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,

For my friend, David Raves, whose heart is also in the work

Research Methods for Social Psychology

Dana S. Dunn

@wmy-nLAcKwELL
A tahn wiley & Sons, Lrd., publication

ll() 2

Basjc ExPeritrlettnl De;tgn

Chapter

Using the variables found in question 1, write your own theoreiical definjtions and operationalizations, and suggest some other ways to measure the sarne dependenl
Ex3mine severa/ issles of a social psychology journal Keep a count of how many experiments rely on between-subjects rather than within-subjects designs. Why do you think this is so? Seleci a between-subjects design from one of the ariicles identified above in 3. Can you conved the design into a vvithin s!bjects design? Why or why not?

Alternatives to Experimental Research in Social Psychology


I

l
Active Le.rning lxe.cise 48 lnswe6: I lndependenr variable: wherher.urs were packaged or noti dependent va.iable: amount of nurs coosunred (obesity is subiect,variable-rr is soDetimes tieated as an inde pendent variable). 2 Indep.ndent vari.blr: whethcr or not shocks were dcscribed as paintul; dependent vaflable: whether the women p.elerred to rv.ir ilooe o vith someone clse- i lrdependent variab{e: choi.e or se.ond.hoi.e open; depend.nr nrclsur.r rariDg olliking tbr pen. Table 4.6 arshe.s: I Nhin etr ct ior A; main effect ibr Bi A x B inreractioo. 2 No nrain eflect tor A: .o main eflecr litr B; Ax B intencrion.3 No nrain cffcct for Ai no drri el{ect iirr Bi noA x B interactio..4. No nrain etle.r ior Ai mJin etfrcr lirr Bi no A x tl i,rrerr.rion.

"Thank You for Not Sharing Your Earthquake Experience" (Sentiment emblazonecr' on t-shirts that appeared in Palo Alto, California, aPProximately four weeks aher the October 1989 Loma Prieta Eirrthquake; Pennebaker & Ilarber, 1993, P l33)' Disasters happen. PeoPle and P.operw are lost SLl ivors are lefi to make sense of the eveit, plodding through the mental or physical remnants asldng questions like "Why me?" or "Why themi" In our time, the bombirrg of the Federal Buildi:lg in
Oklahonra City, the terrorist attacks ofSePtember I I, 2001, the lr{q war, and FIu fricJ!e Katrina have all prompted collective soul searching ln the aftermath olthese and other calanrities, the search for erning can continue for some time seeking answers' peoplc ask ea.b other questions; they offer opiilioos and shnre exPeriences in search ofclosure (e.g., l-lorowitz, 1976). Some answers Are painful but cleat. Other questions aboLrt the causes and consequences ofsuch shared traumas rvill never be ansrvercd' Profound evenls are worthy of serious enrPirical scrlrtiny eveo if they cannot be examined with the rneticr.Llous research designs associated lvith laborltorT_based research in social psychology. Colsider a compellil]g example; Social Psychologists Jaoes Pennebaker ancl Keot Harber (1993) undertook a very itvolved piece ofresearch within one week after the October l989 Loma Prieta Earthquake which, regrstering 7.2 on the Richter scale, wreaked havoc in the San Francisco Bay area and car'rsed over

I I

60 deaths. Using random digit dialing (or RDD, a technique for randomly phoninll rcsialents relatecl to the sampling ideas reviewed in chaPters 4 and 6), these researchers iDterviewed close to 800 tesidents of three Caljfornia cities (San Francisco, Sacramento, Claremont) aod Dailas, Texas.'fhe ParticiPilnts were called by phone ouce within l, 2,3,6,8, 16,28, or 50 weeks after the qualce and for l0 minutes were asked about theit ealthquoke experiences. Because Pennebaker and Hatber were cspecialll interested in social responses (i e, communicating thoughts and feelings about the quake to others) and psychological resPonses (i e., thinkiug about the quake) to the
seisnric activity, all participants were asked how many times

in the previolrs 24 htrurs

they had talked about and thought about the ea.thqtake. Let's look at the responses ofthe people who experieoced the quake 6rst hand, tbe sample ofresidents trom San Francisco Figr:re 5-l plots the self-reported incid:'rrr'- r''

thi kiog and talking about the earthquirke among a sample of 275 citv

resirLerrs

Il2 Alt.tlttrfts to Erperifietlt(l

Research

Alternitivcs ta Exprunultal Resett(h 11-\

si

l,
ot lhoughls

"f

talking

a 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 I 10 11 12 13 14
0

2a

50

Emergency

lnhibilion phase

Weeks afler quake

--- Thought --1-

Talk

Selt-reported number of thoughls and convr;Jlions in the previous 24 hours concerning lhe earthquake among San Francisco residenls Data we.e based on 275 telephone intervrews (approximately 34 respondenls at each lime poinl). To conlrol lor exl.eme responses. subjects who repoded thjnking or talking aboul the quak more lhan 25 imes ln lho previous 24 hours were assigned a value ol25 t'mes

Figure 5.2. Penoebaker and Harber's (1993) three-stage model of collective coPing based on self-rcported thinking and ialkitg following thc Loma Prieta earthquakc. .Sorrrre: Pennebaket il]d Hirber ( 199i, Figure 2, P. i3l)

Figure

5.1. Incidene of thinking and talkurg about Pennebikcr {199.1, r'igurc 9.1, p. 211)

tie Loma Prieta

arthqoake. So,r,rcr

(around 34 peoplc were interviewed at each of the key time points noted earlier ). What
can we lerrn from }igure 5.I ? San Francisco residents spoke about and thought about rhe quakc a grcat deal dlrrilrg the nrst two weeks, so that nlaDy people rel)orted that the event "brought rhe city together" (Pennebaker, 1993, p. 2l l). After two weeks and Lrp to the eight-week mark, however, chatter about the quake died down precipitously.

OD the other hand, a fair rlumber of respondents-above 20olo-continued to trirft about the disaster (see Figure 5.1). Although theywanted to telltheir own sto(ies about ivhat happened, people bccame much less willing to hear others talk about the disaster (r...rll thc t-shirt slogan that opened this chapter). They became socially conshained, yet they-,^'ere still mulling the quake's occurrence ovel in their own minds. As Pennebaker and Harber ( 1991, p. l3l) put it, "A sub tle conspiracy r)f silence was the result" of the collective social constraint. This intriguing pattern of collective behavior ailowed Pennebalcer and Harber (i99-1) io propose a three-stage model of collective coping shown in Figlre 5.2 (the cuivcs sltowll in this figure are idealized but thcy are based on the pattern of data shol'n in !'igure 5.i). Briefly, thev argue that coUective coping occurred io three

distinct stagcs-an emergency phase, an inhibition phase' and an adaPtation Phase (see Figure 5.2). Thoughts about the everlt remain relativelv high cluring the first two phases but then finally dissipate in the third phase, whcre people act as if the eventliteraL and psychoiogical is over. In contrast' actual talking abor.:t the event clc'linc\ from the end of the emergency Phase through the adaptation phase Psychologically speaking, the irtriguing story is what happened during the inhibition phase, where people reftained fiorn talking aborrt the event Lacking oPPortuniq' to talk with others about wllat haPPened, peopie continued to reflect on' even rrrminale about, the upheirval. Ironicaliy, this conlmunity-i posd silence or "holding back" {ctlrally heighterred people's risk for health problems and psychological difficultjes (Pennebaker & Harber, 1993) San Francisco residerlts rePorted a greater fre qLrncy of foul moods than norrnal, higher rates ofquarrtiing with their tamilies and coworkers, a iump in minor health problems, and havit]g sleeP disturbances irl the "stew" form ofquake-related dreams. In short, not talkilg but contirluing 1o mentallv the quake had conseqlrences [br the city's residentsj oPening up to others might about have been a preferabie course ofaction (Pennebakcr, J997). Furthermore' the conse quences of inhibition were public as well as personal- Cornpared to the sarne time
period during the previous yeat, police reports of aggravated assnults grew 10 percent a few weeks after the disaster (Penlebaker & Harber, I99l)

Il1

Altettlati,et

t() Expetimental Resurclj

Ahenuttit,es to Eipetifienta!

