Finkel, Rusbult, Kumashiro, and Hannon (2002, Study 1) demonstrated a causal link between subjective commitment to a relationship and how people responded to hypothetical betrayals of that relationship. Participants primed to think about their commitment to their partner (high commitment) reacted to the betrayals with reduced exit and neglect responses relative to those primed to think about their independence from their partner (low commitment). The priming manipulation did not affect constructive voice and loyalty responses. Although other studies have demonstrated a correlation between subjective commitment and responses to betrayal, this study provides the only experimental evidence that inducing changes to subjective commitment can causally affect forgiveness responses. This Registered Replication Report (RRR) meta-analytically combines the results of 16 new direct replications of the original study, all of which followed a standardized, vetted, and preregistered protocol. The results showed little effect of the priming manipulation on the forgiveness outcome measures, but it also did not observe an effect of priming on subjective commitment, so the manipulation did not work as it had in the original study. We discuss possible explanations for the discrepancy between the findings from this RRR and the original study.
Citation: Cheung, I., Campbell, L., LeBel, E.,… Houdek, P.,… Vranka, M.,… Yong, J. C. (2016). Registered replication report: Study 1 from Finkel, Rusbult, Kumashiro, & Hannon (2002). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11(5), 750-764. doi: 10.1177/1745691616664694