Big secrets make hills look steeper (#176)

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How to Cite this Report

APA Style

Hannah Perfect, Alice Moon, Leif Nelson. Big secrets make hills look steeper. (2014, February 05). Retrieved 22:44, February 22, 2018 from

MLA Style

"Big secrets make hills look steeper" Hannah Perfect, Alice Moon, Leif Nelson. 05 Feb 2014 13:05 22 Feb 2018, 22:44 <>

MHRA Style

'Big secrets make hills look steeper', Hannah Perfect, Alice Moon, Leif Nelson, , 05 February 2014 13:05 <> [accessed 22 February 2018]

Chicago Style

"Big secrets make hills look steeper", Hannah Perfect, Alice Moon, Leif Nelson, , (accessed February 22, 2018)


Big secrets make hills look steeper [Internet]. Hannah Perfect, Alice Moon, Leif Nelson; 2014 Feb 05, 13:05 [cited 2018 Feb 22]. Available from:

Reference to Original Report of Finding Slepian, M. L., Masicampo, E. J., Toosi, N. R., & Ambady, N. (2012, Study 1). The physical burdens of secrecy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141, 619-624.
Title Big secrets make hills look steeper
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 Slepian et al. showed that individuals who were asked to recall a big (compared to small) secret perceived a hill as steeper, suggesting that big secrets have physical consequences.
Type of Replication Attempted Highly Direct Replication
Result Type Failure to Replicate
Difference? Same Direction, .1
Number of Subjects 314
Number of Subjects in Original Study 40
Year in which Replication Attempt was Made 2012
Name of Investigators (Real Names Required) Hannah Perfect, Alice Moon, Leif Nelson
Detailed Description of Method/Results The cover story, materials, and manipulation wording were acquired from the first author.

We excluded 77 participants who failed to complete the secrets manipulation or gave no/illogical estimates for the dependent variables (e.g., a hill slope greater than 90 degrees).

A mixed-model ANOVA (2 [condition: big vs. small secret] x 2 (measure type: hill slant vs. control items) did not reveal the expected interaction, F (1, 311) = .061, p > .5.

More specifically, participants who recalled big secretes did not perceive the hill as steeper than those who recalled small secrets (M_big=41.3, SD=18.7 vs. M_small=38.1, SD=15.6), t(312)=1.65, p=.1.

Repeating the analyses with useable excluded participants does not change the pattern of results: F(1,358) = .074, p > .7 (interaction); t(364) = 1.07, p = .29 (simple effect).
Any Known Methodological Differences
(between original and present study)?
Correspondence with Etienne LeBel (who also contacted the first author to replicate this study) revealed that the original had restricted participants' responses to a certain range. This was not mentioned in the original paper, so we did not have it in our replication. Instead, we excluded those who responded outside of the original approved range (e.g., a hill slant greater than 90 degrees).
Email of Investigator
Name of individuals who
actually carried out the project
No experimenter (online Mechanical Turk sample, as in original); Hannah Perfecto analyzed data.
Location of ProjectN/A (run online)
Characteristics of Subjects
(subject pool, paid, etc.)
Adults tested through internet
Where did these subjects reside?United States
Was this a Class Project?No
Further Details of Results as pdf PDF

Additional Comments
Email of Original Investigator
Quantitive Information In accordance with the strategy suggested by Simonsohn (2013), we found that our study was an informative failure to replicate. (See included figure.)
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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