Retedrih

15

As for good news, about eight weeks later, participants reported returning to no.mal, The intrrLsive thoughts about the disaster and the accompanfng interpersonal conflict dissipitted, eventually disappearing altogether. To demonstrate this retu.n to baseline self-reports regardir,g behavior, Pennebal<er ald Harber (1993) compared ihe larer Saa Francisco residents'inteNier.r' data with that obtailed from the three.,control"

cities.

The Loma Prieta earthquake is not the only real world caianity affefiing large numbers of people that Pennebaker and his colleagues have studied. Pennebaker and Harber (1993) also examined coliective responses to the Persian Gulf War tbrough the lens of tireir proposed model of large scale coping. Back in the 1980s, pennebaker examined community aeactions to the eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano (Pennebaker & Newton, l9B3). Pennebaker and his colleagues have also examined the natule of social intractions foilowing Septernber ll, 2001 (Mehl & pennebaker, 2003) and online chat room conversations concerning the death of princess Diana (Stone & Pcnnebaker, 2002). For a broader djscussion of inhibition and its role in social life, see Pennebaker (1989, 1997).

Therein Iies the excitement and challenge of doing research where expe.imental control and exactitude are lessened or ever absent as compaaed to the lab The loss of rigor need not mean a corresponding loss of vigor. As lve learned from Pennebaker and Harber's (1993) work on collective responses to a cornmon disaster, there aie rvays to capit{ize on natule's caprices. If.andonl assignment to condition is not possible, perhaps some fofin of random selection can be performed. lf an ideal control group is not avaiiable, perhaps some similar grouP ot peoPie can be identified as a PossiLrl. substitule. The advantages associated with lronexPerimental research illclude:

' . ' . .

Thinking broadly and creatively about social behavior

in

actual

social

conteals, Testing out ideas uncovered in the lab out in the 6eld (and vice versa),

Developing new and creative dePendent variables and ways

to

measure

bhavior, Having opportunityto examine howPeople respond to orcopewith a real social oa natural evcnt, Using social psychologicai theo.y to explain or improve some Practical issuc n1
the sor:ial world-

leaving the Comfort of the Lab: Problems and Prospects


r\s tirc worli by Pennebaker:rrrd Harl.:er (1991) illustates, social psychologists do conduct real lifi: research in real Life settiilgs outside thc controlled confines.of the laboratory. But lyhen researchers leave the lab, difliculties arise fhe predicrabiliry of
the lab is lost; lesearch out in the .eal world or the 6eld is less predictable-very often it is unp.edicrable. There are problems associated with coodLicting nooexperimntal studies, that is, resaich efforts that do not satisry the requirements of..true,,expefl ments in social psychology (see chaprer 4).'I'hese problerns can include:

Many social psychologists like to leave the reladve qrriet of the lab for the hr.rrlvburLy action outside in the world. Some nlake it a practice to 6rst identiry a socirl psychological effect in the lab and then exanjne its influence out in everydav life In this chapter, we will considec sonre intriSuing research design altcruatives to iruc experiments. These ilrclude observational studies, correlationill apProahes' so_callcd qudsi-expcrimental designs, survey research, experience sarnpling approaches and cliary sttrdies, Internet-based research, and archival and meta-rnah'tic studies.

' ' . . . .

Nu rJnJom a5signtneitt lo conditron. No controlled manipulation ofan independent variable, No conditions representing distind levels of an independent valiable, No sensitive dependent variables that allow researchers to directly link cause with effect, No control group(s) or use of limited comparison groups, No opportuniry to debrief research participants.

Otrservational Research
The most basic form ofnonexperirnental social psychoiogical research involvcs simply Iooking around and observing what people do. ln general, obsel'vatiollaL rrwdrch involves watching peoplc engage in norlnal behavior in Public settings ln contmst to

In sholt, research in the teal world lacks the rigor associated with the iab where between- or within-group diflerences caused by the manipulation of an independent variablc can be cleanly and clearly documented. Reserrch out in the rcal worlcl is conrplicated, often hard to do, and sometinres messy- Things go awry aud researchers nlust compcnsate or go with the flow in ao elfort to idertiry iDterestiDg, even funda_ tlental, issues in the study of social behavior.

experimental research, observatiotral research does not interfere in the situationthere is no ;ntervention that might disrupt what is occurring natulally. Most ob\.rvations are nrade in an unobrrusive or even "secret" filanner so that the individuaLls] being observed do not alter their actiorls. In a real sense, we all engage in I forrn o[ obser_vational research any time we are in a public settinS-a Park, the ma11, a sporLing event, ir sidewalk cafe that ca ses us to watch and wonder aboul what oljvales people to perform some acts but not others. Whre real observational research differs from casual obse ation, of course, is that some lecord is being maintained: An
obseryer or observers takes notes on the behavior being rvatched.

Al t.t iltt; i','rs ta bcPerinent.ll Resedrch


Table

Alkrna!pu< !o Ftpetit'tnulR,'sr'drrlr I l7

Here is a simple, off-the-cuff observational study: Wheo walking past Jarge department store windows, do peoplc look at their own rellections or do they avoid doinS so? 5ocial psyi.i.rologically spealiing, we might be investigating public displays of selfconsciousness (e.g., Fenigstein, 1984; Scheier & Carver, 1985) or naturally occurring siLuatioos where self-awareness is triggered (e.g., Duval & Wicldund, 1,972). Nl one would need to do would be to sit on a bench adjacent to a dePartment store and watch what people do. Ofcoulse, an investigator would define what constitutes a "gldnce"-some conclete behavionl dcscriptioil is Decessaryso that the observed behavior can be measured. For example, a simple count of (a) how ma[y people walk by ald (b) how many subse,l,rel1:ly glance at dleir o!r'n reflections coold then be recorded. A researcher might also talce note of rire gender of the passers-by-do womcn iook at their reflections more often then men? what sort ofwomen (or meD) look at tl, eir reflections? How long (irr seconds) do peopie look at their reflections? How nany adjust their hair or clothing after doing so? Does weigirt, height, age, or other characteristics aPpear to influence -rirethcr people look at their reflectionsi How crn the observations we collect lend :. jr'-rJr'! to rnore "causai" arguments? Even in a simple exampie like this one, one obseryation leads to other observations; questions beget other questions. What seefted sirnple can become rnore complex-even a castrtl observation can quickly morph irrto a theory (albeit olle thal must be tested in a more rigorous manner)Thc virtues of obscrvational research are easy to sumnlarize: it can be done in almost any pr.rblic pLace where people gather or pass by. No expensive tools are usually nceJ.-d; a pad and pencil, a simple checklist, or some other recording device is usually sufhcicnt. Finally, the real and true advantdge of observatioial resea(cb is that it crn be used to qenertte ideas-future, potential h)?otheses*that can be examined e{Perirnentaily. lronically, this strengtlr also highlights thc downside of observational research: lts speculative nature docs not allow a researcher to determine causality',fiat internal or external factor(s) Ied to what witnessed behavior. Still, corducting arr iliscrvatiooal study can be a great way to begin gathering ideas fbr subsequent exPeri mcnlai research in social psychology.

