Etienne P. LeBel, Ph.D., Independent Meta-Scientist, Western University


I do research in basic and applied areas of meta-science. Within the basic area, I investigate the social psychology of social psychology (e.g., simulation work optimizing the efficiency and falsifiability of scientific research; developing new replication norms guided by social norms theory). I previously lead, a naturalistic study on methodological reporting practices in psychology that contributed to raising journal reporting standards. Within the applied area, we're attempting to increase the cumulativeness and value of the social sciences by developing Curate Science, an effort to crowdsource the trustworthiness of published scientific findings by quantifying reproducibility, robustness, replicability, and generalizability evidence.

My background is in social psychology where I primarily investigated prejudice and stereotyping, attitudes and persuasion, romantic relationships, and methodological issues in psychology research (e.g., metric calibration; levels-of-analysis problem; measurement issues related to replicability, hypothesis testing, and construct validity).

Submitted/Working Papers

LeBel, E. P., Vanpaemel, W., McCarthy, R., Earp, B., & Elson, M. (2017). A unified framework to quantify the trustworthiness of empirical research. Manuscript under review at Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science. [PsyArXiv preprint]

Published Articles & Chapters (see for full list)

Heino, M., Fried, E. I., & LeBel, E. P. (2017). Complex phenomena require sophisticated designs: Why we shouldn't give up on replicability. Frontiers in Psychology. [PDF] [PsyArXiv preprint]

LeBel, E. P., Berger, D., Campbell, L., & Loving, T. J. (in press). Falsifiability is not optional. Forthcoming at Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. [PsyArXiv preprint]

LeBel, E. P., Campbell, L., & Loving, T. J. (in press). Benefits of open and high-powered research outweigh costs. Forthcoming at Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. [SSRN pre-print] [PsyArXiv preprint] [Shiny App]

LeBel, E. P., & John, L. (2017). Psychological and institutional obstacles toward more transparent reporting of psychological science. Published in S. O. Lilienfeld & I. D. Waldman (Eds.), Psychological Science Under Scrutiny: Recent Challenges and Proposed Solutions. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. [PDF] [Buy from]

Cheung, I., Campbell, L., LeBel, E.,...Yong, J. C. (2016). Registered Replication Report of Finkel, Rusbult, Kumashiro, & Hannon's (2002) Study 1. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 750-764. DOI: 10.1177/1745691616664694 [PDF] [Finkel Commentary] [Blog post]

LeBel, E. P. (2015). A new replication norm for psychology. Collabra. [Article]

Aarts, A. A. ... , LeBel, E. P., ... , Nosek, B. A. (2015). Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349, aac4716 DOI: 10.1126/science.aac4716 [PDF]

Madurski, C.*, & LeBel, E. P. (2015). Making sense of the noise: Replication difficulties of Correll's (2008) modulation of 1/f noise in a racial bias task. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 1135-1141. (*Student author) DOI: 10.3758/s13423-014-0757-4 [PDF] [SSRN pre-print]

Battista, C., Gauvrit, N., & LeBel, E. P. (2015). Madness in the method: Fatal flaws in triple-blind mediumship research. Published in M. Martin & K. Augustine (Eds.), The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case Against Life After Death. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. [Buy on]

Campbell, L., Loving, T. J., & LeBel, E. P. (2014). Enhancing transparency of the research process to increase accuracy of findings: A guide for relationship researchers. Personal Relationships, 21, 531-545. DOI: 10.1111/pere.12053 [PDF] [SSRN pre-print]

LeBel, E. P., & Wilbur, C. J. (2014). Big secrets do not necessarily cause hills to appear steeper. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21, 696-700. DOI 10.3758/s13423-013-0549-2 [PDF]

LeBel, E. P., & Campbell, L. (2013). Heightened sensitivity to temperature cues in highly anxiously attached individuals: Real or elusive phenomenon? Psychological Science, 24, 2128-2120. DOI: 10.1177/0956797613486983 [PDF] [Addendum] [Supplementary Materials]

LeBel, E. P., Borsboom, D., Giner-Sorolla, R., Hasselman, F., Peters, K. R., Ratliff, K. A., & Smith, C. T. (2013). Grassroots support for reforming reporting standards in psychology. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8, 424-432. DOI: 10.1177/1745691613491437 [PDF] [Supplementary Materials]
†Initiative mentioned in New Yorker piece on cleaning up science.

