I have several ongoing projects under review that I would welcome your feedback on the preprints (contact me here).
Partial list (*: equal contribution; underlined: supervised students; ^corresponding author):
The widely-replicated action-effect (Kahneman & Tversky, 1982a) describes a phenomenon in which negative outcomes are associated with higher regret when they are a result of action compared to inaction. The highly influential norm-theory (Kahneman & Miller, 1986) theorized that the effect can be explained using the concept of normality, arguing that inaction is more ‘normal’. We aimed to clarify the concept of normality and examine the impact on regret in the action-effect by contrasting three identified categories: past-behavior normality, role/situational expectations normality, and social-norms normality. In three exploratory experiments (N1 = 213, N2 = 300, N3 = 303) and one concluding pre-registered combined experiment (N = 403) we found that the three normality categories had distinct effects with consistent medium to strong impact on the regret action-effect (d = .51 to d =.85) and no interactions. The action-effect was significantly weakened into an inaction-effect in the joint effects of any two types of the three normality categories (d = 1.56 to 1.61) and with all three combined (d = 2.75). In addition, we conclude three replications for each of the normality categories effects, overall nine successful replications of previous findings.
Emotions are used to infer information about people and to make sense of ambiguous situations. Extending the literature on cognitive effects of action-inaction asymmetries regarding regret, we pre-registered hypotheses for asymmetries in interpretations of others’ experiences of regret. In four experiments, we examined the impact of perceived regret or no-regret on action-inaction attributions in ambiguous situations and found consistent evidence for a “regret-action effect”. Participants interpreted regret as more likely a result of taking action than of not acting, compared to no-regret, even before outcome was known to the decision maker and regardless of actual outcome. Emotions were also used to infer the social context as the regret manipulation affected perceived action-inaction norms, with no-regret associated with weaker action norms (compared to the regret and control conditions).
We examined meaning and structure of the personal values and moral foundations theories with an empirical test of values-foundations associations. Using five large-scale cross-cultural samples (N = 32,492) we tested whether the two theories and underlying dimensions predicted unique variance in moral variables and summarized mini meta-analytic effects for values-foundations links. We found support for personal values and moral foundations as having distinct high-order dimensions of consistent and theoretically meaningful relationships. Broadly, self-transcendence versus self-enhancement values dimensions were associated with individualizing moral foundations, whereas conservation versus openness-to-change values dimensions were associated with binding moral foundations. Links between low-level values and foundations followed the expected theoretical values theory circumplex structure. We discuss implications and directions for future research.
Omission bias is the preference for harm through omissions over harm through commissions. In a pre-registered experiment (N = 313), we successfully replicated an experiment from Spranca, Minsk, and Baron (1991), considered a classic demonstration of the omission bias, in an adjusted between-subject design addressing concerns regarding the generalizability of the effect beyond within-subject experiments. Participants in the harm through commission condition(s) rated harm as more immoral and attributed higher responsibility compared to participants in the harm-through-omission condition (d = 0.40 to 0.52). We examined several extensions. An action-inaction asymmetry was also found for causality and intent, in that commissions were attributed stronger action-outcome links and higher intentionality (d = 0.21 to 0.58). The effect for regret was opposite from the classic findings on the action-effect, with higher regret for inaction over action (d = -0.26 to -0.19). Overall, higher perceived causality and intent were associated with higher attributed responsibility, and with lower perceived morality and regret.
*Gao, Y., *Yao, D., & ^Feldman, G., Owning leads to valuing: Meta-analysis of the Mere Ownership Effect
Mere ownership effect is the phenomenon that people tend to value what they own more than what they do not own. This classic effect is considered robust, yet evidence is inconsistent, effect size varies across studies, and the effect is often confused for or confounded with other classic phenomena, such as endowment or mere exposure effects. We conducted a pre-registered meta-analysis of 26 samples (N = 3132) resulting in medium effect-size for psychological ownership on valuing (g = 0.59, 95% confidence intervals [CI] [0.47, 0.70]). Moderator analyses showed that object materiality, use of replica, and valuing type were the strongest moderators, compared to weaker effects for loss aversion, type of ownership (implicit/explicit), level of exposure, and study design (between/within). Mere ownership effects were different than null across all moderator categories and publication bias corrections. We conclude that psychological owning indeed leads to valuing, regardless of endowment, loss-aversion, and mere-exposure effects.
Feldman, G., Kutscher, L., & Yay, T. What is action, what is inaction? A review of action-inaction biases and recommendations for term use and typology.
Research on action and inaction now spans over 35 years, with ever growing interest. Still, the terms action and inaction have not been thoroughly discussed and are often poorly defined and commonly misunderstood. This often resulted in confounded use and much confusion, and may contribute to unclear and/or inconsistent findings in empirical work that limit generalizability and integration. In this review, we aim to offer an organizing framework for scholarly research on action-inaction. We first cover several widely-studied action-inaction biases and demonstrate some of the challenges and issues in the way action and inaction have been conceptualized and tested. We then build on those to identify a typology of nine different uses of the terms. Finally, we provide six recommended guidelines for defining and theorizing about action and action in future scholarly research.
Other concluded work with former students:
- Supervised thesis by Lucas Kutscher, in preparation for submission: The impact of past behavior normality on regret: A meta-analysis
- Supervised thesis by Yay Tijen, in preparation for submission: Omission bias: A meta-analysis
- Supervised thesis by Yajing Gao, in preparation for submission: Mere ownership effect: a pre-registered replication and extension + a meta-analysis
Mass pre-registered JDM replications reports
See our summary page about this mass pre-registered JDM replication project. We’re in the process of sharing all materials.
Collaborative guide: Pre-registered replication project collaborative manual (DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.16660.14723/1)
- Chan, Wong, ^Feldman, & Cheng. The impact of prior investment on decision-making: Pre-registered replication of the Arkes and Blumer’s (1985) sunk cost effect.
- Wong, Ho, ^Feldman, & Cheng. Introspection illusion as a source of the bias blind spot: Pre-registered replication of Pronin and Kugler (2007).
- Cheng, Chan, ^Feldman, & Cheng. Folk Concept of Intentionality: Pre-registered Replication of Malle and Knobe’s (1997)
There are others, if this kind of work interests you, email me for other ongoing work.