# Suggestions for a psychology experiment

## Recommended Posts

Hi,

I'm a 2nd. year BSc Psychology student who needs your help.

I have to write/conduct a psychology experiment on my own for the first time, but I'm not sure what to write about. Can you guys suggest an interesting topic that could be fun to write about? It would be ideal if it has been done before, so I can just replicte the study, as my lecturer recommended this.

I don't have much time, so I can't do anything big. This project is really a practice for the students.

##### Share on other sites

What module is this for? The topic of the experiment/report will depend mainly on that.

##### Share on other sites
Glider said in post # :

What module is this for? The topic of the experiment/report will depend mainly on that.

It's for Research Methods, so we can write about whatever we want.

I was thinking of conducting a experiment on the relationship between the amount of time spent on the Internet and social skills/relationships/intelligence. But my lecturer didn't like that for some reason

##### Share on other sites

how about Ink Blot or word association, or that one when you get to give electric shocks if theres a wrong answer

or that multiple choice on sentence or picture interpretation.

thats a few I can think off for the now

##### Share on other sites
YT2095 said in post # :

how about Ink Blot or word association, or that one when you get to give electric shocks if theres a wrong answer

or that multiple choice on sentence or picture interpretation.

thats a few I can think off for the now

That would be cool Damn those ethical considerations

But all those ideas sound good. I will have a look in journals to see if I can find any specific experiments

But please...keep the ideas coming. I really appreciate it!

##### Share on other sites

YT what kind of voltage do you have in mind, 10,000 or 20,000, id go with the latter (j/k)

##### Share on other sites

well, a few KV interupted wave at micro amps would be enough for a jolt and still remain mostly harmless

a chattering relay with the secondary contacts activating a car ignition coil would do the job. nothing across Right/Left that`ll effect the heart, say maybe one electrode on the ankle and one on the nipple (right hand side).

ya know the sort of think I mean, nothing Cruel or anything, just enough to get the point across

##### Share on other sites
Cyrus said in post # :

It's for Research Methods, so we can write about whatever we want.

I was thinking of conducting a experiment on the relationship between the amount of time spent on the Internet and social skills/relationships/intelligence. But my lecturer didn't like that for some reason

Probably because (as research methods students seem to do), you are making things a lot harder for yourself than you need to. You would have to quantify some measure of relationships (ignoring the ethical consideration that relationships are a personal subject and may be a sensitive area to some), and social skills (highly subjective). I.Q. measures are easy enough, but in any event, the whole model is very complicated.

Cognitive topics are very simple. Why not do something to do with memory?

Take a list of twenty words. The words should be of everyday objects; car, vase, spanner, cat, tree etc., etc..

Find images of those words (i.e. pictures of a car, a vase, a spanner, a cat, etc., etc..)

You now have two sets of the same stimuli presented in different modes; Semantic and imagery.

Recruit a sample of participants (usually other students) and split them by sex (e.g. 10 male & 10 female).

Show 5 males and 5 females the list of words for 2 minutes. Give them a one minute distractor task; something like continually subtracting 7 from 1000 (e.g. 100 minus 7 = 993, minus 7 = 986, minus 7 = 979 and so-on). This is a control to prevent rehersal. After one minute, give them a sheet of paper and get the to write down as many words as they can remember (give 2-3 minutes for this).

Do the same to the other 5 females and 5 males, this time using the 20 images.

This is a simple experiment with a simple hypothesis: "Participants will remember correctly a greater number of images than words" If you wish, you could hypothesise an interaction, e.g. something like; "Females will remember more images than males"

The design is 2x2 and the data are tested using a 2-Way ANOVA (which you should have been, or are being taught by now).

Factor 1 = sex: levels = male - female.

Factor 2 = Stimulus: Levels Words - images.

##### Share on other sites

Does having to translate back from images to words introduce a problem?

