Study and methods

S.-C. Chen et al. (2018) revisited the object orientation effect by conducting a large, crosslinguistic study (for materials and updates on this study, please see The design comprised the classic sentence-picture verification task, with objects matching or mismatching the orientation implied in the preceding sentence on each trial. The sample size was far larger than the average in the field. English had 1,363 participants. The other languages had a minimum of 50 and a maximum of 262 participants. This large sample size was necessary to cater to the possibility of a non-replication, which would undoubtedly raise the caveat that the sample size was insufficient. Furthermore, the study also included an individual difference that measured participants’ ability to mentally rotate objects. The inclusion of such an individual difference in the model was motivated by previous suggestions that this ability could act as a confound, by interfering with the effect of interest (S.-C. Chen et al., 2018). Such a possibility was not too remote, according to recent research that has highlighted the role of participant-specific cognitive biases (DeLuca et al., 2019; Montero-Melis, 2021).

The results were analysed using mixed-effects models. The specific approach adopted with these models was not very conservative, as random slopes were not included in the model due to their lack of significance. This contrasts with the approach we took in Study 2, by which we pursued a maximal random-effects structure to create a conservative analysis (Brauer & Curtin, 2018; Singmann & Kellen, 2019).


Brauer, M., & Curtin, J. J. (2018). Linear mixed-effects models and the analysis of nonindependent data: A unified framework to analyze categorical and continuous independent variables that vary within-subjects and/or within-items. Psychological Methods, 23(3), 389–411.
Chen, S.-C., Szabelska, A., Chartier, C. R., Kekecs, Z., Lynott, D., Bernabeu, P., Jones, B. C., DeBruine, L. M., Levitan, C., Werner, K. M., Wang, K., Milyavskaya, M., Musser, E. D., Papadatou-Pastou, M., Coles, N. A., Janssen, S., Özdoğru, A. A., Storage, D., Manley, H., … Schmidt, K. (2018). Investigating object orientation effects across 14 languages [Preprint]. PsyArXiv.
DeLuca, V., Rothman, J., Bialystok, E., & Pliatsikas, C. (2019). Redefining bilingualism as a spectrum of experiences that differentially affects brain structure and function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(15), 7565–7574.
Montero-Melis, G. (2021). Consistency in motion event encoding across languages. Frontiers in Psychology, 12(625153).
Singmann, H., & Kellen, D. (2019). An introduction to mixed models for experimental psychology. In D. H. Spieler & E. Schumacher (Eds.), New methods in cognitive psychology (pp. 4–31). Psychology Press.

  1. Please note that the preprint of S.-C. Chen et al. (2018) mentions ‘14’ languages but finally 18 languages were present in the study.↩︎

Pablo Bernabeu, 2022. Licence: CC BY 4.0.

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