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Can the lack of main effect have the same underlying cause as the lack of interaction in 2-way ANOVA?

My results failed to reach significance for variables of gender and language. Is it possible that a confounding variable which affected language (and thus made it impossible for main effect of language to reach significance) has influenced the interaction in the same way? Or am I being lazy and not analysing my design deeply enough?

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Your intuition is correct; there is a link between main and interaction effects.

"For example, it's possible to have a non-significant interaction that is still substantial enough to make it look like you have main effects when you don't have main effects."

How to interpret main effects when the interaction effect is not significant?

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