Monday, December 28, 2015

Hickey's "The 20 Most Extreme Cases Of ‘The Book Was Better Than The Movie"

Data has been used to learn a bit more about the age old observation that books are always better than the movies they inspire.

Fivethirtyeight writer Walk Hickey gets down to the brass tacks of this relationship by exploring linear relationships between book ratings and movie ratings. 

The biggest discrepancies between movie and book ratings were for "meh" books made into beloved movies (see "Apocalypse Now").

How to use in class:

-Hickey goes into detail about his methodology and use of archival data. The movie ratings came from Metacritic, the book ratings came for Goodreads.
-He cites previous research that cautions against putting too much weight into Metacritic and Good reads. Have your students discuss the fact that Metacritic data is coming from professional movie reviewers and Goodreads ratings can be created by anyone. How might this effect ratings?
-He transforms his data into z-scores.
-The films that have the biggest movie:book rating discrepancies also serve as good examples of influential observations in linear relationships. How might such outliers effect the accuracy of the regression line predicted by this data?
-He does bring up the fact that this is a truncated data set: All of the stories that are included are books that garnered enough attention to be made into a movie.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Esther Inglis-Arkell's "I Had My Brain Monitored While Looking at Gory Pictures. For Science!"

The writer helped out a PhD candidate by participating in his research, and then described the research process for readers. I like this because it is describes the research process purely from the perspective of the research participant who doesn't know what the exact hypothesis is.

This could be useful for explaining what research participation is like for introductory students. You could used it in a methods class by asking the students to figure out why they used the procedures that they did, and what procedures and scales she describes in her narrative. She describes the informed consent, a personality scale (what do you think the personality scale was trying to assess?), and rating stimuli in two ways (brain scan as well as paper and pencil assessment...why do you think they needed both?)

Details to Like:

-She is participating is psychology research (neruo. work that may benefit those with PTSD someday)
-She describes what is entailed when wearing an electrode cap
-Taking baseline measurements, including personality scales
-She provided a rating of the pictures when she was offline
-Mention informed consent in passing

Monday, December 14, 2015

"Guess the Correlation" game

Found this gem, "Guess the Correlation", via the subreddit r/statistics. The redditor who posted this resource (ow241) appears to be the creator of the website. Essentially, you view different scatter plots and try to guess r. Points are rewarded or taken away based on how close you are to true r. The game tallies your average amount of error as well. It is way more addictive than it sounds. I think that accuracy increases with time and experience.

True r for this one was .49. I guess .43, which isn't so bad.

I think this is a good way for statistics instructors to procrastinate. I think it is also a good way to help your students build a more intuitive ability to read scatter plots and predict the strength of linear relationships.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Free, statsy resources available from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology

If you haven't already, please consider joining Teaching of Psychology (Division 2 of APA). Your membership fees help fund plenty of great initiatives, including:

Teaching Statistics and Research Methods: Tips from TOP by Jackson & Grigs

This free e-book is a compilation of scholarship of teaching publications.

Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology's (OTRP) Teaching Resources

This page is divided by topical area in psychology (including Statistics) and includes instructional resources for every topic. Most of the material was created as part of OTRP's Instructional Resource Reward. Among the useful resources are a free booklet containing statistics exercises in both SPSS and R as well as an intense primer on factorial research design.

UPDATE (2/24/16): This new resource provides a number of hands-on activities to demonstrate/generate data for all of the concepts typically taught in intro statistics.  

Project Syllabus 

Project Syllabus is a collection of, in deed, syllabi for a wide variety of different psychology classes. They are sorted by general topic but under each topic, can contain a variety of different classes. Under the "Statistics", a wide variety of syllabi are available, for everything from Intro. to more advanced classes (like Multivariate).

Facebook page for Society for the Teaching of Psychology

This is the friendliest, most helpful Facebook page you will ever come across. Folks post questions about teaching, requests for ideas for activities, syllabi, text book recommendations, etc. Typically, they are quickly flooded with responses from their peers in the trenches.