Spatial Distance Priming of Embarrassment (#166)

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David Johnson and Joseph Cesario. Spatial Distance Priming of Embarrassment. (2013, June 29). Retrieved 00:55, February 22, 2018 from

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"Spatial Distance Priming of Embarrassment" David Johnson and Joseph Cesario. 29 Jun 2013 23:24 22 Feb 2018, 00:55 <>

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'Spatial Distance Priming of Embarrassment', David Johnson and Joseph Cesario, , 29 June 2013 23:24 <> [accessed 22 February 2018]

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"Spatial Distance Priming of Embarrassment", David Johnson and Joseph Cesario, , (accessed February 22, 2018)


Spatial Distance Priming of Embarrassment [Internet]. David Johnson and Joseph Cesario; 2013 Jun 29, 23:24 [cited 2018 Feb 22]. Available from:

Reference to Original Report of Finding Williams, L. E., & Bargh, J. A. (2008). Keeping one's distance: The influence of spatial distance cues on affect and evaluation. Psychological Science, 19, 302-308.
Title Spatial Distance Priming of Embarrassment
If the original article contained multiple experiments, which one did you attempt to replicate? e.g., you might respond 'Study 1' or 'Experiment 4'. Study 1
Link to PDF of Original ReportView Article
Brief Statement of Original Result Priming participants with spatial distance (via graphing points on paper) influences the experience of embarrassment.
Type of Replication Attempted Highly Direct Replication
Result Type Failure to Replicate
Difference? Opposite Direction, .81
Number of Subjects 412
Number of Subjects in Original Study 73
Year in which Replication Attempt was Made 2012
Name of Investigators (Real Names Required) David Johnson and Joseph Cesario
Detailed Description of Method/Results Spatial distance was primed by graphing a pair of points on a coordinate plane. In the three conditions the points were increasingly far apart.

Participants completed the task in between a series of unrelated experimental tasks. They were provided with a sheet of paper (face down) and told not to flip it over until directed to. No other cover story was given. During the experiment the computer gave instructions to flip over the paper, which told participants to graph (one of three) coordinate points on the coordinate plane. Upon completing the task, participants read an embarrassing excerpt from the book “Good in Bed.” On a computer, they then responded to three questions on a scale from 1 (not at all) to 9 (extremely) asking if they enjoyed the passage, were interested in reading more of the story it was from, and found the passage entertaining.

At the conclusion of the experiment participants were probed for suspicion and debriefed.


Twenty-two participants failed to complete the grid correctly and were removed from the analysis, leaving 412 participants. (Removal of participants did not change the results of the analyses.) A one-way ANOVA was used to test differences in bond strength between the three spatial-prime groups. As Figure 1 shows, the data showed no significant differences between conditions (close prime: M = 5.59, SD = 1.80; intermediate prime: M = 5.45, SD = 2.00; distance prime: M = 5.50, SD = 1.85), F(2, 409) = 0.21, p = .81. Cohen’s d for the close v. distance conditions was -.05.

The data were also examined with Bayesian parameter estimation. By specifying a region of practical equivalence (ROPE) around the null it is possible to accept the null if parameter estimates do not exceed this ROPE. We selected a ROPE of -0.1 to 0.1 for the standardized mean difference (effect size) of spatial prime when comparing close vs. distance conditions as effect sizes must be greater than |0.1| to be considered “small” (Cohen, 1988).

We used a vague prior to estimate the standardized mean difference between spatial distance and family bond strength given the combined sample of 412 participants. Using R scripts (Kruschke, 2011), we implemented Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithms to generate a set of 100,000 standardized mean difference parameter values.

The R script outputs a histogram of credible parameter estimates (Figure 2) and reports the highest density interval (HDI) that contains 95% of the estimates of effect size. The mean effect size estimate when comparing close vs. distance conditions was .02, 95% HDI [-.16, .21]. The HDI does not completely fall within our ROPE (-.10 to .10), preventing us from concluding in favor of the null hypothesis. However, given that 42.9% of the credible estimates of effect size were less than zero, and the mean effect size of d = .02, we find little support for the original finding.

Data and experimenter script are available at both or
Any Known Methodological Differences
(between original and present study)?
In the original study the experimenter provided plotting instructions, coordinates, and bond ratings together in a paper packet. To reduce expectancy effects, in our replications experimenters were blind to the purpose of the grid task. The experimenter provided only the coordinate grid and plotting instructions; all bond questions were administered on the computer.
Email of Investigator
Name of individuals who
actually carried out the project
Experimenter: David Johnson RAs: Jessica Chan, Zach Franken, Arti Ghandi, Jill Kovach, Lucas Odom, Bing Weng
Location of ProjectMichigan State University
Characteristics of Subjects
(subject pool, paid, etc.)
University students from subject pool
Where did these subjects reside?Unspecified
Was this a Class Project?No
Further Details of Results as pdf
Additional Comments
Email of Original Investigator
Quantitive Information
I have complied with ethical standards for experimentation on human beings and, if necessary, have obtained appropriate permission from an Institutional Review Board or other oversight group.
TAG: Attention TAG: JDM TAG: Language TAG: Learning TAG: Memory TAG: Perception TAG: Performance TAG: Problem Solving TAG: Social Cognition TAG: Social Psychology TAG: Thinking

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