Bonus Points Assignment Psychology

Bonus Points Assignment – Worth 15 Points

Answer all of the following questions. Your total score on this assignment will be added to your score on Assignment #1.

I have asked my experimental psychology class to complete an assignment where they must choose a topic they are interested in, and design their own research study. Some of my students need some assistance with their work, and I would like you to help them.


Please read each example and provide a response about how you might improve the problematic aspect of their work.


1.      One student, James, thinks that regular exercise is related to doing well in school. He has excellent operational definitions for each variable. He would use number of hours of exercised in a week as one variable, and performance on tests as another variable. However, he forgot to mention what direction that relationship might take.

·         What do you think is the independent variable? _________________

·         What do you think is the dependent variable? __________________


2.      Sasha believes that you can experimentally manipulate how attractive participants will rate pictures of strangers online, by priming them with either positive or negative words before showing them the pictures. Her hypothesis is that participants who view positive descriptive words (such as “gorgeous”) will rate the strangers as more attractive, while participants who view negative descriptive words (such as “vile”) will rate the strangers as less attractive. She’s on to something, but I told her she’s just missing a third condition to serve as a control group for the experiment.


·         What could function as a control group? ___________________________________


3.      Orlando is a big gamer, and he believes that introverted people – people who get anxious in social situations and need solitude to recharge – are less likely to be successful in video games that have a strongly online/social component. On the other hand, the people who are the best at these games are naturally more extroverted – they get anxious when alone and derive energy in social gatherings. I told him his independent variable of personality (introversion/extroversion) was good, and his dependent measure – gaming performance, was also fine, but he needs to operationally define these variables. You can do a little bit of research to find the answers to the following:


·         How would you measure his independent variable? ___________________


·         How would you measure his dependent variable? ___________________



4.      A student named Rosa believes there is a relationship between mood and empathy. Her experiment is designed to ask participants to wait in a laboratory room before answering survey questions. She will manipulate mood in two ways – the length of time participants wait (long or short), and the temperature in the room (hot or normal). The participants in both groups will be asked questions that measure empathy. Although her experiment is an interesting one, I believe that there is potential ethical violation she didn’t consider.


·         What ethical principle is possibly being violated? ____________________________


·         What could she do to make this a more ethical experiment?




5.      Finally, my student Alexa believes that listening to music while she studies helps her to do better on tests. She wants to test this theory by designing an experiment where two groups of participants will be asked to read instructions on completing a puzzle. In the experimental group, she will tell participants to listen to music on their phones, and in the control group, the participants will read the instructions in silence. Her hypothesis is that participants who listened to music will complete the puzzle faster and more accurately than those who read the instructions in silence.


While it is a well-constructed hypothesis, I asked her to consider whether there was a confounding variable that might account for this difference, rather than just the independent variable (music vs. no music).


·         What confounding variable did she overlook? ______________________________


·         By making a change to her independent variable, how could she remove the influence of this possible confound?


Field of study: 
No answers yet