5.1

Watching Social Behaviorr Some Suggested Obse.vational StuCy Topics and


Locales Locale

T.Jp c

Failing tq discard Wastinef of food

tash or clear table

Cafeteria, fast food restaurant Cafeteria, fast food re5taurant


Library

Talking or sleepiflg rather than studyiflg People's weiSht and speed of tood consumption cender and ry 5how choice (e.8, comedy,
Frequency of interaction belween people of

Cafeteria, fast food restaurant Dorm lounge Various pos3ible locations


Public park. various other locations campus weight room Theater, auditorium Lecture hall, senrinar, classroom

dlfferent races o. ethnicities Littering and gender Watching (not watching) reflection in mirror Talking during a movie or play or concert
Laie arrivak and early departsres from class

Here are the steps you need


research:

to follow to do an

observational piece of

2 3

4
5

Develop a hypothesis regarding some naturally occurring behavior. Concretely define the behavior !n operational terms (recall chapter 4's dis' cussion of operationaiiz ng variables). ldentify what other related variables (e.g., gender) should be considered. ldentily a public locale for observing the behavior. Develop a coding system and record sheet for ihe behavior How will you

7
B

tally what you see? Decide whether you necd to enlist the help of a fellow obsenver to help you verify your observations (see the discussion of reliability in chapter 8) Seek IRB approval before you begin any daia collection (see chapter 3) How will you display your data? You might want to create simple bar graphs or data tables, for exampie (see the discussion of tables and figures in chapter 12). Pe#orm the observational research.

ACTIVE TEARNJNC EXERCISE

5A

Designing and Conductint an Observational Study


An observationaj study should be simple and straightforward to conduct and, as McKenna ('1995) suggests, they can almost always be carried out on a typical college campus or in some commLrnity settings. Remember: You are to carefully observe soara behavior as it occurs (or does not occLrr)*you are noi supposed to
otherwrse influence what happens. Table 5.'1 lists some possible topjcs and locales

Correlational APProaches
Unlike observational research, correlatiorral research allows an investiSator to assess the degree ofassociation between pairs of vatiables. A .offelation is a measure of association between two variables. As,vou probably learned in an earlier class, the nature of the association belween two variables can be one of three tt?es:

for observaiional studies.

L'LS Altcnlatiret to Expeti eitdl

Rese.lr,:h

Alternatives to Experiile tLtl Reseerci! i1,9


Table

I I

Pasiti/e dssaciation: As the value ofone variable jncreases (or decreases), the value of the other variable behaves the same way. I"iere is a fbvorite example that nicely illustrates positive correlationi Tbe more hours a iirst year college student studies per week, the higher his or her grades are likeiy to be at the end of the rerm. Conversely, fewer hours of study are also positively related to lower grades at a

5.2

Correlations betwcen Social Dominance Orienta tion (SDO) and Selected policy ltems
+.27

ivlilitary proglams
Gay and lesbian rights

term's end,

-50
-.32 -.46

women's rights
Racialpolicy
Srar.e: Sample 3b from Pratro et al. (19t4, Tablc 5, p. 750).

Negative associntiotl: As the value of ooe variable increases, the value of the other variabie decreases (or vice versa). Ill other words, eacir variable follows a direction opposite to that of the other. The more hours spent studfng, the fewer hours available for watching television (or vice versa). Zero or no association: There is no discernable pattern of covariation between the var iables being considered. Time spent sludfng has no relationship witit or cffect on grades, nor is there any liltk between study time and discretionary time speDt

coded, put in

{ spreadsheet or other data 6le, and quickly converted into correlational

watching televt'sion. The statistical magnitude of the association between two variables is described by numerical index, the "correlation coeilicient.', The statisticalsl,mbolused to denote the correlation coefficient is r.. The value of a correlation coefficient (e.g., pearson or Spearman, the two most common ty?es of coriBl..rtions) can range between +1.00 (a perfict positive correlition) arld -1.00 (a pertect negative correlation). As the value of a correlation approaches the rnid-point betweel these tivo poles-that is,0-there is no association between the variables. The presence of a in fiont of a coefficienl (e.g., .25) onlF indicares the direcrion oi the associirtion between the,trvo variables under co sideration-in fhct, the pirrs or lnirus sign is there to help us readily interpret the re lationship-Lrut the sign says nothing about the strelgth of rhe associition. (APA style, 2001, drops the "f" for positive correlations, however, the., ,,
a

each possible two variable pairings. Guidd by theory, the researcher therl scrutinizes the correlarions ro

lratrices-la.8e tables illustraling all of th associations between

I I

strelgth of associatio n ol +.75

sign is always shown fbrnegarive correlations.) Only the coelficient itselfindicates that strength (i.e-, stronger correlational relationships occrrr the further a coefficient i$ fiorn the 0 point in the range between +1.00 and -l.00). Thus a correlation oF+.32 is not as strong as the association indicated by a correlation of-.56. It follows, then, that the
and,

with each orher to a iarge sample of peopLe. Thc data fiom the completed packets are

related construct. Indeed, one of the more poprrlar, if passivc, research approaches is to distribute packets of personality arld related psychological neasurs thought to be associated

Correlational approaches to research are described as passive designs in that a researcher explores how variables "covary"-how theil values do or do not change witlr each otheF-without any direct interventiolt or manipulatioD (Wampold, 2006). Social and persoualiry researchers rely on correlational methods because when an association between valiables is established, knowledge of one variable can be predicted from what is known about the other. Thus knowing where oDe person fajls on some rneaslrre of personaliry eiables a researcher lo preclict the likeiy value of some measure of anothcr telated variable, such as another measure of personality or sorne

-.76

is t]re same.

learn wirether ihe resulting associations make sense. Consider the case ofsocial dominance orienrnrion (SDO), a personality chiracteristic indicating the degree to which one prefers inequality among social groups (Pmttc, Sidanius, Stallworth, & Malle, 1994). For example, people high in SDO, such as avowed racists, would likely believe that their race is by deonition superior to-and by right should dominate-all other races. TlTose low in SDO, on the other hend, tend not to believe in any such sociai peckiog order, or thirt the sociery's "haves" should dictatc lvhat happens to thc "have nots." Using a correlational research design, Pratto a.,d colleagoes denoDstrated that kno\a'ing how people sco(d on a mensule of SDO was predlctive of a wide variery of the;r social and politicaL attitudes. The researchers developed a 14-item measure ofSDO. Participants read each item (e.g., "Some groups are simply oot the equals of others," "Some group are just inferior to others") and then ratcd it on a I to 7 scale (from I =uery negafiwtoT =very positive, fot a.atr:,plele copy ofthe measure, see Pratto et al., 1994). Different groups o[ particip^lrts compLeted the SDO measule and many other measures of social, political, and racial attjtudes, personllity scales, and demographic questiols. Table 5.2 shows correlations between scores on the SDO scdle and some selected social policy variables- These data are based on one of several samples included in Pmtto et al-'s (1994) study. As you can see, individuals who scored irigh on SDO hrd a positive preference for military programs, which emphasize the need tbr and mair tnirnce of distinctions among diiferent ranks of people. In contrast, high scores on SDO were inversely related to (negatively correlated with) policy issLles that tend to reduce or eliminate ba.riers by promoting the rights of miflority or clisadvantaged groups (here, gays and lesbians, women, and ethnic minorities). Look once more at Table 5.2: We have considered these data from the point ofvrer' of people who score high on SDO. The same correlations also predict the likely atti tudes of low scorers on this personaliry measure. People low in SDO wouid be less favorably disposed toward the hierarchical nature of the nilitary (a positive assocLs tion lowero one variable, lower on the other variable, as well) andfavorable towarcl

