Ambiguity Prolongs the Present (#259)

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APA Style

Michael O'Donnell Leif D. Nelson. Ambiguity Prolongs the Present. (2016, December 19). Retrieved 22:43, February 22, 2018 from

MLA Style

"Ambiguity Prolongs the Present" Michael O'Donnell Leif D. Nelson. 19 Dec 2016 15:34 22 Feb 2018, 22:43 <>

MHRA Style

'Ambiguity Prolongs the Present', Michael O'Donnell Leif D. Nelson, , 19 December 2016 15:34 <> [accessed 22 February 2018]

Chicago Style

"Ambiguity Prolongs the Present", Michael O'Donnell Leif D. Nelson, , (accessed February 22, 2018)


Ambiguity Prolongs the Present [Internet]. Michael O'Donnell Leif D. Nelson; 2016 Dec 19, 15:34 [cited 2018 Feb 22]. Available from:

Reference to Original Report of Finding Maglio, S. J., & Kwok, C. Y. (2016). Anticipated ambiguity prolongs the present: Evidence of a return trip effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(11), 1415.
Title Ambiguity Prolongs the Present
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 Report
Brief Statement of Original Result Traveling to an ambiguous party felt subjectively longer (M = 4.35, SD = 1.15) than traveling to a more certain party (M = 3.11, SD = 1.33), F(1, 102) =  25.96, p <  .001.
Type of Replication Attempted Highly Direct Replication
Result Type Successful Replication
Difference? Same Direction, .00001
Number of Subjects 264
Number of Subjects in Original Study 104
Year in which Replication Attempt was Made 2016
Name of Investigators (Real Names Required) Michael O'Donnell Leif D. Nelson
Detailed Description of Method/Results This replication was pre-registered. The pre-registration document can be viewed here:

The method was adapted from the method section of Study 1 in Maglio & Kwok. To the extent that it was possible, the exact wording and instructions reported in the original paper were followed.

One slight area of ambiguity arose as to when participants were brought to mind their favorite restaurant. Because the authors report that the participants brought to mind their favorite restaurant before the ambiguity manipulation, in our replication all participants saw this text (from the original), "Your friend wants to keep the party as surprising as possible, so as you’re driving there you do not know what food will be served, how long the party will last, or who will be there." on a separate screen before advancing to the ambiguity manipulation.

Participants then proceeded to see the ambiguity manipulation. Upon reading this manipulation, they answered identical DV questions. Finally, participants indicated their age, gender, and had an opportunity to leave comments.

For the primary DV, perceived duration of the drive, we replicated the original finding. Participants in the ambiguous condition report that they believe the drive would feel longer (M = 4.36) than those in the unambiguous condition (M = 3.56) F(1, 262) = 30.54, p < .001.

For the secondary DV, self-reported familiarity with the restaurant, we also replicated the original findings. Participants in the ambiguous condition report that they are less familiar with the restaurant that was brought to mind in the ambiguous condition (5.11) than in the unambiguous condition (5.74), F(1, 262) = 12.29.

Finally, we replicated the ANCOVA analysis reported in the original paper, in which the perceived duration of the drive varies by condition, controlling for perceived familiarity. The ANCOVA results show a significant effect of ambiguity manipulation F(1, 261) = 24.91, p < .001, and for familiarity, F(1, 261) = 4.44, p = .036.
Any Known Methodological Differences
(between original and present study)?
Some uncertainty about when exactly participants brought to mind their favorite restaurant. We proceeded with our closest approximation, based on the reporting of the Method and Result in the original paper.
Email of Investigator
Name of individuals who
actually carried out the project
Michael O'Donnell ran subjects and analyzed data. Data was collected on MTurk.
Location of ProjectMTurk & Qualtrics
Characteristics of Subjects
(subject pool, paid, etc.)
Adults tested through internet
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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