Promises and pitfalls of Web-based experimentation in the advance of replicable psychological science: A reply to Plant (2015)

H van Steenbergen*, Bruno Bocanegra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In a recent letter, Plant (2015) reminded us that proper calibration of our laboratory experiments is important for the progress of psychological science. Therefore, carefully controlled laboratory studies are argued to be preferred over Web-based experimentation, in which timing is usually more imprecise. Here we argue that there are many situations in which the timing of Web-based experimentation is acceptable and that online experimentation provides a very useful and promising complementary toolbox to available lab-based approaches. We discuss examples in which stimulus calibration or calibration against response criteria is necessary and situations in which this is not critical. We also discuss how online labor markets, such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, allow researchers to acquire data in more diverse populations and to test theories along more psychological dimensions. Recent methodological advances that have produced more accurate browser-based stimulus presentation are also discussed. In our view, online experimentation is one of the most promising avenues to advance replicable psychological science in the near future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1713-1717
Number of pages5
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

Research programs

  • ESSB PSY

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