I
{

promoting the rights

of lninority groups

(negative associatiorls-lower

on

one

120

Alterruttives ta ExPerimental Resedrch

Alfernativ'.s

ta Experinental Resnrch

I)l

variable, ligher on the other). Among other hndings, Pratto et al. aiso found that men are nore likely to etpress a social dominance orieniation than women, that high-SDO peopie r.e cial\.n tc carccrs that are hierarchical (e.g., business, law enforcement), and that SDO was negatively correlated with rolerance, empathy with others, and altruism (for a broader discussion ofSDO, see Sidanius & Pralto, I999). There is, olcoursc, one major drawback to all correhtional research: Correlation does not indicatc causation. This is one ofthe grcat dictums of all science and ofspecial relevance to social psychology-social behavior is not alwa/s caused by the factors we articrpate. ln other lvords, the presence ofa positive or a negative associatign between two variables does not inform us about the actual origin-the cause----ofthe reiationship. Knowing that there is correlatioo betlveen one sample's scores on a measure of SDO (variabie;c) and any one ofthe policy variables shown in Table 5.2 (a variable 7) can be explained in ouc of threc ways: ia causeS /, / causes )i, or some unknown third variable-let's call it z-is causiDg the association between rc andy. We simply do not kaow lvhich of thesr directional accounts is the cofiect one. Thus conelations are interesting, suggestive, and often inte.pretable-thy can even point us in the right direction where answers can be found-but they do not offer causal accounts. As we learned in chapter 4 (and elsewhere ir this book), our best course ofaction for leaming how a chaoge rn one variable leads to the change in another is byjonducting a true experiment. Please noie thatwe are not ruiing out an important roie for orrelations-they often provide an overLooked insight or highlighr an issue that will eventually drive an entire experimental research program. We must, however, remember that correlatio[s onlv point to possible (and often competing) explanations that must be teased apart using

(or deny others the right to avail themselves of either) in order to examine subsequent declines in health and psychological well-being. You can imagine any nunrber of interesting i55ues (e.t., marriage, divorce, sexual orientation, adoption, health problem!) that preciude any assignmerlt lo a condition or state, lct alone random assienment. but can nonetheie!s be exarnined through correlatiorral means And, a5 we learned from the work by Pratto and collea8ues (1994) correlational research is often the choice method for exanlirring how an expressed personality trait can predict responses on related social variables, such as attitude5 toward certain groups (e.g., ethnicities) or issues (e.9.. affirmative action). As noted earlier, cofielational studies are not difficult to conduct; in fact, they are relatively inexpensive "PaPer and pencil" procedures Here are some straight' forward steps for executing a correlational study: Step one. You need to identify some personality trait of interest and then locate an existing instrument or Scale designed to measure il Table 5-3 lists some poPular traits for which various measLlres or scales exist in the sociai and personality P5ychology literature (this list is by no means an exhallstive one-list other traits you find or record them in your research notebook). Cood sources for personality traits (and occasionally some measures) include introductory text books on lhe lopic Alternatively, you can look 1n your library for reference works containing personal_ ity measures (e.g.. Robinson, Shaver, & Wrightsman, 1991) or search PsyclNFC) for references that provide personality gcales and scoring information Some p5y_ chology departments also maintarn files of pe15onality mea!ures students can Lise in their research (ask your instructor if such liles are availabl-" at your institution) Step two. Once you identity a personality traii of interest and locate an apPropriate scale or measure (note that shorter personality inventorie5 are generally easier to score), develop a queslionnaire containing items that you believe will be positively and negatively correlated with it. For example, if you were studying procrastination, you would want to know how many hours per week a person studied (or not). typical number of hours of sleep per night, how olten assignments are

other research methods-again, correlation does not imply causationThere are some advanced statistical approaches emplolng correlations that allow
researchers to infer causality under particular conditions. These approaches, calledstruc-

tural equation modeling (SEM) or causal modelinS, are beyond the scope of this book (see, e.9., Hoyle & Robinson,2004; Kenny, Kashy, & Bolger, 1998). SEM is a techlique for deciding howwell data representing a set ofvariables link to the h;potheses regarding causal connections among the variables. Social psychologists who use SEM build and
test 1nodeis to determine the presence, nature, and exlent ofcausai relationships amonS variables (c.g., does variable x cause a change in variable 1or does some other variable z mediate the relation between x and 1 see, for example, Breckler, 1990).

Table

5.3

Some Sampl PeAonality Traits Appropriate for


Correlational Research

ACTIVE LEARNJNC EXERCI5E 5B

lntrovelsion/extroversion Optimism
Self-consciousness

Self monitoring
Conscientiousneg! Agreeablenesg

Conducting a Correlational Study on Personality


Correlational studies are ideal for situations where experimental manipulations are either lmpossible or unethical. Researchers who study alcoholism or drufi abuse, for example, cannot require some people to consume liquor or lllegal substances

Ma5culinity/feminlnity/androgyny
Shyness

Procrastination SensaUon teeking

12.2 Alterndttrei ta Expe] inrefi!,1]

Re;enrall

Alteftlati|es to LtDerinental llesear|It )23 lVhen conducting any quasi-experiment, a social psychologist's chief coocern is

submitted past itre due date (where 1 = very inlrcquently to 7 - all the timd. and so on. Chapter 6 provides detaiied guidelines for writing questions and putting together qLrestionnaires. The questions you use should have numerical answers, whjch means that raijng scales, behavtor counts, or any self-report-based questions that have some range of valires can be correlated with one another and with scores on the personality
measLrre you select. Questions requirjng answers of ,,yes" and ,,no,, have a limited range of values, which means that they are not appropriate for conventional correlational anaiyses. you shouid also collect descriptive demographic information

intertal nlirlity, whether an observed demonstration of cause and effect is so.rrrd. When internal validity is high (i.e., few, ifany, design problcms exist), then ferv a1:ernative or competing explanalions are likeiy 1o account for some set of r'esults. A
researchts can be conEdent about the favored explanatiou. When internal validity is low, cerlainty is lorq any number of rival accounts could explain a set of findings. We will discuss the two types of validity-internal and external validily (whcfier obtai e(l results are generalizable to other settings)-in detail in chapter 9. Quasi-experiments are approximalions of true experiments, making the best of what can sometimes be a murky empirical situation. In fact, wl]en researchers condrlct quasi-experiments, they often substitute the term "treatment" or "intervention" in lieLl of using the term "irdependedt variable." Why? Very often a rescarcher will study some event over which experinrental manipulation is neither possible nor necessariLy desirable (e.g., assessing the health and edu.ational benefits ofa fiee breakfilst rroglirll for djsadvantage elemntary schoolchildren-rvouLd a control group be ethicall,v viable?). Similariy, instercl of assessing treatment effects by evaluating delrendent variables, quasi expcriments use the term "outcome variables" to renect the lack of precise control associated wjih true experiments. Like true experiments, however, quasi-experirnents can be multivnriate; more lhan one trealment and nlore thaD one or]taome ca., be evaluated in the sanre 6tudy. Quasi-ex!-.cr imental research is part of the legacy olDonaid T. Canpbcll, a brilLiant methodologjst and creative socialpsychologist. I mt the lilte, great Do., Cimpbell orl d llw pleasart occasions back i11 the Late i980s lvhen he lvas teaching nt r neighboring university. I once heard hirD quip that quasi-experinlents were sometinles "queasy"

about your participanis, such as age, sex, year in college, ma]or, or whatever jnformation seems relevant (tor more on demographic information, see chapter 5) Such information wrll allow you to characterize your sample for readers (see also the discussion of Method sections in chapter 12)
Step three. After yo\r have collected the measures, created a ques0onnaire packet, and copied, distributed, and then collected them from a padrcjpanI sampJe. all that
remarns is for you to code the data (per person) and enter it into a file. Correlatjonal analyses can then be quickly and easily performed using a statistical software package or a basic spreadsheet program (most,have a correlatjon option built into

them). Obtain a printout of the correlations and look for intere5ting associaiions that confirm or refute your thory about how the trait would be linked with the other self report iiems A rnore detaiied di5cussion of correlational analyses including reporting correiatjonai results in writien form,may be found in
chapter 11.