LeBel, E. P., & Campbell, L. (2013). The interactive role of implicit and explicit partner evaluations on ongoing affective and behavioral romantic realities. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 167-174. DOI: 10.1177/1948550612448196 [PDF]

Open Science Collaboration (2012). An open, large-scale, collaborative effort to estimate the reproducibility of psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7, 657-660. [PDF]

Paunonen, S. V., & LeBel, E. P. (2012). Socially desirable responding and its elusive effects on the validity of personality assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 158-175. DOI: 10.1037/a0028165 [PDF] [Monte Carlo Syntax]

LeBel, E. P., & Peters, K. R. (2011). Fearing the future of empirical psychology: Bem's (2011) evidence of psi as a case study of deficiencies in modal research practice. Review of General Psychology, 15, 371-379. DOI: 10.1037/a0025172 [PDF]
†Research covered in Time magazine Ideas piece on trust in psychological research.

LeBel, E. P., & Paunonen, S. V. (2011). Sexy but often unreliable: Impact of unreliability on the replicability of experimental findings involving implicit measures. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 570-583. DOI: 10.1177/0146167211400619 [PDF] [Monte Carlo Syntax]

LeBel, E. P. (2011). Metric calibration of psychological instruments: Utility and feasibility. Saarbrucken, Germany: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing. [Buy on] [PDF]

LeBel, E. P. (2010). Attitude accessibility as a moderator of implicit and explicit self-esteem correspondence. Self and Identity, 9, 195-208. DOI: 10.1080/15298860902979166 [PDF]

LeBel, E. P., & Gawronski, B. (2009). How to find what's in a name: Scrutinizing the optimality of five scoring algorithms for the name-letter task. European Journal of Personality, 23, 85-106. DOI: 10.1002/per.705 [PDF] [NLT Scoring Algorithm (SPSS Syntax)]

LeBel, E. P., & Campbell, L. (2009). Implicit partner affect, relationship satisfaction, and the prediction of romantic breakup. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 1291-1294. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.07.003 [PDF] [Partner NLT Scoring Algorithm (SPSS Syntax)] [Supp Materials]

Gawronski, B., & LeBel, E. P. (2008). Understanding patterns of attitude change: When implicit measures show change, but explicit measures do not. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1355-1361. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2008.04.005 [PDF]

Gawronski, B., LeBel, E. P., & Peters, K.P. (2007). What do implicit measures tell us? Scrutinizing the validity of three common assumptions. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2, 181-193. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6916.2007.00036.x [PDF]

Older Working Papers

LeBel, E. P., & Campbell, L. (2015). Bold conjectures meet open science: Accelerating theory development in social psychology by testing riskier predictions via pre-registration. Unpublished manuscript. [Abstract]

LeBel, E. P., Borsboom, D., Hasselman, F., & Stahl, C. (2014). Overcoming experimental psychology's replicability crisis by studying humans at the intra- rather than inter-individual level. Unpublished manuscript. [Working Paper]

Tobin, C., & LeBel, E. P. (2014). Replication difficulties of Payne, Hall, Cameron, and Bishara's (2010) multinomial processing tree model of the affect misattribution procedure. Unpublished manuscript. [SSRN pre-print]

LeBel, E. P., & Stahl, C. (2013). Modeling mechanism heterogeneity in the affect misattribution procedure: A hierarchical latent-class multinomial processing tree model approach. Unpublished manuscript. [Working Paper]

Media Coverage

How the Reproducibility Crisis in Academia is Affecting Scientific Research (Forbes Magazine, February 9, 2017)

Why Academic Research is So Unpredictable and What We Can Do to Fix It (Huffington Post, February 9, 2017)

Why is so much research dodgy? (The Guardian, October 17, 2016)

Effect of Commitment on Forgiveness Investigated in Large-Scale Replication Project (APS Press Release, September 30, 2016)

The 7 biggest problems facing science, according to 270 scientists (Vox, September 7, 2016)

We need to talk about the bad science being funded (The Conversation, July 18, 2016)

Why so much science research is flawed -- and what to do about it (New Scientist, April 13, 2016)

