Replication Studies third round: repetition of important research

17 March 2020

For the third time, NWO is funding projects so that the research of others can be repeated. This time it concerns seven studies covering the area of the social sciences, humanities and health research and healthcare innovation.

keys on hooks

By funding replication NWO wants to contribute to increasing the transparency of research and the quality of how results are reported. The funding instrument aims at cornerstone research that in the past formed the basis for follow-up research or have assumed an important place in education, policy-making or the public debate.

The projects are being funded by the NWO pilot programme Replication Studies. This pilot, a collaboration with ZonMw, covers the area of the social sciences, humanities and health research and healthcare innovation. The pilot programme must yield insight into an effective way to finance replication. From an international perspective, NWO is a trailblazer with this pilot programme.

In the second round, 41 proposals were submitted and 7 of these were awarded funding.

A total of 3 million euros was available for three funding rounds. This was the third round of the pilot programme. The programme will now be evaluated. The evaluation committee will recommend ways to finance replication in the future.

The 7 projects awarded funding, in order of the surname of the researcher, are briefly described below:

Influenza Infection and acute myocardial infarction
Dr. P.C.J.L. Bruijning-Verhagen, Utrecht University
This project investigates the possible role of a flu infection in causing ischemic problems, such as heart attacks. A Canadian study showed that a flu infection can lead to an increased risk of a heart attack. In this replication, the researchers analyse this connection in the Netherlands.

A whiff of trust? An attempt to replicate the effect of oxytocin on interpersonal trust
Dr. D.M.J. Hernaus, Maastricht University
In this project, the robustness of claims about the effect of oxytocine on trust will be investigated. The researchers will replicate the study by Kosfeld et al from 2005 that showed this effect, and that has influenced science and clinical practice. Recent studies have raised doubts about the effect. The results of the replication will either provide further support for oxytocin’s role specifically in interpersonal trust or warrant more research into oxytocin’s mechanisms of action, if the researchers do not replicate the original findings.

Can humans detect a single photon?
Dr. Y. Pinto, University of Amsterdam
This study is a replication of the study by Tinsley and colleagues that suggests that humans are able to detect a single photon. The researchers will directly replicate the study to find out if humans can indeed perceive single photons, in the setting used by Tinsley et al., and if this provides the required "extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims".

How effective is adaptive instruction? A replication of the seminal study of Wood et al. (1978)
Dr. J.E. van de Pol, Utrecht University
This project will replicate a study from 1978 into adaptive instruction. The study has been very influential, in psychological and educational research, but also impacts practice. The sample size was very small, however, and the study has never been replicated. The researchers will repeat the study with a larger sample and hope to yield more certainty about the effect of this fundamental instructional principle.

Stress promotes habit behaviour in humans: A balancing act
Prof. T. Smeets, Tilburg University
In this project research by Schwabe and Wolf will replicated, that showed that acute stress made behaviour more habitual. The original research is frequently cited, but research using alternative protocols have not been able to find the same effect. With an exact replication of the original studies, the researchers hope to shed more light on this.

(Re)counting the uncounted. Replication and Contextualisation of Dutch and Belgian Premodern Population Estimates (1350-1800)
Dr. R. Stapel, International Institute of Social History
This project will replicate the four most used and most up-to-date population estimates for the Low Countries  for the period prior to 1800. Dependable population estimates for this period is the cornerstone of historical, economic, and social scientific research. In this study, the researchers will return to the original primary sources underlying these estimations.

66 days to form a habit?
Dr. S. de Wit, University of Amsterdam
This study is a replication of the research by Lally et al. from 2010 into the time it takes for habits to form. The study by Lally et al. has been very influential, in science and in the media. The finding of median 66 days it took to form a new habit is often cited. The study will be replicated in four locations, on a larger sample, and the researchers hope to gain insight into how habits are formed.

More information

Visit the programme page

Source: NWO


Science area

Social Sciences and Humanities Medical Sciences


Replication Studies


Curiosity driven research and talent (2015-2018)


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