Quasi-Experimental Research Designs


Interesting research quesiions often precede thc availabiiit/ of ideal metlrods for study ing them. As we learned from Pennebaker and llarber,s ( 1993) effol ts on psycltosoci.il reilctions to natural disasters, however, social psychologists are flexible, learning what they can whenever antl rvherever thcy can. 1'he premise of this chapter is that con trolled or true experiments a.e not alwlys feasible ald, in any case, that there is no single, perfact research design. We now turn ro the original anticlote to the absence of empirical controi: quasi-experiments. A quasi experittrcnt is "close to but not quite,, an experiment bccause it lacks one or more ofthe following: experinlental cotrtrol, randon assignment to conclition, lacj( ofa representative control or comparison grorLp, and mxn;pu1x1ion ofan independent variable. As Wampold {2006) notes, any resenrh design that possesses on" o. -ora threats to validiq'is by de6nition a qLrasi-cxperiment. Threats to validity are design flaws or nrethodological limirations reduciog the con6dence researchers
piace in their

experiments. By that he meant their results could be "unsettiing," that reseiuchers using quasi-experimental designs in certain setlings could never be altogether cerl]]lr about the trlLe nature of the cause and effect reiationships. Some interesting behil!ior that looked io be causcd by one variable miglrt very lvell be due to the onforc5ccn influence of another vdriabie, some artifact of the research design, the hck ot arr adequate control or comparison group, or anorher uncontrollabie quality inherent to the
reSearch,

What are hardworking social psychologists to do? Give in to frustration and rethiiji the virtues of pursuing a topic, or reconcile thelnselves to the vagaries oF l esearch lil'e
beyoDd the serenity and control ofthe lab? I think thnt the better part of reseerch valor is lo press on and conduct the research. Quasi-experimental designs ale not ideal-

ability to orake inferences based on research results

after all, they are not purcly exper-inreltal-but they offer a lnore constructive solution than deciding not to pllrsue a question. An investigator mxy not learn the tl1le state of affairs regarding some phenomenon, but sone insights will bc learned. ln some cases, a clever researcher can build a theoretical case by combining results obiained from a mix of experimental and qrrasi-experimental investigations. Carrpbell and his coileagues published a series of very important works on qLrr\iexperimental and experimental research designs (Campbell & Stanley, 1966; Cook & Canpbell, 1979; Shadish, Cook, & Canrpbell, 2001). These are arnong the nlost usetirl

124 t\llr

ctivcs to Experimental Research

Altenatives t0 Experimenhll

Resea

:h l)5

books on researctr design in psychology and the other social sciences. We cannot review ail oftheir insights on methodology,let alone quasi-experiments, due to space constraints. Instead, our review of quasi-erperimental designs will be highly selective. !Ve r-il1 consid.r son'le examples froln each ofthe rwo main design categories identilied by Cook and CampLrelt (l979): nonequivalent group designs and time-series designs. Other designs can be found in the books by Campbell and his colleagues.

Nonequivalent group designs


Nonequivalent group designs involve two or more groups, at ieast one of which is exposed to some treatmenl, In the ideal case, the groups compiete the same outcome rncasure before and after the treahnent occurs, so that any change can be docufiented. Give! thal randoln assignnient to a group nlay not be feasible, the groups may differ tiom onc arother at the study's outset (he[ce thc label "nonequivalent"). F'urther, the treatrnent m:ly be naturaily occurring (like the Lornn Prieta earthquake) or it may be c.iiltiolLcd bv someone other than an experimenter (e.g., layoffs instituted as 0n ecorlonric rneasLire by a corporation). When no randomiy assignd control group exists, researchers sometimes create a nonequivalcnt control or conparison grouF Pennebaker and Harber (1993), for example, compxred the earthquake responses ofDajlas residents (who were completel), unaile.i.d) to thosc ofSat't Franciscans whose lives were disrupted- The design problem is obr.ious: Thc neorbers of the control or contparison group may not be from the san1e population as the treatment group. On the other hand, one can argue that even a nonequivalerlt corltrol elroup is bettr thau no control group whatsoever (however, exceptions to this rule e-{ist; see, e.g., Pennebaker, Barger, & Tiebout, 1989). ID diagram lblnr, this nonequivalcnt control design-labeled the untreatcd control group design with n prctest and a posttest (see Cook & Campbell, 1979)-looks like this:

maturation, testing, instrumentation; these svstematic risks to veri$'ing that change is attributnble to an iddependent variablc and not some uncontrolled or random factor are discussed in detail in chapter 9; sce pp. 237-239\. Two other tlrreats-mortality and selection-still pose a problem, however (see p. 239 iri chapter 9). Wh4t happens when no reasonable contiol group exists? Some researchers emplot severai di fferen t comparison gioups. Baum, Gatchel, and Schaeffer ( 1983), for example, used a design called the posttest only desigo witlr nonequivalent groups (Cook & Campbell, 1979) which, when diagramed,looks like this:

or

ol ol
o1

The researchers examined the stress responses of people residing near Pennsylva' nia's Thre Mile Island (1Ml) nuclear reactor. wher-. a reiatively serious industrial accident occurred in the late 1970s. As with any accident, there was no forewarning, so Baum et al. could do no pretesting to establish that groups were similar before the event (i.e., the taeatment) occurred. Three comparison groups were formed: One group lived near a functioning I]uclear polver plant, anothei close to a coal-fird power generator, and a third resided over 20 miles away lrom any energy facility. Why bother gathering such groups? As with an ideal (randomly assigned) control group, Baum and colleagues wanted to rule out rival explanations for the physical and psychological

o
ol

o: o,

STmbolically, the Os represent a pretest outcome measure (O,) and a posttreatment outconre measure (O1). The single X in the upper half of the diagram indicates that the treatmeot was presented to one group after the first ottcome measure. Ihe second group (the bottom half of the diagram) serves as the (noncquivalent) control group, which corl]pletes outcome masures at the same points in time. The broken line indi cates that the two grorps were created without the benefit of randomization. The design is by no neans ideal; you can easily imagine maD/ different ways the groups can ciifier fiorn orle another besides t-he one of interest, the effects on the treatmnt -fhe eroup's posttreatment outcome. key here is whether the cootrol group cafl be sho\^/n to shalc any common experiences with the treatment group. If yes, then sweral of the threats to lhe internal validity of this design pose no problem (i.e., history,

reporied by the lMl residents. What about vaiidity concerns? lntewiew data from all fort groups were gathered simultaneously, thereby eliminatirrg worries about five major validity thteats: history, maturation, testing, instrumentation, aod mortality (again, see pp.237-239 in.hapret 9). lhe threat ofselection bias-the possibility that members ofthe treatment grouF haii from a different population than the control or comparison groups-remained, however, as is often the case in any nonequivalent control Sroup design. The decision to use more than one compa(ison group was an effort to rule out selection bias as ir threat to the study's intenral vaiidity.
stress

Time series designs


Time serjes designs are a form of repeited nreasures or within-subject designs: The same measure is adrninistered to the sam Sroup at several points in time (see chapter 4). One difference bet'.,/een this tt?e of quasi-experimert and a standard exferiment

l:6

Alternatli.a:s to Experinntal Ilesearch

Altcmatt!t,, to Espr in,e'i:a!

I?,rr,r,rl Il-

*\
e
3
275

:l E

2s0

Averase dairy numbe,

orT;tlJill,"j.",, 0,,"".o

Flvidenc. lrom an inter.upted rime series design: The effects of charging for.clirector/ rssistance in Cincinriri, Ohio. .Soame: Fiture 6.1 in Shadish, Cook, Crinpi.tt 1ZOOZ, p 175), based on Mcsweeny (1978)

Figure

5.1-

"*n,"""".

'51 '52 ',53 54 ',55 '56 '57 '58


Sorrccr Canrpbell ( 1969, p.413)

'59

figure 5..1. Interrupted tirne series dcsigr: )righwa/derths in Connecticlrt fiom 1951 to 1959.

is that the tine frame is usually much broader_days, weeks, or even months between measures, rather than minutes. A second difference is the lack ofcontrol

participants experience between the adnlitiistaations of the ineasures. And, just true of soDle nonequivalent group designs, there may be no control
8rouP.

ever what
as was

o, ao,rrpor,ron

The most basic time series design is rhe inrerrupted time series design (Cook & ^ Campbell, 1979), where a single treatment ,.interrupts,,numerous ub."."*tion, col lected f.om one population or group_ in diagram foim, the design looks iike
this:

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o,

o,

(f5 x

oo o, os o,

o,u

The choice of l0 outconre observations is arbitrary; however, more rather than fewer measures ale apt to lend credence to any arguments supporting observed cha gcs. Figlue 5.3 illustrates a clever demonstration <lf rhe inierrupled time series design. Mcsweeny ( L97B) examirlecr the effect of cincinnari Bell's charging a zo ..nt r." to, local ciirectory assistance calls. As showrl io !-igure 5.3, lnposir[ tie fee (treatInent)

1974 ied to a shnrp and steep decline in the number ol directory assisred cai1s. Even in the absence ofa controi groLrp, Shadish et l. (2002) suggest that few plausible livirl explanations can reasonrbly account for the tlrop in calls. Campbell (1969) himself offered what is one of the most elegant dernonsrr:rtions ofthe irterrupted time series design. In 1955, Connecticut began a concelted eflbr t to stop speediog on its major highways. A reduction in highways deaths followed: only 284 fatalities in 1956 compared to 324 in 1955. Did better policing of the stare's higirways lead to close to l3olo fewer deaths? Campbell used the interrupted time serLes design to exanine the highway deaths in Connecticut ftom 1951 ro 1959 (see Figure 5.4) and answer this question. A drop did occur once the treatment was int.odltced, but the decline in mortality rates is not very convincing wben you consider how r arrable the rate was over the 8-year period (see Figure 5.4). To address the variabilitl problem, Campbeli (i969) used a variarion on rhe bnsic interrupted time series design, ol1e with a control group: the interrupted time series with a nonequivalent no-tratment control group time series (Cook & Campbell, 1979). Adrnittedly a mouthful to say, the design looks like thisl

in

I2E

Alternat;Es io Experinental Research

Abernatwes t0 Expetinrcnta! Researdt 129

SurveY Research
'17

16

Surve,v research is predicated on a basic idea: If you want to linow what people think about ggrne rssue, iui,t ask them. Srrrvey rese.rr.l! entails the creation and dissemination

r5
14

Ig
E
3
12
11

of self leport questionnaires designed to gaLrge people's thouglrh and feelings about something-a political (e.g., imntigration, foreign policy) or social (e.g., drug use) issue, an experience (e.g., qtuiity of serwice in a hotel), or an idea (e.g., changing a school's mascot). Our review of survey researcir will necessarily be brief because chapter 6 is devoted to a detailed discussion ofcreating questionnaires and conducting
survey research.
Survey research takes place out in the field afld nol in the controlled settiDg of the laboratory. Surweys can be conducted by handing or maiiing our questionnaires, irrterviewing people in person or by phone, or having them submit resPonses over lhe I[ternet. Most surveys have a sin'ilar goaii adequateiy describing the reactions of a representative sample ofpeople from sonre larger populatior (e.g., residents ofa lo!vn, a city, a state, or a country; students who attend a Particolar schooi; regisleled voters;

10

'51 '52 '53 ',54 ',55 ',56 '57 '.58 '.59


Figuie 5.5. lnterrupted tinre series design with control groups: Highway deaths in Connecticut and four control states hom 1951 to 1959. Sorrce: Campbell (1969, p.419)

retirees living in an assisted lir.ing tacility). Naturally, having access to a landom sample of survey participants generally strengthens a researcher's corr6dence rn any conclusions drawn from it (recail the discussion of sanrpling issues in chapter 4i see also chapter 6). One of the striking characteristics of a good survey is that a researcher really only needs drornd 1,200 responses (assuming they were randootly gathered) in order to adequately portray the generaj opinion ofsome PoPulation ln fact, whether theyare nntionaL or local in scope, tnost such survevs can clainr a 95olo level of conddence in characterizing the opinion held by the popularion of interest (usually with an error rate of around only 39/o). There is one inPortanl Point to keeP in mind about such survey reslllts-the data represent public opiniorr at one nronent in tinle; thus the knowledge gained reflects culrent feelings and not necessarill a valid prediction OpiniorT changes, often swiftly, which is one ofthc reasons that public opinion polling during the months leading up to elections is doDe so frequently

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His clevei solution was to examine the bighway mortaliry rates fiom fosr similar states that did not institute speeding reduction programs during the same time period. Figure 5.5 superimposes the death rates for the four control states over that for Connecticut. As you can see, the number ofdeaths in rhe control states is relatively steady across the 8-year period, whereas Connecticut's rare deciines fairly steadily once the speeding interveotion ensued. In short, the new policy ofpolicing the highways led to a lower mortality rate (bearing in mind, as Campbeli did, that other influences were no doubt also at work). Evidence for the decline in highway deaths, however, was less tenable without the support provided by the time series design. The alternative designs we reviewed so far have largely been behavior based. Instead of only observing what people do and inferring the cause of outcornes, what if we ask tirem directly why they do what they do?

pploac hcs to surveying opinion

Surueys are either cross-sectional or lolrgitudinal. A ctoss-sectio al su tey is designed to coilect responses from one or moLe 'samples of people at one Point in time. The aforementiond electioll-oriented suneys are usualiy cross-sectional. In the weks and

days leading up to an election, different samples composed of different voters are srrrveyed at different times in ordr to poltray the electorate's opinions Lotrgilwlinal J rtels contact and collect respoDses from the same sample of People at more than one point in time. The goal is to assess attitude ol opinion changes across tintc (e g, do peopie feel differently about health irrsurallce before and afier retirement?)

130 Alterllitives

ta Experinrcntal Research

Ahet ctires

to E peritnenta!

Pesearch ),1'
ii

Experience Sampling Nlethods and Diary Approaches


What ifyou cornpleted a short su.ve), about yourself-what you,,vere doing, thinking, and feeiing, for instance-at severai points during the day? What would these mini_ assessments reveal about you? An interesting variation of survey-oriented research is called tlre E-tpclierrre Sn npling Methorl (ESM; e.g., Csikszentnihalyi, 1997; Csikszentmi hall & Larson, 1937; Moneta & Csikszenrmihaif, 1996). pioleered by Mihaly C,sikszentmihalyi (pronounced "Me high Chick-sent.ne-high-ee,'), ESM uses a pager or programmabLe watch (a "Personal Datir Managet" or pDM can work as well) to alert participants as to when they must stop what they are doing ro fill out a few pages in a research pamphlet-a mi|i-diary, reaily--already in their possession. Csikszentmihalyi
and his colleagues usirally program the pagers to ring randomly during trvo-hour blocks of time throlrghour norrnal waking hou ls (say, 7anl ro I t pm.-a week of these diary entries fiLls over 50 pages). When the pager sounds, participants record where they are, their current actioDs or ictivities, and who is ,vith them. participants also rate their

ing, if often solitary, game. Flow never happens when we are watching television lo. example. lronicaily, howeyer, if we erjoyourwork a great deal (i.e., our work is play), we often find flow there but not always in pursuit of leisure time activities that are supposed to be linked to our well-beiD8 (e.g., sunbathing around the pool).
.t ACTIVE LEARNINC EXERCISE

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Conducting an ESM Study


Can you conduct an ESM study? cerlainly. According

f'

to Punzo and Milier (2002)

"consciousness" at that nromejtt using close,ended, numerical scales tbr self-esteem, happiness, concentration, motivatioll, and other self-report indicators of emotion and well being. Other opeo-ended questions (e.g., "What,ryere you thilkirg abo ut when the beeper souorlcd?') are often included (Hektner & Csiks?eDtmihalyi, 2002). What do these brief i)ut repetitivc snnpshots in time revcal about people, their conscious statcs, :rnd thcir social doings? Csikszentnriha,lyi (1992) Dotes that la.ge caches olobscrvations fronl differcnt people allolv inyestigators to poltray the naturc of dailv life. Traditional e\periments oj.slrweys cal)tlire a monent in tirne (i.e., a cross-sectionalapproiLcl) ) not nlitDy nlornents across r rrlnljYely short pcriod oftinte (with the exception, of coulse, of sone rvithin-subjecrs Jcsigns; see chaplcr 4). yet this form oflongitudinal work is decidedly diflereDr than most long-term stuclies-r week of fiequcnt recolds is different tban mcasur ing peopie's responses only once a month, :r fc\v linre\ r ycJr, or rcro(, mrny ye:rts. For exanrple, ESM hr: been uscd to exemine affect (Schimmack, 2003), emotion (Scollon, Diener, Oishi, & Biswas-Diener,2004), nttitudes ibou t wo.k and Ieisu re (Csikszentmihall & LeFevre, I9g9), gender and af6li ation tendencies (Wong & Csikszentoihalyi, 199I), relationships and family life (Larson & Richards, 1994), even driving (Csikszentrnihalyi & LeFevre, 1989), aruong olher topics.

student-conceived and run ESM studies are not difficult to conduct. These researchers had students from two of their cJasses examine a normal week in the life of a teenager. The teen participants were given electronic beepers and were "paEed" at random times. Once a beeper went off, the participants completed some scales and an5wered some questions. Punzo and Miller's (2002) student researchers used one of two institutiohaily owned beepers (i.e., numeric display pagers) that could transmit signals across wide distances. Pairs of student researchers borrowed a pager for a day or br'r'o, giving it to a teen participant to carry around along with copies of the experience sampling form (EsF; Csikszentmihalyi & Larson, 1984). A sample SF is shown in Table 5.4

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ft

li

Table

5.4

A Sample Experience Sample Form

(ESF)

fr
Daie:

lifie

beepedi

Time filled

o!t:

V,/hat were you thinkjng about?

fl
ll

What was the main thint you were do ng? Who were you with? Please choose one of the follownt responses for each question hclow ,nd write the oumbeB in the blanks: 1 = none/not at all 2 = a liitle
3 = rnoderatly

Csikszentmihalyi's key interest is often to illustrate those moments iD our lives


where we becone wrapped up in tasks that are chalienging and engaging, where we become so focused on what we are doilg that we overlook the passage of time. He calls these sorts ofpeak experiences the "flow effect" or simply.,flow', (Csikszentmih alyr,1997). Such moments are apt to ocur when a task requires a high degree ofsicill and a suf.ficient level of comnitment, and ESM studies reveal ,ue hupliest when lve arc in the midst of flow experiences (for a list ofother quaiities ",i associated with the flor,v experience, se Csikszentmihah, 1997). What makes them of ilterest to social psychologists is that flow nloments often occur outside Lrsual venues for social interac_ tion*saf, when a person is writing o. playing a nlusical instrument oa some interest

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u/ere you rnaking progress on a task? Were you relating well wrth someone?
Did you feel posiiive emotions? Were you concentrating? v1/as it hard to concentrate?

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la2

Aitert,triws io :).Perinental Research


write

A[tetitcttives to Expennertutl Resedrclt I33


a short sketch of lher] lite. This accornt shor.rld no! contain mote ihan wo to three hundredwordsandshouldbewrittenonasinSlesheetof paper. -. includeplaceofbirth, parentage, interestirll aod ediSing cvents ofchildt{ood, schools attended, influences that

Usi.g this samp e form a5 a template, you can create an ESF designed to learn about lhe typical sociai experiences of a group of people. You might, for examPle, explore the experiences of fraternity or sorority members, commuter students, stLrdent athletes, or representatives from 5ome other on-campus grorJps. Each ESF should contain the sa.ne set of open-ended questions, rating scales, checklists, or other psychoiogicai measures-jLJrt keep it to two pages or less. Your research padiciPants must be ab e to complete the ESF quickly. What if you do not have access to a pager or oiher beeper device? You will need to be creative. what other small, portable, and hopefully inexpensive devices could be pressed into service as proxy beepers? Some digital watches have built in alarms, as do cell phones. Alternatively, you could call participants'cell phones at random tjmes- When they answer, identiiy yourself and ask them to complete the a5F (a variation is for the researcher to call participants at random times and interview them via the cell phone, eliminating the need to provide participants with ESF packets). For more ideas on planning and running an ESM study, see Punzo and Miller (2002), Csikszentmihalyi and Larson (1984), Reis and Cable (2000), or Hektner and Csikszentmihalyi (2002). IJ yc,r prefer to follow a low-tech route, then you could have parlicipants follow morc oi a drary approach. They would agree'to complete ESF-like measures at certain times during the day or even just once a day, but they have to remind the.nselves when it is time to complete the measures- lf you elect to follow the once-a'day option, then your approach would be consistent with the idea underlyjng most Ciaries or private journals, which serve as a repository for individualsl confrdent ai thoughtJ, feelings, and recollections about the events of some period of tirne, usually a day. As we will see, social and personality psychologists also make u5e of existing diaries.

led to the convent, religious life. anJ orrtstanding events, (Dannet et al., 2001, p. 806)

Daor$r and colleagues (2001) riecided to

expl<-rre

the possible association btween

written enrotional expression in the one page diary and longevity (when this study
started, thc nuns in the sample were an average of 83 years old). The diarics were coded for emotional coritent (e.g., use of positive, negative, or nettral words). What made the group ofnuns interesting was thei. similarir'' to one another: They had comparable social, (non)marital, and reproductive lives; had the same socio-economic status and access to medical care; and neither smoked nor drank excessive amounts of alcohol. Of course, these sinilarities also preclude generalizinE; any findings to othr groups.

Did written emotions predict longevity? Indeed, they did: Positive ernotional content was strongly associated with lower mortaiily risk. In other words, those nuns who expressed their thoughts and feelings using positive words were more likely to be aiive and well almost 60 years later than their counterParts who used more negative language. Optinristic outlooks are linked with longer lives (Peterson, Seligman, Yurko,
Martin, & Friedman, 1998).
Given the use of oid records as keys to psychologicalstates, the Danner et al. (2001) study could also qualifu as a form of archival research (see below). However, I elected to place it in this section ofthe chapter because our locus here i5 oIt the role ofsocial information gathered at a key point in tinre in diary fornr' For a broader discussrorr of issues pertaiDirrg to the measurenrent of daily event and exPeriences, see Stone, Kessler, and Hay$orn$waite ( l99l ). Both ESM and other diary approaches rely on researcltcrs to recruit or track dorvn participants. we now turn to an alternative apProach_-the Internet-that encournges would-be participants to seek out research opportullities.

