#23033 | AsPredicted

'The Effects of Ostracism on Moral Judgment'
(AsPredicted #23033)

Created:       05/05/2019 06:12 AM (PT)

This is an anonymized version of the pre-registration.  It was created by the author(s) to use during peer-review.
A non-anonymized version (containing author names) should be made available by the authors when the work it supports is made public.

1) Have any data been collected for this study already?
No, no data have been collected for this study yet.

2) What's the main question being asked or hypothesis being tested in this study?
Does ostracism influence moral judgment? Social exclusion can be seen as a threat, and as such might make people more cautious about others’ immoral actions. We predict that, compared to participants who feel socially included, participants who feel socially excluded will subsequently judge moral transgressions more harshly. In a previous preregistered study, we discovered an indirect effect: Ostracism reduced Fundamental Needs (sense of belonging, self-esteem, sense of control, and meaningfulness), which in turn increased severity of moral judgments. Although there was an overall indirect effect across all foundations, it was most pronounced for Harm, Fairness, and Sanctity, relative to Loyalty or Authority. We intend to examine whether this pattern will replicate for the current study.

3) Describe the key dependent variable(s) specifying how they will be measured.
We will repeat the same method as in another preregistered study. Participants will respond to questions about characters in different scenarios and rate the behaviour of the characters (1 = not at all wrong; 5 = extremely wrong). The vignettes developed by Clifford, Iyengar, Cabeza, Sinnott-Armstrong (2015) include the five moral foundations proposed by Graham, Haidt, & Nosek (2009). In the current study we will use the same questions as in the prior preregistered study for each of the five foundations. The study will also be conducted on Amazon Mechanical Turk.

4) How many and which conditions will participants be assigned to?
Participants will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. Participants in in the Inclusion Condition will play the interactive game Cyberball (Williams & Jarvis, 2006) in which two other “players” include the participants equally throughout in the game. Participants in the Ostracism Condition will play the same game but the two other “players” will mostly pass the ball between them, while not including the participant as often.

5) Specify exactly which analyses you will conduct to examine the main question/hypothesis.
We will run a repeated-measures mixed ANOVA on moral ratings with condition as between-subjects factor, and vignette content as within-subjects fact. We also will run one-tailed independent samples t-test for each moral foundation. Additionally, examining whether our previous finding for an indirect effect holds, we will run mediation analyses to test the indirect effects of the mediator variable Fundamental Needs on the outcome variable of Moral Disapproval. We predict that there will be an indirect effect such that the ostracized group will report reduced Fundamental Needs compared to the included group, and will in turn report higher moral disapproval ratings than the included group.

6) Describe exactly how outliers will be defined and handled, and your precise rule(s) for excluding observations.
We will exclude participants who fail both of the two factual manipulation checks included near the end of the study. We will also exclude participants who completed the study too quickly or consistently provide outlier ratings (too low or too high) for the moral items.

In our previous preregistered study there was one unusually skewed item in the Sanctity foundation. We will use the same set of items for the current study. We will examine distributions and if they suggest evidence of a ceiling effect we will consider excluding those items.

7) How many observations will be collected or what will determine sample size?
No need to justify decision, but be precise about exactly how the number will be determined.

In our previous pre-registered study, we collected data from 444 participants. We excluded 7 for failing to provide informed consent and 56 for responding incorrectly to both of the two factual manipulation check items. This resulted in a total of 381 participants, and an overall observed indirect effect of d = .19 To allow for some exclusions we set the current target sample size at 444 participants, at which point data collection will be stopped.

8) Anything else you would like to pre-register?
(e.g., secondary analyses, variables collected for exploratory purposes, unusual analyses planned?)

Participants will also complete the MacArthur Scale of Subjective Social Status (Adler & Stewart, 2007). We will run moderation and moderated mediation analyses to measure the indirect and interactive effects of subjective social status on moral judgment following the manipulation. There are two possibilities: One is that the effect of ostracism is so powerful that it affects participants regardless of their subjective social status. Indeed, a meta-analysis of 120 studies (Hartgerink, van Beest, Wicherts, & Williams, 2015) showed an average effect of d > 1.40 for the Cyberball manipulation, suggesting that it is very powerful. Another possibility is that individuals who are particularly low on social status will be more affected by ostracism and will in turn report higher moral disapproval ratings for moral infractions. We also intend to explore a main effect of subjective social status, predicting that individuals who report lower subjective social status will produce higher moral disapproval ratings across both conditions.