The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion Call for Papers for a Special Issue

Open Science and Replication in the Psychology of Religion

The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion

The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion is now accepting manuscripts for an open-call, peer-reviewed Special Issue on “Open Science and Replication in the Psychology of Religion” to be published in 2019.

For this special issue we invite scholars to contribute a paper that is broadly related to the topic of open science and replication in association with the psychology of religion.

Potential topics could include: publication of null-results, direct replication reports, meta-analyses, opinion papers, review papers identifying the potential promises and pitfalls in the psychological study of religion or papers introducing methodological innovations.

For more information or specific requests to inquire whether a specific contribution might be suitable for this special issue, the editorial team (associated editors and editor-in-chief) can be contacted.

What is the psychological basis of supernatural beliefs? What are the evolutionary roots of human religiosity? What are the effects of belief in God on health, well-being, and prosocial behavior? Over the last decades, scholars in the field of the psychology of religion have attempted to provide an answer to these big questions. Different studies have provided fascinating insight in both the ultimate and proximate causes of religion and in the potential beneficial effects of supernatural beliefs on group bonding, cooperation, and prosociality.

However, in recent years the field of psychology has faced an important challenge: many classical findings that have had a major impact on theory development turned out to be difficult or impossible to replicate (Pashler & Wagenmakers, 2012).

This so-called replication crisis has been related to several factors such as the file-drawer problem and publication bias (i.e., positive findings are more likely to be published than null-findings), researcher bias (i.e., scientists may unintentionally influence the outcomes of a study) and the use of questionable research practices (e.g., p-hacking; exploratory analyses presented as confirmatory; removal of outliers; Simmons, Nelson, & Simonsohn, 2011).

Thereby, the replication crisis potentially threatens the credibility and validity of many findings in the field of the psychology of religion.

In response to these concerns several new research initiatives have been taken.

  • First, meta-analyses could be of help for testing the robustness and size of an effect across a large set of individual (published as well as unpublished) studies (Asendorpf et al., 2013; Cumming, 2014; Stroebe, 2016).
  • Second, the use of pre-registered replication efforts, multi-lab replication studies and adversarial collaborations, in which the original authors contribute to the design and analysis of a replication study, have been introduced (Alexander et al., 2012; Asendorpf et al., 2013; Koole & Lakens, 2012).
  • Third, methodological innovations have been made available, such as the use of Bayesian statistics compared to frequentist statistics (Verhagen & Wagenmakers, 2014; Wagenmakers, 2007) and the use of pre-registration of the hypotheses and the analysis plan on the open science framework (www.osf.io).
  • Fourth, different calls have been made to open the file-drawer of unpublished (null) findings, which could in turn better inform meta-analytic results.

At the International Journal of the Psychology of Religion we welcome these new developments and we recently launched the option to apply for open science badges when submitting a paper to our journal (van Elk, Rowatt & Streib, 2018). In addition, we will organize a special issue on Open Science and Replication in the Psychology of Religion.

We feel that drawing attention to replication and open science is an important development, especially in the field of the Psychology of Religion.

The topic of religion is notoriously difficult to study in a rigorous manner, given the conceptual problems surrounding the definition of religion and the fact that it often entails peoples’ long-held views and belief-systems. For instance, in many of our studies we rely on self-report data from multiple questionnaires, which poses a lot of problems regarding the correct analysis and interpretation of the data.

Raising awareness of these difficulties might lead to a better design and evaluation of future studies that will be conducted.

Submission Details

Manuscripts should be compatible with IJPR's aim to publish high-quality psychological studies of religious processes and phenomena in all world religious traditions. 

For more information or specific requests to inquire whether a specific contribution might be suitable for this special issue, the editorial team (associated editors and editor-in-chief) can be contacted.

To submit a manuscript, or for additional information about the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, please visit here

Deadline: 31st December 2018