Sloppy Science: Are Sketchy Practices in the Lab to Blame for the Replication Crisis in Psychology Research? (Slate Magazine, March 21, 2016)

Does social science have a replication crisis? (The Washington Post, March 9, 2016)

The six most interesting psychology papers of 2015 (The New Yorker, December 26, 2015)

Whistle-blower scientist wins $10K prize (London Free Press, December 14, 2015)

Make Science More Reliable, Win Cash Prizes: Honoring young researchers who champion rigorous, transparent research is a small step towards changing the culture of science. (The Atlantic, December 10, 2015)

Taxpayer-funded research agencies 'need to wake up' (London Free Press, September 20, 2015)

London scientist Etienne LeBel has exposed questionable work of senior researchers (London Free Press, Stratford Beacon Herald, St. Thomas Times, September 5, 2015)

'Hobo scientist' presses for truth in journals (Ottawa Citizen, September 5, 2015)

Scientists' claims fail rebel's smell test (Sarnia Observer, September 5, 2015)

We tried to reproduce 100 published psychological studies -- the results were abysmal (National Post, August 28, 2015)

Of 100 Published Psychology Studies, Less Than Half Could Be Reproduced Successfully (Popular Science, August 27, 2015)

Study delivers bleak verdict on validity of psychology experiment results (The Guardian, August 27, 2015)

How Reliable Are Psychology Studies? (The Atlantic, August 27, 2015)

Replication Gone Wrong (The Scientist, May 29, 2014)

A happy marriage? It's all about gut feelings (Skeptical appraisal of) (The Telegraph, November 28, 2013)

Cleaning up science (The New Yorker, December 21, 2012)

Can We Trust Psychological Research? (Time Magazine, July 17, 2012)

Past Projects

Heterogeneity in Persuasion
Collaborators: Christine Madurski
While the average effects of influence strategies on behavior have been studied extensively (Cialdini, 2001), how particular individuals are influenced by such strategies has barely been examined, with a few exceptions (e.g., Kaptein & Eckles, 2011). The goal of the current project is to learn new insights about persuasion by examining the heterogeneity in how authority and consensus influence strategies influence different individuals differently. We will seek to understand the nature of such heterogeneity by examining whether stable individual differences (i.e., need for cognition, conscientiousness, need for closure) can help explain what discriminates individuals that are positively influenced vs. not influenced vs. negatively influenced.
[OSF Project page] [Working methods protocol]

Cross-Race Effect Heterogeneity
Collaborators: Masahiro Toyama
The tendency for individuals to have better memory for in-group compared to out-group faces -- known as the cross-race effect (CRE) -- is a psychological phenomenon with potentially deleterious consequences for misidentified target individuals in legal contexts (e.g., eyewitness identification). Though the CRE is a well-established psychological phenomenon (citations), there is disagreement regarding theoretical explanations of the effect. The current investigation aims to add resolve to such theoretical disagreements of the CRE by examining the phenomenon at the intra-individual rather than inter-individual level, which is the dominant approach currently used in the field. By examining the phenomenon at the intra-individual level, we will be able to (1) determine the percentage of individuals who show a CRE, (2) identify factors that discriminate between individual who show vs. do not show the CRE, and (3) test competing theoretical models of the CRE at the intra-individual level (e.g., CRE may emerge in different individuals for different reasons), hence contributing a more nuanced theoretical understanding of the CRE.
[OSF Project page] [Working methods protocol]

Influence of emotions on moral judgments
Collaborators: Nathan, Kemper, Brian Earp, & Christine R. Harris
An important unresolved theoretical issue in the area of morality involves understanding the conditions under which emotions influence moral judgments. In one theoretical camp, emotions are expected to influence moral judgments incidentally via a carry-over process (Haidt, 2001) whereas other theorists expect emotions to influence moral judgments only if the experienced emotion is intrinsically related to the target moral act (Pham, 2007). The current project aims to contribute to this unresolved issue by testing the competing incidental versus intrinsic accounts at the within-person level rather than the between-person sample level as has traditionally been done. The intra-individual design will allow us to empirically determine (1) the % of individuals who exhibit an intrinsic effect (within-person interaction effect), (2) the % of individuals who exhibit an incidental effect (within-person main effect), and (3) the % of individuals who show neither effects.