The Unbearable Lightness of Finger Movements: Commentary to Doliński


  • Karl Halvor Teigen


In the target article, Doliński (2018, this issue) showed that empirical studies of “real” behaviour are an almost extinct species of research, judged from articles published in the most recent volume of JPSP (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology). This finding continues a trend identified by Baumeister and colleagues ten years ago. The reliance on self-reports and rating scales can hardly be explained as an aftermath of the cognitive revolution in psychology, or a preoccupation with measurements and advanced statistical analyses, as Doliński suggests, but is more compatible with the ease of collecting questionnaire data, combined with the pressure to publish large multi-study papers and to obtain approval from ethical review boards. This development is further strengthened by the accessibility of online participant pools. An informal count showed that students participating for course credit were in 2006 involved more than 90% of empirical JPSP studies, as against 22.5% in 2017. In contrast, Amazon Mechanical Turk workers, non-existent in 2006, participated in 55.3% of the empirical studies published in the most recent volume. Parallel to this development the number of participants per study and the number of studies per article have vastly increased.