Living #105 | Many Co-Authors
Paper #105

Gino, F; Desai, SD (2012) 'Memory Lane And Morality: How Childhood Memories Promote Prosocial Behavior' , Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology  

This page contains a summary table for data provenance for all studies in this paper. In addition, authors can share with readers information on why they decided to retract or not retract, plans and/or results for replication efforts, reflections on the process, or anything at all they feel is relevant. They may revise the information provided as often as desired, and each author is free to present a message of their own, though authors are encouraged to speak in one voice.

Aggregate responses

Gino involved in data collection?
Co-authors have/had raw data?
Data for reproducing results available?
Experiment 1 Yes (1)
No (1)
No (1)
Experiment 2 Yes (1)
No (1)
No (1)
Experiment 3 Yes (1)
No (1)
No (1)
Experiment 4 Yes (1)
No (1)
No (1)
Experiment 5 Yes (1)
No (1)
No (1)

Individual Responses

Sreedhari Desai
Gino involved in data collection? Co-authors have/had raw data? Data for reproducing results available?
Experiment 1YesNeverNo
Experiment 2YesNeverNo
Experiment 3YesNeverNo
Experiment 4YesNeverNo
Experiment 5YesNeverNo

Below is a message written by author(s) of this paper. Keep in mind it may be modified at any time.
Written by: Sreedhari Desai
Last update: 2024-01-16


I am currently in the process of attempting to obtain access to the raw data used in the only paper I ever published with Dr. Gino. For more detailed information on my efforts and the context surrounding this data quest, I invite you to refer to the series of emails I have sent on this subject. To err on the right side of the law and ensure individual privacy, I must clarify that I don’t consider myself at liberty yet to share the specific responses I've received from the respective authorities, nor can I disclose any information about those I’ve reached out to. Nonetheless, I hope you can read between the lines as needed. Posting my redacted emails aligns with the provisions of the North Carolina Public Records Act, N.C.G.S. Chapter 132. When the time ripens to dish out fresh updates, I intend to spill the beans in this very spot. However, if you're planning to perch on the edge of your seat, lungs full of eager anticipation, do keep a brown paper bag handy for any hyperventilation hazards, and have a party horn at the ready for tooting. We could be buckling up for a marathon, not a sprint, given the leisurely jog of current events!

For those doctoral students or researchers who are too swamped to endure the long march of admin paperwork or who are just on the prowl for a replication scoop (or perhaps a coffee-laden diversion), you may be interested in a paper I came across. An intrepid trio of researchers (Mariola Laguna, Michał Kȩdra, and Zofia Mazur-Socha--whom I've never met) embarked on a quest to probe a possible intervention to boost prosocial behavior using a randomized controlled trial. In the experimental condition, participants were asked to think about three acts of kindness they could do the other day (such as sharing a meal or assisting a sibling). Every evening, they planned three altruistic actions for the next day and detailed them. The following day, they reflected on their success and noted their feelings and thoughts. In the placebo or control group, termed the Childhood Memories Condition by the authors, participants were introduced to the concept of childhood memories, citing examples like playing with friends or watching cartoons. They were then tasked daily to recount and document three early childhood memories with precision. Guess what? While their main intervention didn't quite hit the prosocial mark, it was the unsuspecting placebo group—participants nostalgically reminiscing about their childhood memories—that stood out with a significant boost to help others, supporting Gino and Desai (2012). Dive nose-first into Laguna, Kedra, and Mazur-Socha's (2021) findings here:


In the academic echo chamber, a dissertation from CUNY (courtesy of Teodora Szabo-Douat--whom I've never met) has findings that align with Gino and Desai (2012). The thesis investigates the influence of childhood memory recall on the propensity to lend personal items to others. It has been found that such reminiscences can significantly enhance the likelihood of sharing possessions, particularly among individuals who are characteristically less inclined towards rebelliousness. Knock yourself out by reading this dissertation here:


A fresh piece of scholarly work (by Hong Im Shin--whom I've never met) has tipped its hat to the findings of Gino and Desai (2012), but it comes wrapped in the enigmatic embrace of the Korean language, giving monolingual English speakers a run for their money. Fortunately, the researchers threw us a lifeline with an English abstract. Apparently, in the initial experiment, participants prompted to reflect on childhood memories displayed a greater propensity for prosocial behavior compared to those who recounted routine recent events. This condition also saw an enhanced activation of moral purity. The subsequent study revealed a nuanced finding: participants recalling childhood experiences in a concrete manner showed less prosocial motivation than those who processed their memories at an abstract level, which involved recounting and elaborating on past virtuous acts. You can read more about this paper here:



On a more serious note, echoing what I've previously stated, here's a compilation of some emails for the tenacious few willing to trawl through. It is probable that only those resonating with my dismay at the field's direction will muster the courage for this seemingly quixotic quest. Why go to the lengths of showcasing these "pointless" emails and potentially ruffle the feathers of some bigwigs? Delve in, read between the lines, and judge for yourself! 


