11/17/17 ASHLAND, Ohio – The Ashland University International Collaboration Research Center (ICRC) has launched its first official project, and quickly built a team of collaborators from more than 175 different laboratories, in over 40 countries, on all six populated continents.
The ICRC’s Psychological Science Accelerator aims to accelerate the accumulation of reliable and generalizable evidence in psychological science, reducing the distance between truth about human behavior and mental processes and our current understanding. The project will focus on collecting large and global data sets for studies that researchers in the network vote as making the biggest contribution to the field. All data, research materials and data analysis details will then be openly disseminated for other researchers to explore and re-analyze to generate new hypotheses.
AU’s Dr. Chris Chartier, the director of both the ICRC and the Accelerator, says that, “the truly big challenges in psychological science cannot be adequately met by a single researcher or small team. Instead, we must answer our big questions with a distributed laboratory network that is ongoing as opposed to time or task limited, diverse both in terms of human subjects and participating researchers, and inclusive with the welcoming of ideas, contributions, study proposals or other input from anyone in the field of psychology.”
Chartier first proposed the Accelerator in late August in a blog post titled “Building a CERN for Psychological Science.” “The post went a bit viral in the psych community, dozens of labs immediately joined, and it quickly became clear that we were onto something big and exciting,” Chartier said. “I’m thrilled that such a big and global initiative is headquartered right here at Ashland University. This puts our students at the epicenter of a movement in the field.
He added that the pace of lab recruitment, which has been quicker than two laboratories per day, shows that there is broad interest in the idea.
After accepting submissions for possible studies to run via the Accelerator, the network has selected its first official study. Ben Jones and Lisa DeBruine of the University of Glasgow (http://facelab.org/) submitted a proposal to test if an influential person-perception model, Oosterhof and Todorov’s (2008) valence-dominance model, generalizes across world regions.
The initial findings, from Princeton University, suggest that there are two main components that people evaluate when they encounter a new face and that these components drive perceptions and ratings of a number of other traits. Blinded submissions were reviewed by more than 40 members of the Accelerator network before ultimately selecting this as the first official project. After a period of external feedback from experts in person perception research as well as necessary edits to the research protocol, data collection will begin January 2018 and end December 2018.
“The international science community is paying keen attention to the project as well to see if it can build a culture in psychological science similar to other fields of science, such as physics or genetics, which already rely heavily on massive collaborations,” Chartier said.
Recently, Science Magazine covered the project in an article titled “A new accelerator aims to bring big science to psychology.” The article described the Accelerator as, “a new initiative to massively scale up, accelerate, and reproduce psychology studies.”
Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###