Friday, April 21, 2017

--- First impressions ---

When I was in college, I enjoyed classes that were just helping a researcher with their research. Universities do that. It helps academicians publish instead of perish and students have fun and improve their grades. Everybody wins.

You don't believe it? Well try it out. There is a place on the Internet that you can take part in active psychological research. It's called the Online Psychological Laboratory and it's right here.

I was interested in a study called "First Impressions" so I signed up as a participant.

I......won't tell you about the experiment beforehand, just in case you want to participate.

Be sure and read the write-up under "Studies" after you do the experiment. If you're into statistics, you can download the data from various groups of other subjects and see if those results match what you expect. Feel free to use my statistics packages for LibreOffice Calc, DANSYS and DANSYSX at

(If DANSYSX is not up yet, it will be soon. It's a new expanded version of DANSYS.)

One of the big problems with psychological or social experimentation as an individual is that they usually require groups of people to participate. Students usually have access to groups (their class, families that don't mind helping with homework, groups being served by special programs at colleges or universities, etc.), but strangers look at unassociated folks askance when they start asking to fill out surveys or answer more or less personal questions. You can do chemistry or physics experiments all day and no one really cares (except, maybe, your boss at work or your significant other - "You make messes all day but you won't carry out the garbage for nothing!"), but when you start asking weird questions, that's another matter.

The Online Psychology Laboratory will give you a taste of the real thing without danger of prosecution.

By the way, when you finish one of these experiments, see if you can catch the principle explored by the experiment at work when you're out peoplewatching!

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