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Response Surface Analysis (RSA) enables researchers to test complex psychological effects, for example, whether the congruence of two psychological constructs is associated with higher values in an outcome variable. RSA is increasingly applied in the personality and social psychological literature, but the validity of published results has been challenged by some persistent oversimplifications and misconceptions. Here, we describe the mathematical fundamentals required to interpret RSA results, and we provide a checklist for correctly identifying congruence effects. We clarify two prominent fallacies by showing that the test of a single RSA parameter cannot indicate a congruence effect, and when there is a congruence effect, RSA cannot indicate whether a predictor mismatch in one direction (e.g., overestimation of one’s intelligence) is better or worse than a mismatch in the other direction (underestimation). We hope that this contribution will further enhance the validity and strength of empirical studies that apply this powerful approach.
Humberg, S., Nestler, S., & Back, M. D. (2018). Response Surface Analysis in personality and social psychology: Checklist and clarifications for the case of congruence hypotheses. Social Psychological and Personality Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1948550618757600
Here, we provide you with additional materials to this article.
The folder "Example R-Code" contains the simulated data used in the manuscript, and example R-code that guides readers through the test of congruence effects.
The folder "OSF-Materials" contains:
- p-values and confidence intervals of the example analyses reported in the manuscript (OSF-Material A),
- a recap of the interpretation of quadratic equations (OSF-Material B),
- the proofs of mathematical statements provided in the manuscript or in the OSF materials (OSF-Materials C, E, and F),
- and information on RSA variants and more advanced response surface methodology (OSF-Material D).
GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1