From: Desai, Sreedhari
Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2023 8:19 PM
To: C <*>; **; **, **, **
Subject: Pending Clarification Regarding Joint Publication with Francesca


Dear C, **, **, **, and **,


I trust this message finds you well.


I am writing to bring to your attention a concerning development that has arisen, which could potentially impact a publication to which I am linked. Please find the full story detailed at the following link:


When I was a student, I had the privilege of contributing to a paper led by Francesca who was an Assistant Professor at UNC at the time. The paper was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP) in 2012. As evidenced by our email exchanges, Francesca was responsible for the collection of all the data utilized in our research.


In light of recent allegations of research misconduct involving Francesca, I understand the potential ramifications this may have on the validity and reliability of this paper, and I am fully committed to understanding the situation further and doing the needful.


Please note that a report from the Harvard Business School (HBS) regarding the nature and extent of this misconduct is currently pending. Once it is published, I anticipate it will shed more light on the situation and help me make a more informed decision about the appropriate steps to take.


I assure you that I will keep you updated with any new information that emerges as this unfortunate situation unfolds.


Thank you for your understanding and sharing any counsel/information during this time.


Best regards,




From: Desai, Sreedhari <>
Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2023 10:14 AM
To: C <*>
Subject: Re:


Dear C,


I am writing to express my gratitude for your willingness to assist me in resolving a matter of data ownership and access rights. The situation relates to data initially collected by my colleague, Francesca Gino, using the Qualtrics platform during the academic years of 2009-10 and 2010-11, while she was affiliated with the University of North Carolina (UNC) as an Assistant Professor.


This data subsequently contributed to a paper we co-authored, which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP) in 2012 (Experiments 1, 2, 3, & 5 in the paper). Since the Qualtrics account used to collect this data was funded by UNC, it is my understanding that the university, in its capacity as the Qualtrics license subscriber, owns all rights and interests in any survey responses, reports, and all other information generated by or on behalf of the subscriber in relation to the Qualtrics service and data.


In essence, UNC holds the ownership of the data for my 2012 JPSP paper. As a current employee of UNC, I am seeking to clarify whether I can request Qualtrics to retrieve this information and share it with me. According to Clause 5 of the Qualtrics Master Services Agreement, UNC holds the ultimate responsibility for the accuracy, integrity, legality, and appropriateness of the data, along with its intellectual property ownership or right to use, it is likely that any potential liability might fall on UNC's shoulders.


To gain a clearer understanding of these matters, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss the issue with UNC's legal counsel. Your assistance in facilitating this meeting would be invaluable.


Thank you so much for your assistance in this matter.


Best regards,




Dr. Sreedhari Desai (she/her/hers)

Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior


Senior ***
University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

September 20, 2023

Re: Access Request to Data Collected via UNC's Qualtrics Subscription during 2009-10, 2010-11 & 2011-12 Academic Years

Dear A,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to re-emphasize the matter we discussed in our virtual meeting on August 8, 2023, regarding the access to data collected by Dr. Francesca Gino during the academic years of 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12 using UNC's Qualtrics Subscription.

Dr. Gino was employed as a Permanent Full time Assistant Professor (9-month appointment) on tenure track from 07-01-2008 to 06-30-10 in UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School when these data were collected.

As I shared in our last meeting, Dr. Gino continued to collect data at UNC even after her departure, notwithstanding her access to the Behavioral Research Lab at HBS (previously known as CLER). To enable this data collection at UNC, it's my understanding that either Dr. F or the then laboratory manager, Ms. J, might have been designated as the Principal Investigators on the studies’ IRB applications. Given that these studies were exclusively conducted at UNC, overseen by UNC's IRB, relying on either the paid or student subject pools, it stands to reason – and legality – that UNC should have rightful access to the data from those studies.

The data that Dr. Gino collected played a pivotal role in our co-authored paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP) in 2012, specifically in Experiments 1, 2, 3, & 5. Interestingly, while Experiment 4 of the paper utilized a U.S.-representative online pool via Qualtrics, it remains ambiguous whether it was collected using Dr. Gino's Qualtrics account associated with HBS or UNC. For your convenience, I've provided the full citation for the article: Gino, F., & Desai, S.D. (2012). Memory lane and morality: How childhood memories promote prosocial behavior. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 102(4), 743-758.

