It's Not the Boss's Fault (#89)

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Bobbie Spellman. It's Not the Boss's Fault. (2011, November 15). Retrieved 00:52, February 22, 2018 from

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"It's Not the Boss's Fault" Bobbie Spellman. 15 Nov 2011 16:59 22 Feb 2018, 00:52 <>

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It's Not the Boss's Fault [Internet]. Bobbie Spellman; 2011 Nov 15, 16:59 [cited 2018 Feb 22]. Available from:

Reference to Original Report of Finding Wells, G. L., & Gavanski, I. (1989), Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 56(2), 161-169. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.56.2.161
Title It's Not the Boss's Fault
If the original article contained multiple experiments, which one did you attempt to replicate? e.g., you might respond 'Study 1' or 'Experiment 4'. Experiment 1
Link to PDF of Original ReportView Article
Brief Statement of Original Result The boss is more causal of her dying in the one-wine than the two-wine condition.
Type of Replication Attempted Highly Exact Replication
Result Type Failure to Replicate
Difference? Same Direction, .7
Number of Subjects 80
Number of Subjects in Original Study
Year in which Replication Attempt was Made 2004
Name of Investigators (Real Names Required) Bobbie Spellman
Detailed Description of Method/Results We tried to replicate as exactly as possible.

This is the story of a woman who goes out to dinner with her boss. She is allergic to wine. He orders for both of them. The dish contains wine. She eats it and dies. In both conditions he also considers ordering another dish: in one condition the other also contains wine, in the other it does not. The original finding is that the boss is more cause in the one-wine than two-wine condition -- because (supposedly) there is the obvious counterfactual: if he ordered the other she wouldn't have died.

I believe that this study was fine when it was originally run. It just doesn't work NOW.

If you ask subjects to list counterfactuals or causes of her death they will say things like:
She should have told him she had an allergy.
She should have ordered for herself.
What was she doing going to dinner with her boss?

Any Known Methodological Differences
(between original and present study)?
None known.
Email of Investigator
Name of individuals who
actually carried out the project
Research assistants and me.
Location of ProjectLaboratory
Characteristics of Subjects
(subject pool, paid, etc.)
University students from subject pool
Where did these subjects reside?United States
Was this a Class Project?No
Further Details of Results as pdf
Additional Comments
Email of Original Investigator
Quantitive Information Again. I think the original worked 20 years ago. Just not now. I hear that Experiment 2 from this paper (the taxi driving off the bridge) still works fine.
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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