Monday, June 26, 2017

APA's "How to Be A Wise Consumer of Psychological Research"

This is a nice, concise hand out from APA that touches on the main points for evaluating research. In particular, research that has been distilled by science reporters.

It may be a bit light for a traditional research methods class, but I think it would be good for the research methods section of most psychology electives, especially if your students working through source materials.

The article mostly focuses on evaluating for proper sampling techniques. They also have a good list of questions to ask yourself when evaluating research:

This also has an implicit lesson of introducing the APA website to psychology undergraduates and the type of information shared at (including, but not limited to, this glossary of psychology terms.)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Winograd's Personality May Change When You Drink, But Less Than You Think

How much do our personalities change when we're drunk? Not as much as we think. We know this due to the self-sacrificing research participants who went to a lab, filled out some scales, got drunk with their friends. For science!

Here is the research, as summarized by the first authorHere is the original study.

This example admittedly panders to undergraduates. But I also think it is an example that will stick in their heads. It provides good examples of:

1) Self-report vs. other-report personality data in research.
-Two weeks prior to the drinking portion, participants completed a Big Five personality scale as if they were drunk. So, there is the self-report of Drunk!Participant. And during the drinking session, participants had their Big Five judged by research assistants coding their interactions with friends, allowing a more object judgment of the Drunk!Participant.

The findings:

-Why do we need self and other reports? What sort of traits are people most likely to lie about? This could also open up a conversation about Lie scales, especially their use in situations when their is pressure to present well, like during job interviews.

-What other sort of other-reports have your students seen used in research? I've seen research that asks teachers to evaluate students, parents to evaluate children, etc. When might an acquaintance be a better source of data than a stranger?

2) Conceptual examples of repeated measure/within subject t-test and paired-participant/between subjects t-test.

-At Time 1, Ps reported their personality under normal circumstances, and what they think think of their personalities when drunk. Within-subject t-test. Results: Ps believe that their personalities change substantially when drunk.

-At Time 2, while the participants were drunk, they were observed by research assistants. The research assistants made their best guesses at the Ps Big Five. Between-subject, matched t-test. Results: P extroversion seems to increase, but raters didn't find any other increases.

3) Example of using the Big Five in research.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Brenner's "These Hilariously Bad Graphs Are More Confusing Than Helpful"

Brenner, writing for Distractify, has compiled a very healthy list of terrible, terrible graphs and charts. How to use in class:
1) Once you know how NOT to do something, you know how to do it.
2) Bonus points for pointing out the flaws in these charts...double bonus points for creating new charts that correct the incorrect charts.

A few of my favorites: