(1) Overview

Collection date(s)



We wanted an experiment arriving at a necessarily false finding. We settled for age based on self-reported birthday as that would seem impossible to move around even through measurement error.

(2) Methods


The Wharton school has a behavioral lab where people are paid for participating. They usually complete several studies in a single session and get paid a flat fee plus additional revenue some experiments within the session may include.

More specific demographics are included in the data themselves.

Given the light nature of the study we did not monitor incomplete submissions, so do not know if people started and did not complete, but this seldom if ever happens in this lab.


In both experiments people listened to one of three music files. The song “Kalimba” by Mr. Scrub which comes free with the Windows 7 operating system, the song “Hot Potato” by the Australian band The Wiggles, and “When I am 64” by the Beatles. Copyright restrictions do not make it possible to post those songs here.

The questions were posted on Qualtrics (an online survey provider), after participants listened to the song with headphones they proceeded to answer all questions.


See above.

Quality control

None, given the setting.

Ethical issues

The study followed the ethical standards by the American Psychological Association. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Wharton School. There are no personal identifiers in the data beyond age and parents’ age, insufficient to identify people.

(3) Dataset description

Object name


  • Study 1.txt
  • Study 2.txt
  • Codebook.txt


  • Post Data - False Positive Psychology.xlsx

Data type

Raw data file

Format names and versions

Both in .txt with a .txt codebook, and a self-contained Excel Workbook file (xlsx).

Data collectors

Paid staff at the lab.





Publication date

13 January 2014

(4) Reuse potential

Data from this highly-cited paper are especially useful for educational purposes (teaching of statistics) as well as for future research concerned with various statistical approaches.