effect), the type of study design, prior outcomes and social norms, the specificity (vs. generality) of the prior event, and whether the study employed a hypothetical scenario or a real-life event.

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 awarded in-principle acceptance (IPA).

URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/4pvs6

Level of bias control achieved: Level 2. At least some data/evidence that will be used to answer the research question has been accessed and partially observed by the authors, but the authors certify that they have not yet observed the key variables within the data that will be used to answer the research question
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 

References 
 
1. Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1982). The psychology of preferences. Scientific American, 246(1), 160-173. https://doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican0182-160
 
2. Yeung, S. K. & Feldman, G. (2022). Action-Inaction Asymmetries in Emotions and Counterfactual ‎Thoughts: Meta-Analysis of the Action Effect‎, in principle acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/4pvs6

Action-Inaction Asymmetries in Emotions and Counterfactual ‎Thoughts: Meta-Analysis of the Action Effect‎Siu Kit Yeung, Gilad Feldman<p>Action-effect refers to the phenomenon in which people experience, associate, or attribute stronger emotions for action compared to inaction. In this registered report, we conducted a meta-analysis of the action effect literature (k = [enter nu...Social sciencesChris Chambers2021-07-16 14:02:56 View
18 May 2023
STAGE 1
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A multilab investigation into the N2pc as an indicator of attentional selectivity: Direct replication of Eimer (1996)

Is the N2pc a correlate of attentional selection? An #EEGManyLabs multi-lab registered replication of Eimer (1996)

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Reny Baykova and Clayton Hickey
The N2pc is a lateralised ERP component that is often interpreted as a marker of attentional allocation, so much so that it is frequently used a tool in the attention literature for inferring that a stimulus was attentionally processed. This interpretation of N2pc can be traced back to the seminal work of Eimer (1996), which has been conceptually replicated many times but has never been replicated directly.
 
This registered direct replication by Constant et al. (2023) forms part of a larger series of large-scale, multi-lab replications of highly influential EEG papers by the #EEGManyLabs project (Pavlov et al., 2021). Seven labs (with the potential for more to sign up later), will conduct high-powered replications of the critical Experiment 2 of Eimer (1996), where in the crucial conditions, participants discriminate a target letter (M vs W) or colour (blue vs green) in the presence of a distractor. Using four preprocessing pipelines, including the original, the authors will test whether the N2pc is observed over parieto-occipital electrodes contralateral to target presentation.  
 
The Stage 1 manuscript was evaluated over one round of in-depth review and one additional round of minor corrections. 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/dw68r
 
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 (so-called “primary RR”)
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. Constant, M., Mandal, A., Asanowicz, D., Yamaguchi, M., Gillmeister, H., Kerzel, D., Luque, D., Pesciarelli, F., Fehr, T., Mushtaq, F., Pavlov, Y. G. & Liesefeld, H. R. (2023). A multilab investigation into the N2pc as an indicator of attentional selectivity: Direct replication of Eimer (1996), in principle acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/dw68r
 
2. Eimer, M. (1996). The N2pc component as an indicator of attentional selectivity. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 99, 225-234. https://doi.org/10.1016/0013-4694(96)95711-9
 
3. Pavlov, Y. G., Adamian, N., Appelhoff, S., Arvaneh, M., Benwell, C. S., Beste, C., ... & Mushtaq, F. (2021). #EEGManyLabs: Investigating the replicability of influential EEG experiments. Cortex, 144, 213-229. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2021.03.013
A multilab investigation into the N2pc as an indicator of attentional selectivity: Direct replication of Eimer (1996)Martin Constant, Ananya Mandal, Dariusz Asanowicz, Motonori Yamaguchi, Helge Gillmeister, Dirk Kerzel, David Luque, Francesca Pesciarelli, Thorsten Fehr, Faisal Mushtaq, Yuri G. Pavlov, Heinrich R. Liesefeld<p>The N2pc is widely employed as an electrophysiological marker of an attention allocation. This interpretation was in no small part driven by the observation of an N2pc elicited by an isolated relevant target object, which was reported as Experi...Life Sciences, Social sciencesMaxine Sherman2023-02-24 11:41:52 View
08 Dec 2023
STAGE 1
toto

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
08 Feb 2022
STAGE 1
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Arithmetic deficits in Parkinson's Disease? A registered report

Getting the numbers right in Parkinson's disease?

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Pia Rotshtein, Ann Dowker, Stephanie Rossit and 1 anonymous reviewer

Everyday life, including for patients taking different types of medicine, involves dealing with numbers. Even though Parkinson's disease may ordinarily be thought of as primarily being a motor disorder, there is evidence that numerical abilities decline as Parkinson's disease progresses. Further, the brain areas involved in arithmetic operations overlap with the areas that degenerate in Parkinson's disease.

