Imperial College London


Business School

Junior Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 2683s.otner




288aBusiness School BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

4 results found

Otner S, Landy J, Jia, Ding I, Viganola D, Tierney W, Dreber A, Johanneson M, Pfeiffer T, Ebersole C, Gronau Q, Ly A, van den Bergh D, Marsman M, Derks K, Wagenmakers E-Jet al., Crowdsourcing hypothesis tests: Making transparent how design choices shape research results, Psychological Bulletin, ISSN: 0033-2909

To what extent are research results influenced by subjective decisions that scientists make as they design studies? Fifteen research teams independently designed studies to answer five original research questions related to moral judgments, negotiations, and implicit cognition. Participants from two separate large samples (total N > 15,000) were then randomly assigned to complete one version of each study. Effect sizes varied dramatically across different sets of materials designed to test the same hypothesis: materials from different teams rendered statistically significant effects in opposite directions for four out of five hypotheses, with the narrowest range in estimates being d = -0.37 to +0.26. Meta-analysis and a Bayesian perspective on the results revealed overall support for two hypotheses, and a lack of support for three hypotheses. Overall, practically none of the variability in effect sizes was attributable tothe skill of the research team in designing materials, while considerable variability was attributable to the hypothesis being tested. In a forecasting survey, predictions of other scientists were significantly correlated with study results, both across and within hypotheses. Crowdsourced testing of research hypotheses helps reveal the true consistency of empirical support for a scientific claim.

Journal article

Otner SMG, 2018, Older, but wiser? “The Matthew Effect” at 50: introduction to the Dialog, Journal of Management Inquiry, Vol: 27, Pages: 359-361, ISSN: 1056-4926

Merton’s famous essay on recognition and rewards in scientific careers, “The Matthew Effect in Science”, has reached middleage. This Dialog reflects on established research that separates the origins and the consequences of status, and recentcontributions regarding the constraints of status advantages. In doing so, this collection responds to a growing scholarlydebate about the returns to high status. The authors engage with Merton’s cumulative status advantage, and go further toidentify downsides of increased recognition both for individuals and for the status system itself. The six articles in this Dialogevaluate the progress made towards Merton’s proposed research agenda and highlight opportunities for its extension.

Journal article

Otner SMG, 2018, Near-winners in status competitions: neglected sources of dynamism in theMatthew effect, Journal of Management Inquiry, Vol: 27, Pages: 374-377, ISSN: 1056-4926

Current research on status hierarchy dynamics focuses on the potential for, and constraints to, individual mobility. Inthis essay, I argue that Merton’s Matthew Effect incorrectly categorizes activity below a status threshold as linear. Thismisspecification calls into question existing models of competitions for social status. I argue for an improved theory of statustournaments as asymmetric, non-binary, and agentic. Through that new perspective, I raise questions for the legitimacy andpower of stratifying institutions.

Journal article

Betancourt N, Kovacs B, Otner SMG, 2018, The perception of status: How we infer the status of others from their social relationships, Network Science, Vol: 6, Pages: 319-347, ISSN: 2050-1242

This paper investigates how we infer the status of others from their social relationships. In a series of experimental studies, we test the effects of a social relationship’s type and direction on the status judgments of others. We demonstrate empirically, possibly for the first time, a widely assumed connection between network structure and perceptions of status; that is, that observers do infer the status positions of group members from their relationships. Moreover, we find that observers’ status judgments vary with the direction and type of social relationship. We theorize that underlying this variance in status judgments are two relational schemas which differentially influence the processing of the observed social ties. Our finding that only the linear-ordering schema leads to status inferences provides an important scope condition to prior research on network cognition, and specifically on the perceptions of social status.

Journal article

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