##### Share on other sites

No, the two are processed differently. When you see an image (e.g. of a tree), you process not only the image (and whatever else the image evokes), but the semantic definition. When you see the word 'tree' you only process the semantic definition. This means that the stimulus presented as an image undergoes more processing and thus forms more traces to aid recall. Therefore people tend to be able to recall more images than words in experiments of that type.

##### Share on other sites

Sounds fair, was going the opposite direction assuming that images would be processed "only" as images.

##### Share on other sites

Thanks very much for your help. It has been very useful, and I will seriously look into doing what you suggested

Hope you don't mind helping me if I have more questions

##### Share on other sites

I suggest spatial navigation...because it is an awesome topic.

Navigation by landmarks...90degrees vs 45 degrees...global vs local. Inside vs outside...there is an entire large literature to follow. (it was my supposed thesis topic before I dropped it because i needed more advanced c++ coding) Especially those that use VR...Also studies found in infants and in cab drivers

Find papers by http://www.idealibary.com

look for profs like neil burgess,sue becker(my thesis prof)

mallot, bunch of french people i can't remmeber, trullier,

hongjin sun(one of my profs), people frmo UCL...O'keefe, there's a lady...damn i can't remmeber her name. I got 5 stacks of paper on the topic so you should be able to find something

##### Share on other sites
Cyrus said in post # :

Thanks very much for your help. It has been very useful, and I will seriously look into doing what you suggested

You're welcome. That was just an example of a simple experiment that is ideal for course work at second year level. Anything along those lines would be appropriate.

Hope you don't mind helping me if I have more questions

Nope. I'll be around. Do you use SPSS for analysis?

##### Share on other sites
Glider said in post # :

Nope. I'll be around. Do you use SPSS for analysis?

Yes, we use SPSS for all of our analysis. My math-skills are extremely poor, so I think SPSS is a blessing for me. Just type in the data and interpret the output

##### Share on other sites

We use it too.

It's funny, but by strange coincidence data entry and output interpretation are precicely the two areas that students seem to have most problems with

##### Share on other sites
Glider said in post # :

We use it too.

It's funny, but by strange coincidence data entry and output interpretation are precicely the two areas that students seem to have most problems with

I don't think it's a strange coincidence. From what I understand, the psychology students here were all very poor at maths, so they chose a subject they could study that they thought wouldn't have math

Some of the lecturers have mentioned this as well. Students choose psychology because they think it's an easy course (no math), but when they find out that a whole part of psychology is interpreting data and stats, they freak out LOL

I was one of those students who freaked out I'm actually a foreign students (from Norway), and as far as I know, there isn't any stats in the psychology course in Norway. It might come later and you might have to choose it, but it's never from the beginning. But that's the reason I freaked out. I didn't realise there was math in psychology, and they never told me (like in the prospectus).

The whole departement realizes that most of the psychology students have very poor math-skills, so in our first year we got "points" for showing up for the stat seminars. If we had like 5 points, then they would go towards counting towards our stat tests. Usually we need 40% to pass, but with a full set of points, we only needed like 15-20% right answers to pass. However we don't have this system this year. Still I'm proud of myself. I got 60% on a recent stat test It was about ANOVA's, MANOVA's and all that stuff.

##### Share on other sites

It's all down to the BPS. A few years ago they decided that as research is the 'bread and butter' of psychology, it made no sense to keep churning out graduates who couldn't do it. The BPS decided that in order for them to recognise a psychology based degree, the candidate would have to have taken and passed two years of research methods (including statistics).

As a consequence, all those students who used to opt for psychology as a 'cop out' degree (i.e. a an easy option just to get 'a degree'), suddenly found that their 'easy degree' was contingent upon passing two years of research methods and stats.

It makes a lot of sense if you think about the role of a psychologist. I think Norway will probably do the same sooner or later, for the sake of parity.

Well done on your test too, by the way. I find so often that by the time it comes to teaching ANOVA (beginning of year 2), students have forgotten what t-tests are for over the summer, and tend to have a hard time of it for the first few weeks of the new semester.

