Revisiting non-significant effects of intranasal oxytocin using equivalence tests  /

Revisiting non-significant effects of intranasal oxytocin using equivalence tests

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Description: The effects of intranasal oxytocin on social cognition are mixed, with several non-significant reports casting some doubts on the efficacy of intranasal oxytocin. Nevertheless, drawing inferences from non-significant values is problematic as non-significant results can be indicative of either statistical equivalence or insensitive data. Equivalence tests can be used to assess evidence for statistical equivalence, which can consequently facilitate theory falsification. To improve the inference of non-significant NHST p-values, this paper reports a set of equivalence tests performed on data from a recent meta-analysis summarizing 43 intranasal oxytocin studies. Data from 26.1% of non-significant meta-analytic effects were indicative of data insensitivity, rather than statistical equivalence. Equivalence tests were also performed on a set of previously unpublished data from one laboratory, to examine whether unpublished data yields similar outcomes. Of the 34 non-significant effects, 73.5% were due to data insensitivity. Altogether, these analyses illustrate how non-significant intranasal oxytocin results may not necessarily support a null effect. Implementing equivalence tests in oxytocin studies can facilitate theory falsification, which can advance the field by directing resources to more promising avenues of research.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

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