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Does sadness impair color perception? Flawed evidence and faulty methods

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ABSTRACT

In their 2015 paper, Thorstenson, Pazda, and Elliot offered evidence from two experiments that perception of colors on the blue–yellow axis was impaired if the participants had watched a sad movie clip, compared to participants who watched clips designed to induce a happy or neutral mood. Subsequently, these authors retracted their article, citing a mistake in their statistical analyses and a problem with the data in one of their experiments. Here, we discuss a number of other methodological problems with Thorstenson et al.’s experimental design, and also demonstrate that the problems with the data go beyond what these authors reported. We conclude that repeating one of the two experiments, with the minor revisions proposed by Thorstenson et al., will not be sufficient to address the problems with this work.

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Distribution of standardized blue–yellow axis scores recorded for Experiment 2.The histogram shows the number of occurrences of each score, calculated byThorstensonet al. (2015a) as the proportion of correct responses in the 24 trials in which either a blue or yellow patch was presented. The pairs of adjacent bars near 0.55 and 0.8 correspond to cases that are not compatible with correct rounding.
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f1: Distribution of standardized blue–yellow axis scores recorded for Experiment 2.The histogram shows the number of occurrences of each score, calculated byThorstensonet al. (2015a) as the proportion of correct responses in the 24 trials in which either a blue or yellow patch was presented. The pairs of adjacent bars near 0.55 and 0.8 correspond to cases that are not compatible with correct rounding.

Mentions: We observed a strange pattern in the data for the blue–yellow axis inThorstensonet al.’s (2015a) Experiment 2. Specifically, a very large number of participants (53 out of 130) had a score of exactly 50%, corresponding to 12 out of 24 correct responses, with every other number of correct responses (10, 11, 13, 14, etc.) being achieved by a much smaller number of participants. This is illustrated inFigure 1, where the spike at the 50% level is clearly visible. This issue was one of the reasons given byThorstensonet al. (2015b) for retracting their article.


Does sadness impair color perception? Flawed evidence and faulty methods
Distribution of standardized blue–yellow axis scores recorded for Experiment 2.The histogram shows the number of occurrences of each score, calculated byThorstensonet al. (2015a) as the proportion of correct responses in the 24 trials in which either a blue or yellow patch was presented. The pairs of adjacent bars near 0.55 and 0.8 correspond to cases that are not compatible with correct rounding.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4979646&req=5

f1: Distribution of standardized blue–yellow axis scores recorded for Experiment 2.The histogram shows the number of occurrences of each score, calculated byThorstensonet al. (2015a) as the proportion of correct responses in the 24 trials in which either a blue or yellow patch was presented. The pairs of adjacent bars near 0.55 and 0.8 correspond to cases that are not compatible with correct rounding.
Mentions: We observed a strange pattern in the data for the blue–yellow axis inThorstensonet al.’s (2015a) Experiment 2. Specifically, a very large number of participants (53 out of 130) had a score of exactly 50%, corresponding to 12 out of 24 correct responses, with every other number of correct responses (10, 11, 13, 14, etc.) being achieved by a much smaller number of participants. This is illustrated inFigure 1, where the spike at the 50% level is clearly visible. This issue was one of the reasons given byThorstensonet al. (2015b) for retracting their article.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

In their 2015 paper, Thorstenson, Pazda, and Elliot offered evidence from two experiments that perception of colors on the blue–yellow axis was impaired if the participants had watched a sad movie clip, compared to participants who watched clips designed to induce a happy or neutral mood. Subsequently, these authors retracted their article, citing a mistake in their statistical analyses and a problem with the data in one of their experiments. Here, we discuss a number of other methodological problems with Thorstenson et al.’s experimental design, and also demonstrate that the problems with the data go beyond what these authors reported. We conclude that repeating one of the two experiments, with the minor revisions proposed by Thorstenson et al., will not be sufficient to address the problems with this work.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus