Heterogeneity in direct replications in psychology and Its association with effect size

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We examined the evidence for heterogeneity (of effect sizes) when only minor changes to sample population and settings were made between studies and explored the association between heterogeneity and average effect size in a sample of 68 meta-analyses from 13 preregistered multilab direct replication projects in social and cognitive psychology. Among the many examined effects, examples include the Stroop effect, the "verbal overshadowing" effect, and various priming effects such as "anchoring" effects. We found limited heterogeneity; 48/68 (71%) meta-analyses had nonsignificant heterogeneity, and most (49/68; 72%) were most likely to have zero to small heterogeneity. Power to detect small heterogeneity (as defined by Higgins, Thompson, Deeks, & Altman, 2003) was low for all projects (mean 43%), but good to excellent for medium and large heterogeneity. Our findings thus show little evidence of widespread heterogeneity in direct replication studies in social and cognitive psychology, suggesting that minor changes in sample population and settings are unlikely to affect research outcomes in these fields of psychology. We also found strong correlations between observed average effect sizes (standardized mean differences and log odds ratios) and heterogeneity in our sample. Our results suggest that heterogeneity and moderation of effects is unlikely for a 0 average true effect size, but increasingly likely for larger average true effect size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-940
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • direct replication
  • heterogeneity
  • many labs
  • meta-analysis
  • psychology


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