For all students out there you may wonder why females post more pictures on facebook than men. A recent study suggests it's all about self-worth. Basically Western culture puts a lot of emphasis on female physical appearance, posting pictures allows people to comment on how good they look which boosts their self-esteem.
Derren Brown is a mentalist who recently began a new mini-series entitled 'The Experiments.' This experiment is on deindividuation made famous by Zimbardo's prison experiment. The audience gets to choose what happens to an innocent person on a Friday night. They always have a choice between something negative and positive. Guess what the majority always chooses? Watch till the end, it is a very powerful way to show the effects of deindividuation.
Penn and Teller are not bound by the ethical code psychologists must follow. They are therefore allowed to have a nine-year-old shoot a real rifle with real bullets on TV under the supervision of a weapon specialist. I don't see anything like this getting past a university ethics committee, but I'm sure the mother gave consent. I won't spoil what happened, but this is one powerful way to show that any concerns about young violent video gamers actually gun toting given the opportunity is ill-conceived, and as far as I'm aware this is the first piece of evidence of its kind. Despite its many flaws this mini experiment certainly makes its point.
I was really busy with my mini-project for school which is the equivalent of an advanced IA at IB level. We got to design and run our own experiment, run the stats and report the results. It's been the most fun part of university thus far.
We investigated how knowledge of the personal history of defendants would affect the recommended prison sentence compared to controls (same crime but no personal history mentioned). The questions looked like this:
From the moment X was born X was kept locked in a basement by their parents. X was never exposed to sunlight, and was also fed the same meals every day. One day X managed to escape. X had no social skills because of their isolation and was filled with anger. Everywhere X went they were reminded of their lonely childhood. After years of trauma X murdered 7 individuals that reminded X of their parents over a period of several months.
The participants then gave their recommended prison sentences (10-50 years) and the level of empathy felt towards the defendant (1-5). The statistical analysis we ran was a mixed ANOVA which is beyond the scope of IB, but it basically analyzes the variances for several repeated measures conditions and independent measures with one test. The main findings were that females give lower prison sentences than males and that when personal history of the defendant is mentioned, recommended prison sentences were lower compared to when no personal history is mentioned. We also discovered that empathy levels were a good predictor of recommended prison sentences (higher empathy generally means lower prison sentence).
For those of you wish to read the paper and get an idea of what a 3rd year psychology lab report looks like click here. If you want to just see the poster made to show the design, results and findings click here.