Thursday, June 21, 2018

Pew Research's Quiz: How well can you tell factual from opinion statements?

Pew Research created a survey that asks participants to identify news statements as opinions or facts. They had 5000+ complete this survey AND you can complete the survey and see your results. 

Description of quiz AND research methodology!


An example question from the survey. This one made me think of Ron Swanson.


How to use in Stats/RM:

1. A good way of introducing the truism "The plural of anecdote isn't data.". Facts and opinions aren't always the same thing, and distinguishing between the two is key to scientific thinking. Ask your student think of of objective data that could prove or disprove these statements. Get them thinking like researchers, developing hypotheses AND operationalizing those hypotheses.

2. At the end of the quiz, they describe your score in terms of percentiles. Specifically, in terms of the percentages of users who scored above and below you on the quiz items.



3. You can also access Pew's report of their survey findings, which further divide up research participants (by political party, by self-reported trust in the news, by self-reported interest in the news, etc.).


Monday, June 11, 2018

Chi-square example via dancing, empathetic babies

Don't you love it when research backs up you lifestyle? My kids LOVE dancing. We have been able to get both kids hooked on OK GO and Queen and Metallica. The big kid's favorite song is "Tell Me Something Good" by Chaka Khan and the little kid prefer's "Master of Puppets". We all like to dance together.

My kids, husband, and sister dancing.


Now, research suggests that our big, loud group activity may increase empathy in our kids.

NPR summarized Dr. Laura Cirelli's research looking at 14 m.o.'s and whether they 1) helped or 2) did not help a stranger who either 1) danced in sync with them or 2) danced, but not in sync, with the child. She found (in multiple studies) that kids offer more assistance after they danced in sync with an adult. 

How to use in class:

1) Here is fake chi-square, test of independence, data you can use in class. It IS NOT the data from the research but mimics the findings of the research. "Synced?" refers to whether or not the baby and adult danced in sync, and "Helped?" refers to whether or not the baby offered assistance to their dance partner.

Synced? Helped?
Yes Yes
Yes Yes
Yes Yes
Yes Yes
Yes Yes
Yes Yes
Yes No
Yes Yes
Yes Yes
Yes No
Yes No
Yes Yes
Yes Yes
Yes Yes
Yes Yes
Yes No
Yes Yes
Yes No
Yes Yes
Yes No
No No
No No
No No
No No
No No
No No
No Yes
No Yes
No No
No No
No No
No No
No Yes
No No
No No
No No
No Yes
No No
No Yes
No Yes
No No

2. This is a good example for developmental psychology. We can't ask babies to describe, via Likert-type scale, how much empathy they feel towards a stranger. But we can observe whether or no they offer aid to a stranger.

3. This is also a good example for social psychology and the power of mimicry in bonding.

4. This research and researcher provide a mini-lesson on how scientists come up with research ideas. Lead author Dr. Laura Cirelli used to work in a day care center, and now she is a post-doc at U. Toronto. Also, while I only focus on one study in this blog post, Dr. Cirelli has clarified and replicated in findings in multiple studies, which illustrates the iterative process of science. For more on Dr. Cirelli and the original research, visit her ResearchGate page.

Monday, June 4, 2018

TEDed's "Can you solve the false positive riddle?"

In just over five minutes, this concise, clear TEDed talk that explains a) false positives, b) base rate fallacy, and c) conditional probability.



And it manages to explain each of those three concepts individual while also showing how those three concepts interact. That's a lot of bang for your buck.

**Note: This video is sort of a commercial for Brilliant.org, which claims to teach critical thinking via riddles and questions. FYI.