##### Share on other sites
Glider said in post # :

It's all down to the BPS. A few years ago they decided that as research is the 'bread and butter' of psychology, it made no sense to keep churning out graduates who couldn't do it. The BPS decided that in order for them to recognise a psychology based degree, the candidate would have to have taken and passed two years of research methods (including statistics).

As a consequence, all those students who used to opt for psychology as a 'cop out' degree (i.e. a an easy option just to get 'a degree'), suddenly found that their 'easy degree' was contingent upon passing two years of research methods and stats.

It makes a lot of sense if you think about the role of a psychologist. I think Norway will probably do the same sooner or later, for the sake of parity.

Well done on your test too, by the way. I find so often that by the time it comes to teaching ANOVA (beginning of year 2), students have forgotten what t-tests are for over the summer, and tend to have a hard time of it for the first few weeks of the new semester.

So it's the BPS I have to turn my anger towards? Thanks for the tip

I don't know if the course would have been _that_ much easier without the research method part. I'm having difficulties as it is now, but that may also be due to several other factors.

In any case, I didn't choose this course because I thought it was an easy way to get a degree. I have a genuine interests for the field. I find it so interesting to learn more about others, and especially about myself and how to deal with my own problems.

Part of the reason students here forget so much of the stats is because we're in a way encouraged to forget it. I remember last year, stat was just a part of the course we had to rush through as if it was some added on modul, rather than a "real" course like for example abnormal psychology.

But of course, the students are a part of the "problem" as well. We have such a dislike for stats that we don't bother practicing it over the holidays. But to read about stuff we find more interesting in the course is much easier and a lot of us do it over holidays.

##### Share on other sites

good old neural computation: psych/math/compsci...we make our own rules.

##### Share on other sites
So it's the BPS I have to turn my anger towards? Thanks for the tip

You're welcome

Part of the reason students here forget so much of the stats is because we're in a way encouraged to forget it. I remember last year, stat was just a part of the course we had to rush through as if it was some added on modul, rather than a "real" course like for example abnormal psychology.

But of course, the students are a part of the "problem" as well. We have such a dislike for stats that we don't bother practicing it over the holidays. But to read about stuff we find more interesting in the course is much easier and a lot of us do it over holidays.

It's odd that it's taught as an 'add on'. We give two full years of research methods, each as a year long module. I try to show how the knowledge gained in all other areas of psychology, and that is taught in the other modules (e.g. cognitive, forensic, biological, neuro, developmental, clinical etc.) was gained through the application of research methods, and so research is the heart of psychology, and the common denominator in all the other modules.

It's understandable that people have a dislike for it. I hated it as an undergraduate. But I think a vivid memory of that helps me teach it now. I try to keep it real and show how it is applied in the more interesting areas of psychology. I also use smarties as a teaching aid.

##### Share on other sites

Does anyone have a suggestion to show what goes on in a females mind when put into a pressure situation

Thanks

##### Share on other sites

If your question relates to post #22, then you should look into "fight or flight response," or sympathetic versus parasympathetic nervous system. The difference between males and females in this regard would be pretty neglibible.

If you had some other question, then I apologize in advance for my confusion, and hope you will just ask it.

##### Share on other sites
If your question relates to post #22, then you should look into "fight or flight response," or sympathetic versus parasympathetic nervous system. The difference between males and females in this regard would be pretty neglibible.

Actually, some people might disagree with you on that point.

Taylor, Klein, Lewis, Gruenwald, Gurung, and Updegraff. 2000. Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and Befriend, Not Fight-or-Flight. Psychological Review, 107, 3, 411-429.

I think it also depends on what kind of stress we're talking about here. Resource stress? Social stress? Potential infanticide stress? (I know, I know, this is less likely in humans. Still, it's a common primate issue.)

## Create an account

Register a new account