What is it about?

The study is a failure to replicate a spatial congruency effect described by Estes, Verges and Barsalou (2008, Psychological Science) in which a cue word referring to an "up" or "down" concept, interferred with the discrimination of a target stimulus presented up or down on the screen. The results reported in Estes et al (2008) are relevant for the embodied theories of language since they have been interpreted as clear evidence of mandatory activation of spatial information from words. We present 9 experiments using the same paradigm as in the original study, and we never replicate the effect. We argue that in Estes et al. (2008) the spatial congruency effect could have been confused with other spatial effects.

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Why is it important?

It represent an honest attempt of replication. It proves the scientific relevance of replication studies.


Talking about failures of replicate in conferences and meetings has been as important as talking about experiments with positive results. In this way we came in contact with other research groups which used the same paradigm and encounterd the same problems. We finally put together a pool of data otherwise destined to remain locked in our computers.

Francesca Peressotti
University of Padova, Italy

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Spatial Congruency Effects Exist, Just Not for Words: Looking Into Estes, Verges, and Barsalou (2008), Psychological Science, June 2018, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/0956797617728127.
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