I understand from our previous discussions, including my virtual meeting with Ms. S, Associate University Counsel, on July 28, 2023, that there are complexities surrounding the data ownership, rights, and liabilities based on the Qualtrics Master Services Agreement and UNC's capacity as the license subscriber.

I valued the caution you advised during our meeting, underscoring the need to comprehend the multifaceted issues before delving deeper with the IRB, interacting with Qualtrics representatives, and liaising with the Harvard Qualtrics ambassador. While I fully respect and understand the necessity of a detailed examination, the urgency of the situation cannot be understated. This isn't just about the authenticity of the results presented in the paper co-authored with Dr. Gino; it's also deeply intertwined with my responsibility as a scholar as well as my professional reputation.

To provide context, when I collaborated with Dr. Gino on this project, I was a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah. At that juncture, I placed unwavering trust in the integrity of Dr. Gino’s analyses and the data quality. I had no reason to question someone with credentials such as a postdoc from Harvard, a visiting Assistant Professorship at Carnegie Mellon, a best paper award from the Conflict Management Division of the Academy of Management, and an affiliation with one of the USA's premier public universities, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Given recent concerns surrounding potential data irregularities in several of Dr. Gino's collaborative works with distinguished individuals, it's only natural that doubts about the reliability of all her publications—including ours—are emerging. Regrettably, without access to the primary data (which, for clarity, was never shared with me by Francesca, nor were the original Qualtrics surveys), I am left in a precarious position. I cannot ascertain the validity of our paper's findings, nor can I responsibly approach the journal with concerns about potential retraction without potentially exposing myself to legal repercussions. Fate, however, has led me to be currently affiliated with UNC, the very institution holding the key to the data in question. It is in my capacity as a UNC employee and a coauthor of the publication that I now seek this data access.

Although I sent a follow-up email on August 31, 2023, seeking an update on the status of this request, I have yet to receive a response. I understand that such matters can be time-consuming; however, it is imperative that UNC takes timely and appropriate steps to acquire access to this data and share it with me.

I genuinely appreciate your efforts and those of Ms. S in this matter. However, given the urgency of the situation, I kindly urge you to expedite the process and keep me informed of any developments.

Thank you for your attention and understanding, and I remain hopeful for a positive resolution soon. Please let me know if further discussions or meetings are required, and I will make myself available at your convenience.



Dr. Sreedhari Desai (she/her/hers)

Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior


P.S. For the sake of clarity and legal prudence, I am not suggesting any misconduct by Dr. Gino. My sole intention is to seek transparency regarding the data referenced in Gino & Desai (2012).



From: Desai, Sreedhari <>
Sent: Monday, September 25, 2023 10:20 AM
To: A (VC) <*>

Subject: Re: Request for an update


Dear A,


Thank you for your response and for highlighting the University's stance and the intricacies of the situation. I truly value the time and effort you’ve invested in addressing each facet of this matter.

Recognizing the University’s adherence to federal regulations, contractual obligations, and overarching academic integrity, I am wholeheartedly committed to aligning any subsequent actions with these guiding principles.


From the insights you've provided, I am inclined to seek an objective review from the Research Integrity Officer (RIO). This course seems judicious, safeguarding research integrity and addressing the concerns I've voiced about the publication.


However, I'd like some further clarity:

  1. RIO's Capacity: Is the RIO an individual entity, namely E, or does it refer to an entire dedicated office?
  2. Expertise Matching: Given that our data revolves around social psychological research and noting that UNC’s RIO's primary background is in d*, how do you envision equipping h-- effectively? Navigating Qualtrics to access relevant data might be relatively straightforward (or not, assuming the study was a part of bundled studies) but accurately replicating the analyses published in the paper demand specialized skills. Will E or h-- team undergo targeted training, or will there be an expert committee aiding h--? If it's the latter, how would we address the IRB stipulations regarding data access exclusivity to PIs? Would anonymizing the data be a preliminary step? I’m keen on understanding the framework envisioned for this procedure.
  3. Clarifying the Investigative Focus: Considering Dr. Francesca Gino's external affiliation, I'm apprehensive about potential misinterpretations concerning the investigation's focus. It's imperative that the final report’s preamble explicitly state that the focus isn't on my actions but on the concerns raised broadly in the field of Organizational Behavior and Social Psychology on any data collected in the past by Dr. Gino.
  4. Timelines and Updates: Recognizing the gravity of this situation, I’d like to ensure its prompt handling. Could you please provide an expected timeframe for the RIO's report completion? In addition, I'd appreciate monthly progress updates being shared with me and the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty & Research (currently, Dr. C) at the Kenan-Flagler Business School.
  5. Additional IRB Insights: For the RIO's assistance, I'd like to point out that while the initial studies might have been under Dr. Francesca Gino's IRB approval, the subsequent studies, post her transition to Harvard, likely fell under Dr. F. This assumption is based on the draft IRB submission shared with me by the former lab manager this summer.