In this Stage 1 Registered Report, Loenneker et al. (2022) will test healthy  controls, Parkinson disease patients with normal  cognition, and Parkinson disease patients with mild cognitive impairment on general working memory tasks as well as arithmetic performance on the four basic  operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). The study aims to test whether or not there is a deficit in each operation, and the relation of any deficits to general working memory capacity.

The Stage 1 manuscript was evaluated over four rounds of review (including two rounds of in-depth specialist review). Based on comprehensive 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/nb5fj

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

Loenneker, H. D., Liepelt-Scarfone, I., Willmes, K., Nuerk, H.-C., & Artemenko, C. (2022). Arithmetic deficits in Parkinson’s Disease? A Registered Report. Stage 1 preregistration, in principle acceptance of version 4 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/nb5fj

Arithmetic deficits in Parkinson's Disease? A registered reportHannah D. Loenneker, Inga Liepelt-Scarfone, Klaus Willmes, Hans-Christoph Nuerk, & Christina Artemenko<p>Elderly people and patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease (PD) immensely rely on arithmetic skills to lead an independent life. Activities such as medication management, financial transactions or using public trans...Life SciencesZoltan Dienes2021-06-29 19:23:53 View
13 Jun 2022
STAGE 1
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Associations of fear, anger, happiness, and hope with risk judgments: Revisiting appraisal-tendency framework with a replication and extensions of Lerner and Keltner (2001)

Replicating the relationship between emotions and judgments of risk

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Kelly Wolfe, Max Primbs, Agata Sobków and Karolina Scigala
How do emotions interact with cognition? The last 40 years has witnessed the rise of cognitive-appraisal theories, which propose that emotions can be differentiated along an axis of cognitive dimensions such as certainty, pleasantness, attentional activity, control, anticipated effort, and responsibility (Smith and Ellsworth, 1985). Early tests of such theories focused especially on the impact of the valence – pleasantness/unpleasantness – of emotions on judgment and decision-making, finding, for instance, that negative mood induction can heighten pessimistic estimates of risk (Johnson & Tversky, 1983).
 
The Appraisal-Tendency Framework proposed by Lerner and Keltner (2000) refined cognitive-appraisal theory by proposing that specific emotions trigger a predisposition to appraise future (or hypothetical) events in line with the central appraisal dimensions that triggered the emotion, even when the emotion and the judgment are unrelated. For example, an individual who is triggered to become fearful of a heightened risk, such as nuclear war, may then exhibit heightened pessimism about risks unrelated to war. The Appraisal-Tendency Framework also predicts relationships between traits, such as between fear, anger and risk-taking/risk-seeking tendencies. In an influential paper, Lerner and Keltner (2001) reported direct empirical support for the Appraisal-Tendency Framework, which aside from its influence in cognitive/affective psychology has had considerable impact in behavioural economics, moral psychology, and studies of consumer behaviour.
 
In the current study, Lu and Feldman (2022) propose to replicate three key studies from Lerner and Keltner (2001) in a large online sample. Through a combination of replication and extension, the authors will probe the relationship between various trait emotions (including fear, anger, happiness, and hope) and trait characteristics of risk seeking and optimistic risk assessment. The authors also propose examining how the ambiguity of triggering events moderates the relationship between specific emotions and risk judgments. 
 
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/8yu2x
 
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. Smith, C. A., & Ellsworth, P. C. (1985). Patterns of cognitive appraisal in emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 813-838. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.48.4.813
 
2. Johnson, E. J., & Tversky, A. (1983). Affect, generalization, and the perception of risk. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45(1), 20–31. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.45.1.20
 
3. Lerner, J. S., & Keltner, D. (2000). Beyond valence: Toward a model of emotion-specific influences on judgment and choice. Cognition & Emotion, 14, 473-493. https://doi.org/10.1080/026999300402763 
 
4. Lerner, J. S., & Keltner, D. (2001). Fear, anger, and risk. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 146–159. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.81.1.146
  
5. Lu, S. & Feldman, G. (2022). Associations of fear, anger, happiness, and hope with risk judgments: Revisiting appraisal-tendency framework with a replication and extensions of Lerner and Keltner (2001), in principle acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/8yu2x
Associations of fear, anger, happiness, and hope with risk judgments: Revisiting appraisal-tendency framework with a replication and extensions of Lerner and Keltner (2001)Sirui Lu; Gilad Feldman<p>This is a scheduled PCI-RR snap shot for a planned project: "Associations of fear, anger, happiness, and hope with risk judgments: &nbsp;Revisiting appraisal-tendency framework with a replication and extensions of Lerner and Keltner (2001)​"</p>Social sciencesChris Chambers2022-01-31 09:36:29 View
19 Jan 2024
STAGE 1
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A systematic review of social connection inventories

Improving the measurement of social connection

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Jacek Buczny, Richard James and Alexander Wilson
This is an ambitious systematic review that uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to make the measurement of the construct of social connection more rigorous. Social connection is a heterogeneous construct that includes aspects of structure, function and quality. Here, Paris et al. (2024) will use predefined methods to create a database of social connection measures, and will assess heterogeneity of items using human coders and ChatGPT. This database will form the basis of a second systematic review which will look at evidence for validity and measurement properties. This study will also look at the population groups and country of origin for which different measures were designed, making it possible to see how far culturally specific issues affect the content of measures in this domain.
 
