New Student Seminar
October 25th, 2010
Research Study Assignment
1. The name of the study I chose to participate in is called A Knack for Decisions. The study was designed to learn about how people process and make decisions about language related information. The study was conducted by Anesu Mandisodza, the principal investigator, and the faculty sponsor of this research was Yaacov Trope, Department of Psychology. I found this study on the Sona Systems psychology study sign up website.
2. This study was very well thought out and conducted; I sat in front of a computer that would give me words from other languages that I had to correspond to a English meaning of the word. For instance, does aabzaa mean to eat? Most of the words were unrecognizable to me but I tried my best. You were scored on two groups of words, the filler words and the actual scored words. You had no idea which one was which. At certain intervals the computer would give you your score of correctly chosen filler words and scored words.
I noticed that no matter the strategy I adopted to choose the correct meaning of the word, my score words score steadily decreased and my filler word score increased. At the midpoint the computer asked if you wanted to do the second half utilizing the same structured test or if you would like to try a different structuring. Right there I realized this study was studying an underlying construct utilizing disguised observation. A prize was offered in the beginning if you had the highest score on score words, so I think they are testing motivation of some kind for these reasons: they offered a prize for the top score, no matter the strategy used my score would constantly decline making feel nervous about winning the prize. At midpoint I was given an opportunity to stay on the same path, which according to my score was not helping me win the prize, or to go down a differently structured path to give me another chance at raising my score and winning the prize. Through the use of an intrinsic reward, the researcher wanted to see if this factor can motivate a subject and direct their actions towards that reward. Like I stated earlier this was a well thought out study.
3. By participating in this study I was exposed to the methodology and the atmosphere of psychological research in progress. I’ve learned the intricacies of disguised observation and have seen firsthand the necessities of a well thought out and well executed psychological research study. This experience only further fueled my interest and drive in becoming a behavioral researcher in the field of Psychology.
4. I think that the researchers’ methods were more than adequate in her desired outcome for her research study. But if I had to test the construct of motivation differently, I would design a study that would test different levels of motivation and the actions that ensued corresponding to these individual levels of motivation. I would have three or four different scenarios that would be designed to invoke the specific levels of participant motivation that would be determined and described by the participants’ choice of consequent action.
I would devise certain measures that would accurately describe the construct of motivation and the level at which it was utilized, let’s say on a low moderate and high scale to test the degree and a motivation check list to define if the construct was observed at all. Of course the whole motivation study would be more thought out and planned if I were to actually conduct it, so this description is only an overall summary of a proposed research study of motivation.