I'm grateful for your unwavering commitment to ensuring this matter is dealt with judiciously and transparently.


Warm regards,



Dr. Sreedhari Desai (she/her/hers)

Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior


From: Desai, Sreedhari <>
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2023 1:59 PM
To: E  <*>
Subject: Re: Request for an update



Hi E,

I trust you're doing well. I'm reaching out to follow up on the data procurement related to my JPSP (2012) paper with Dr. Francesca Gino. As per my discussion with the Qualtrics ambassador for Kenan-Flagler on July 10, 2023, it seems KFBS's Qualtrics contract falls under the main campus agreement, likely through the Howard W Odum Institute for Research in Social Science. Could you provide any updates or progress on this matter? Thank you.





Dr. Sreedhari Desai (she/her/hers)

Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior


From: Desai, Sreedhari <>
Sent: Friday, November 3, 2023 12:29 PM
To: FG < >; <>
Subject: Request for Collaborative Data Access and Clarification on Author Contributions


Dear Francesca,


I trust you're in good health and spirits.


I'm reaching out to revisit my request from June 19, 2023, for the dataset from our 2012 collaborative publication in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:


Gino, F., & Desai, S. D. "Memory lane and morality: How childhood memories promote prosocial behavior," 102(4), 734-758.


As you know, a significant period has elapsed since our work was first published, and while I am cognizant of the potential difficulty this presents in retrieving past data, the need to address recent inquiries regarding the data’s integrity has become pressing. I must express that despite my independent attempts to locate the dataset through alternative avenues, I have reached an impasse. Your assistance in this matter has thus become crucial, and I cannot overstate the importance of your support at this juncture.


For your convenience, I have detailed the cohorts involved in our study to facilitate the location of the relevant data:

  • Study 1: 113 undergraduates from a southeastern U.S. university, 58 females, average age 20.53 (SD = 2.07), participated for partial course credit.
  • Study 2: 87 undergraduates, 44 females, from southeastern U.S. universities, average age 20.89 (SD = 1.85), compensated $12 each.
  • Study 3: 101 students and staff, 42 males, from a southeastern U.S. university, average age 23.82 (SD = 7.92), engaged in a 30-minute lab study for $6.
  • Study 4: 120 adults, 72 females, average age 44.12 (SD = 14.87), recruited online and paid $4, 41% of whom were parents.
  • Study 5: 109 students and staff, 47 females, from southeastern U.S. universities, average age 23.58 (SD = 4.48), each compensated $6.

Your prompt attention to and action on this data request would be deeply appreciated, as it not only affects our joint publication but also the integrity and veracity of the broader research narrative in our field.


On a related note, I must bring to your attention the project initiated by Dr. Max Bazerman, Dr. Julia Minson, Dr. Don Moore, Dr. Juliana Schroeder, Dr. Maurice Schweitzer, and Dr. Uri Simonsohn which aims to detail the specific contributions of coauthors in academic research. As you have not been approached directly to participate, I find it imperative to ensure that your voice and version of our collaboration are accurately represented. Therefore, I am sharing my draft responses regarding your contributions with you for your review to maintain the clarity and fairness of this discourse. I welcome any feedback you may have to align our accounts suitably.


I regret any inconvenience my request may impose. However, I trust you understand the gravity of the situation and the value your cooperation holds in resolving these concerns.


Thank you for your anticipated assistance.


Best regards,





From: Francesca Gino <>
Sent: Sunday, November 5, 2023 6:33 PM
To: Desai, Sreedhari <>
Subject: Re: Request for Collaborative Data Access and Clarification on Author Contributions



You don't often get email from Learn why this is important


Thank you, Sreedhari, for this note.


I don’t have any reason to believe the data of this 2012 paper is compromised or has anomalies. If you do, please let me know.


More broadly, I been wrongly accused of research misconduct, and I am committed to proving my innocence.


As to the multi co-authors project, I decided not to participate because I have deep reservations with the way the project was structured.


Unfortunately, at the moment, I am held to different standards as compared to other scholars. When collaborators conduct audits of papers co-authored with me, even if no anomalies have been detected, other scholars still raise questions about the data. I am concerned about biased forensics, opening me up to further risk of people jumping to conclusions that are wrong.


