Failure to replicate the Mehta and Zhu (2009) color-priming effect on anagram solution times
Mehta and Zhu (Science, 323, 1226–1229, 2009) hypothesized that the color red induces avoidance motivation and that the color blue induces approach motivation. In one experiment, they reported that anagrams of avoidance motivation words were solved more quickly on red backgrounds and that approach motivation anagrams were solved more quickly on blue backgrounds. Reported here is a direct replication of that experiment, using the same anagrams, instructions, and colors, with more than triple the number of participants used in the original study. The results did not show the Mehta and Zhu color-priming effects, even though statistical power was sufficient to detect the effect. The results call into question the existence of their color-priming effect on the solution of anagrams.
KeywordsColor Priming Approach Avoidance Motivation Anagram
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