The questions asked by this study are exploratory and descriptive and so the importance of pre-registration is in achieving clear criteria for how each question is addressed, rather than evidential criteria for hypothesis-testing.
 
The authors responded comprehensively to three reviewer reports. This study will provide a wealth of useful information for those studying social connection, and should serve to make the literature in this field more psychometrically robust and less fragmented.
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/796uv
 
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. Paris, B., Brickau, D., Stoianova, T., Luhmann, M., Mikton, C., Holt-Lunstad, J., Maes, A., & IJzerman, H. (2024). A systematic review of social connection inventories. In principle acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/796uv

A systematic review of social connection inventoriesBastien Paris, Debora Brickau, Tetiana Stoianova, Maike Luhmann, Christopher Mikton, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Marlies Maes, Hans IJzerman<p>Social connection is vital to health and longevity. To date, a plethora of instruments exists to measure social connection, assessing a variety of aspects of social connection like loneliness, social isolation, or social support. For comparabil...Social sciencesDorothy Bishop Alexander Wilson, Jacek Buczny, Richard James2023-07-09 21:33:01 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
07 Mar 2023
STAGE 2
(Go to stage 1)
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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
07 Apr 2022
STAGE 1
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Breaking Ban: Assessing the effectiveness of Belgium’s gambling law regulation of video game loot boxes

Has the “ban” of loot boxes eliminated them from Belgian mobile games?

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Andrew Moshirnia, Joseph Macey and Jason Chin
Paid loot boxes, i.e. randomised monetization methods that are similar to lottery-type gambling, have become prominent features of contemporary gaming (e.g., Macey & Bujić, 2022). Because the design structures of loot boxes vary and the value of their virtual rewards is not always clear-cut, many countries now struggle how to deal with them legally and in practice (see Drummond et al., 2020). Belgium is one of the few countries that have officially interpreted loot box monetization to widely belong under gambling regulation. Mobile games that monetize with paid loot boxes in Belgium should thus apply for a gambling license, and companies should generally not offer paid loot boxes to local underage players at all.
 
In this Stage 1 Registered Report, Xiao (2022) has constructed a careful plan for testing whether the “ban” in Belgium has made the local mobile game market distinct in terms of paid loot boxes. The work builds on a rapidly accumulating literature and evolving methods (e.g., Xiao et al., 2021). The author will carry out a systematic qualitative investigation of the country’s top 100 (iPhone) mobile games to investigate whether paid loot box design components have indeed been removed from the products -- and if not, whether related game companies operate with a required gambling license. Additionally, Xiao (2022) will assess Belgium’s overall paid loot box prevalence in comparison to other countries and carry out a field experiment to test whether players can easily circumvent the local regulation by transporting or downloading different versions of software.
 
The study will produce valuable evidence regarding the effectiveness of loot box regulation in general, and more specifically, the results should be of utmost interest to Belgian legal authorities. To ensure the transparency and validity of the chosen methods as well as upcoming interpretations, the registered report format allowed the research design to be reviewed in three rounds before data collection. Three experts, representing the fields of law and gaming, reviewed the Stage 1 manuscript twice and agreed upon the acceptance of all details. Finally, the recommender carried out a third iteration with further requested revisions, which was followed by in-principle acceptance. 
 

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 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

  • Drummond, A., Sauer, J. D., Hall, L. C., Zendle, D., & Loudon, M. R. (2020). Why loot boxes could be regulated as gambling. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(10), 986-988.
  • Macey, J., & Bujić, M. (2022). "The Talk of the Town: Community Perspectiveson Loot Boxes." In Ruotsalainen et al. (eds), Modes of Esports Engagement in Overwatch (pp. 199-223). Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Xiao, L. (2022) “Breaking Ban: Assessing the effectiveness of Belgium’s gambling law regulation of loot boxes.” Stage 1 Registered Report, in principle acceptance of Version 5 by Peer Community in Registered Reports.
  • Xiao, L. Y., Henderson, L. L., Yang, Y., & Newall, P. W. (2021). Gaming the system: suboptimal compliance with loot box probability disclosure regulations in China. Behavioural Public Policy, 1-27.
Breaking Ban: Assessing the effectiveness of Belgium’s 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 Karhulahti2022-02-07 22:54:50 View
14 Nov 2022
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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”

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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