Even if audits found no issues, scholars still ask for the same study to be replicated, simply because I was involved in the paper.


As I wrote to my collaborators, I hope to audit all my papers, and doing so with unbiased help. I am constrained now, as I don’t have access to a research budget, nor to records that I requested from HBS and that HBS failed to share with me to conduct a comprehensive audit. I believe I will have access to such records at the time of discovery.


I appreciate your patience as the litigation continues.





Having come this far, I'd like to present three final reflections:

A. Fairness and Transparency: Dr. Gino's statement indicates that she wasn't offered an opportunity to contribute her viewpoint on this page, particularly to confirm or refute data collection details from the published studies. Denying her this chance compromises the principle of procedural fairness (Leventhal, 1980). Without her input, there's an implication that I could misrepresent the truth about who gathered the data. It's essential to give Dr. Gino a platform to voice her side, her own website notwithstanding. [Update: Based on some changes to the introduction of this website, it seems Dr. Gino has been invited to participate by submitting an Excel sheet.]

B. Auditor Independence: I greatly admire Dr. Max Bazerman, one of the founders of this page. He has articulately discussed the inherent challenges of achieving true auditor independence (e.g., Bazerman, 1982; Bazerman, Morgan, & Lowenstein, 1997) . In light of this, I concur with some EJMR critiques that expecting Dr. Gino's co-authors, myself included, to self-audit is impractical.

C. Collaborative Effort: As I mentioned in correspondence with Dr. Leif Nelson (June 20, 2023), "During our initial submission, Francesca utilized pre-existing data. However, post the feedback from the editorial team, she undertook additional studies to address the reviewers' insights. Given my status as a junior co-author, coupled with personal challenges arising from hyperemesis gravidarum during my pregnancy, I felt a profound sense of gratitude for Francesca's unwavering commitment and immense contribution to our work." Francesca's compassion and dedication were unparalleled, something not always evident among other professionals in our discipline.


And one final note to EJMRs: let's keep the trolling to a minimum – spread love, not memes!






From: E (VC for Res) <*>
Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2023 10:56 AM
To: Desai, Sreedhari <>
A (VC for Res) <*>; David  <*>
Subject: Re: Request for an update


Hello Sreedhari,


I have done my best to try to track down any relevant data, but have not been successful.

G (CIO, KFBS) mentioned the role of J (former lab manager), so I reached out to her through her business contact. She left UNC ~9 years ago. Have not received a response.


There does not appear to be any Qualtrics legacy data at UNC.


Perhaps your only recourse is to contact Francesca Gino, let her know of your concerns and ask if she would provide you with the data used for your paper.






NOTE: In my view, a perplexing discrepancy has emerged. Despite the above assertion that no data exists, evidence from some IT members (shared on 6/30/2023) contradicts this claim. During my initial attempts to locate the data, they disclosed that data was indeed collected by FG through various accounts (linked to her name, linked to a generic account set up for the lab manager, linked to a former undergraduate Research Assistant), and that UNC has access to the generic account. This contradiction raises significant questions about the completeness of the investigation or the accuracy of the statement issued to me on 10/31/2023. For some evidence supporting this claim, please refer to this link: Note that the names/studies of PhD students and other UNC entities that had asked the lab manager to create studies which did not involve partnership with Gino have been blacked out.

Additionally, I want to mention that I reached out to Qualtrics directly as well, and after a few emails, here was their final response.

From: R <*>
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2023 10:23 AM
To: Desai, Sreedhari <>
Subject: Re: Request for Guidance on Data Access from Qualtrics



You don't often get email from Learn why this is important


Dear Dr. Sreedhari


I hope you are well. I wanted to follow up on your query with further guidance. 


You're correct in that the entity that signs the Master Services Agreement and relevant order forms is the owner and controller of the data collected using the Qualtrics services. 


When setting up a license, a customer needs to select the Brand Administrator(s), who administer the license on behalf of UNC. The Brand Administrator has access to all data collected by all users across the brand and will also determine who is provided user-access. I can see that your user account is not a Brand Administrator account. The best next step is to reach out to your Brand Administrator who will be able to assist in identifying whether the original user account and data still exist within the brand. If you are not sure who your brand administrator is, then you can follow the instructions here.


The easiest way to locate the data is to search for the survey. If you know the survey ID that should assist the brand administrator in locating the survey and the relevant data. 


If your brand administrator is having any issues locating the data, they can reach out to our support team who would be more than happy to assist. I've linked to the support page here


Please let me know if you require any further assistance. 


Kind regards,