Going out with a bang…

Well well well, I tell you what, you guys have pulled out all the stops for the last week of blogs – well done 🙂 I must confess to being slightly gutted though because loads of people this week didn’t do blogs at all…  😦 Those of you who did though, absolutely spiffing whart….

A friendly reminder – everyone is getting much more adventurous and writing about really interesting psychological phenomena and situations – don’t forget, this is primarily a research methods related blog! You can write about anything as long as there is a clear argument and a definite link to research methods (not just psychology!)

The thing that jumped out most at me this week was raised by a couple of you in blogs/comments – namely Sinaealice & sk914 who raised the issue of the golden oldie dodgey experiments being recreated for entertainments’ sake i.e. Derren Brown & Milgram experiment and (I’m certain I shouldn’t confess to knowing this but… ) I’m sure one Big Brother series had a prisoner and warden set up at some point. I wasn’t addicted to the show or anything, promise, I just happened to be walking past a TV shop while it was on… What do you guys think about this?  Are ethics for research and nothing else? For the sake of entertainment, we can do almost anything… We all harp on about how this sort of research would “never happen in this day and age” but it is – and it’s in the public eye where shitloads of people can watch your humiliation/break down… In my opinion, it’s pretty disgusting – but is it psychology’s responsibility? Do we care?

Some grrrrreat blogs this week: Cfredlevy questions what we know and what we think we know and how we think we know it using the example of gravity and it seems there are gravity-skeptics in our world… The mind boggles! 1jessicakes writes a fantastic discussion on likert vs forced choice and clearly presents well-researched advantages and disadvantages to both methods.

A couple of blogs went into slightly existential territory “what is the meaning of psychology research?” Dybanneediu questions what happens to our research when it’s done – does it just get left on the proverbial dusty bookshelf in the sky/internet? Or does it come in useful? Psucc5 differentiates between helpful and useful research – is there a difference? These are important issues and I think we mustn’t underestimate the power/breadth of what psychologists do. It’s true, in the realm of education, there is probably not enough science of learning, but theories on attention are used in advertising all the time… Clinical research has pretty clear applications… But it is so important to ask these questions. The discussion section in a paper is where researchers get to contextualise their research into the ‘real’ world but you need to be skeptical about overstepping the data – if us researchers could have it our way, all our research would save the world!! Next time you do an experiment, ask your experimenter about the ‘real’ world applications… Psuca2 brings the last couple of weeks’ classes on correlation and regression into our tangible grasp by discussing the university admission system – your predicted A-level grades decide your future. Is this a good or fool-proof system?

A couple of ethics related blogs – tinastakeon raises the idea that for harmless studies like RT, questionnaires, it would be handy/less time consuming if we didn’t have to get ethics – after all, how much damage do these studies really cause? What do you think?? And tallesttales raises an interesting point about Bandura’s bobo doll study – if children are taught to behave aggressively towards bobo dolls (whatever those may be!), will this generalize to anything else? Is it bobo-doll-specific anger? I’m not sure what I think. I guess I’ve always imagined that it would be transferable – after all, children may see their parents arguing/being violent and then generalise to other human beings – the bobo-dolls were just a tool to show that the aggressive behaviour is learnt. I’ve just answered my own question. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.

Jameezio critiques a research paper which looks at adherence to medication – it’s a great critique – it’s an important skill to start thinking about what we read. It’s so much easier to take everything for granted but when we start asking questions, we realise how fallible the scientific world is. I suppose science is science but humans will always be humans and as we are the vehicle of science, there is room for bias. Wow, that’s so profound, I swear I just heard angels sing…

Another blog to have a look at is pscu1b‘s discussion of globalisation and psychology. Our research happens in such a particular space, with such particular participants… what does this mean about trying to understand the rest of the world? Do we need to?

As I said, you guys are kicking blog bottom! Am really really pleased with the work you’re putting in… When I compare Week 2 blogs to this week, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride (not in me, I didn’t do this – but in you guys, you’ve really risen to the challenge!)

This week, we are going to be talking ethics… When I say talking, I expect some arguments will ensue. Thankfully, those of us who have been in class the last couple of weeks (yes, that is a purposeful dig at those who haven’t) will be bringing a festival of christmas brunch cheer to our ethics discussion… If you haven’t been in class but are planning to attend this week, the plan is to bring a little something to share – cake, brownies, orange juice – anything you wish… and your own coffee too if you want? We decided that bringing a coffee machine in for a day was probably more hassle than it’s worth.

For those of you who I won’t see this week, rumour has it the TAs are swapping around a bit next semester so you will probably have someone new…
it’s been Real!

Happy Holidays!


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2 Responses to Going out with a bang…

  1. Pingback: “The Big 5″ videos – great for a leg-up on personality lectures « 1jessicakes

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