Internet-Based Research
Dear diary: An examPle
'fhe ESM can be thought of as a sort of diary approach, as research ParticiPatts are keeping daiiy (or even more frequent) records of their doings. A traditional diary,
horvever, is a place to .ecord private reflections. Psychologists have shown interest in learnir,g rvhetier what people write in their diaries at one poilt in time not only clurracterizes thcir experience then, but how this early (recorded) expe ence alfets their future lives. Danner, Snowdon, and Friesen (200I), for example, exan'tiued handwritten, onepage autobiographies flonr 180 Romal Catholic nuns, which were written when the women were around 22 years oid. These women were part of the Nun Study ofaging ancl Alzheimcr's disease (e.e., Snowdo|r, 1997). Specilicaily, in 1930, as each nun took her 6nai vows sl,e was asked to: The Internel has truly changed everything- Knowledge about anything and everlthirrg (and no doubt some things we wouid be better off not knowing) is literally at our fin gertips. The advent of the Internet-the World Wide Web of compr.rters-has also atfected social psychological research Partici!'ants need not ever darken the door of a psychology department in order to lake Part in a piece of research lnstead, they can be virtual participants, electing to take part in online investigations or surveys ol human social behavior. In fact, participants can decide when and, thanks to wircless access to the lnternet, even where they take part in lnlernet-based research-they might be right next door or they might be iIr Nicaragua or the PhilipPines. As Fraley (2004) exFlaills, virtualiy ary piece of psychological research that can be dore with a traditional paper and pencil approach ca8 be put online (see also DillInan,

If4

Altetnatiws lo Experirtenttil Reraolah

A lte I n!:ttires

ta LrperimentaL

R.esea rci

135

2000). The real boon fbr researchers is that participant resporses can be directly entered into an existing and eve.-grotving data base. There is no need to laboriously read, code, and copy information ftonr a questioDnaire for eotry into a computer_all that time and roil is gone because participants q?e in or othenyise select their respoDses, r'hr.h ar< i.rued by ar,d in ro softwrre.

diverse, which can enhance claims that the results from a given research effort possess generalizability (this desir.able, empiricai criterion, aiso krowl as external validity, is djscussed in chapter 9). The Internet also allows investigators to:

but to act globally (collecting responses from participanrc from all over the worid). This adrantage reduces leliance on the traditiotlal college sophomore samples (recall the discussion of homogeneous participait samples in chapier 4), meaning that the participants in rnany (any) o ine social psychology p.uj".ts are likely to-be more

Interlet-based research also aliows social psychologists to think locally (on campus)

deception that can be dealt with in a face-to-face encounter in a iab is one thing {suclt mild deception is acceptabie to many participants; see Epley & Huff, 1993), but deceiv ing someone for whom there is no opportunity foi direct discussion about the need foI intentional "dishonesty" is quit another. The seaioLls concern here is that without an expepioenter-to-participant encounter, which is precluded by online research, it is virtually' impossible to determine how the use ofdception will affect participants. !-or social psychologists employing the Intemet, it is better to be safe than sorry u,hfle participant welfare is concerned. However mlld it may seen, the best poiic)- is to ir'. oid any level of deception when planning or implementing Internet-bascd research-

Time, participant loss, and sampling issues


short anrouot ol or even tradidoral 6eld setting, the prordmity and presence oI xn in\ estigator can probably encourage respondents to complete a whole packet of qucstionnaires. Online survets are a different matter, however. ifan Internet-based suryei- takes too long to complete, then participants may simply quit the program. To discourage premature depdrtures, Fraley (2004) suggests that no online study should take utore th0n l0 n1inutes or so to finish. As an aside, I completed an online survev recentlv that continr.rally graphed rny pro{ress throuBh the rnaterials-as I mo!'ed forwarcl to each subsequent Fage, a bar advanced so that I could gauge how close I was to being finished- I confess that without this ifldicator of ary progress, I might have quit early. What aborLt pirrticipant loss or "dropout" during online surveys or investigationsi Should orline researchers be concerned? Absoluteiy. Such participant loss-often labeled "mortality"-poses a threat to a study's validity (see chapter 9). SpeciGcrrlly, particjpants irre much more likely to drop out, that is, quit the online stlrdv L.efbre it is over, than those who tzrke part in traditional,lab-based research projects. The reason lirr worry is a standard one: Perhaps ihe people who drop out are somehow dillerent frorn those wlio remain, potentially biasing the intact data that renain. AlthoLrgh the probleo can never be entirly avoided, one solution loted by Fmley is to collect infornration (e.g., sex, age, education, and other uscful demographic char.Lcteristics) about all respondents early on, in the opening pages of an online experience. Lxier, you can compare the deftographic data collected froot subsequent dropouts with th:1t from the individuals who completed the experiment, to assess any between-grorrp differences (e-g., nren teDded to drop out compared to women). Detailed discussion ofthe d.opout problem is available in work by Frick, Bachtiger, and Reips (200i ) and by Knapp and Heidingsfelder (2001). In a related vein, Vaux and Briggs (2005) note that researchers unknowingly increase their own dropout rate by sending suweys in the body of emaii messaies instead of creiting websites where the surveys can be accessed and completed. Surweys in email messages often lose their original formatting, which mal<es them difficrrit to read or recreatc, thereby discouraging recipients from bothering to fill ol.lt and .eturn thern. Like a high tiropout rate, a lowered response rate reduces a researcher's conh,:lence in the daia that are obtained (see Dlllman, 2000; Salant & Dil-lman, 19941.

All

else being equal, Internet-based research should take a relatively


a lab

. . . . ' ,

tine. In

Ernploy web-based questionnajres containing rating scales, checklists, and open or fiee responses; Conduct experinents oniine fronr start (instrLrcrions) to finish (debrieling); Randomize the order in which stirnuli, questions, images, o. text appears; Randomly assign e participant to an expe-ttmental conditionj Measure retction or response tirne, that js, how long a particl)ant takes to coDt, plete (c.g., reason throogh, ansrvcr) a pr()blenr or qLrestion; Store particip.lots' responses and prepdre them for irnalysis.

Ilternet ethics
Because people are involved, lnternet research is like any other form of research in social psychology; Certain erhical obligations nrust be uret. Anyone who elects to patticipale in an oniine projcct, for example, must co plete an infornred consent form (see chapter'3). Problenrs associaLed with onlile research, hr.rwever, include ensurrrrg that participants are old enough ro participate and whether tinle was taken to actually

reid the informed conseit fo l bet'bre ..signing,, it, that is, proceeding with the experi_ ment or questionnairc. Obviously, any web based project tnust pass muster with an IRB (recall chaptel,3). Ruies var7, however, as noted by Fraley
i:OO+): mostly r firmality, tbr trvo reasons. The first is that Internet patticipation is ftrlly volun_ tary; research subjects can withdralv, quite lirerally, from the rsearch at any time. The second inrportaDt faclor is that we do not collct personal identrfyiog iDformation fronr ou! rsearch subjects. Ir other words, we have no way of knowint fiom whom the dara conre. Fo. my universiry, whcn our research violares thcse tuo condirions, we musr su[:mit nrore complex protocols to ihe lRB. (Fraley,2004, p.274]

At the Universiry of lllinois at Chicago, getring IRB approval for Irternet

research

is

dlso , avorded, thereby he

Fraley (f004)

reirerrtjnq it cl;rim made earlier in this book (see chapter 3). Mild

ggests rhat u!ing deception online is not a gootl idea and should

i36

Abenratlr3 ta Lxpero ental Research


Table

Aiter atiws to ExPeriltEntil Research

137

Who takes part in lrtemet-based research and how do we krrow? Do Internet


sarnples differ fron the gpical sarr,ples of people who take l.art in social psychology studies? We already noted tbat keeping track ofparticipant demographics early in rhe online experience is one way to learn aboul who starts, who linishes, and whether these groups differ in meaningful or consequential ways. Fraley (2004) suggests an obvious

5.5

Some Advantages and Disadvantages


Psychology

of

Intemet-Based Research

in

Social

possibiliv: Stick with your same participant population but have them participale online. Although inelegant, this solution ensures that you are recruiting trom your local and tipical participant sample.
What we do know about broader Internet samples is that they are apt to attract a more restricted audience (at least for trow and the foreseeabie future) than traditional research. 1he reason is that people who have access to the Internet are likely to be
befter educated and somewhat more lechnically savry than the avenge person (Reips, 2000). As the Internet becomes even more common in daily life, this difference irr sophistication among samples will likely disappear. Fraley (2004) believes, however, that under the right couditions, htemet samples can be superior to the haphazard samples most social psychologists rely upon. Online respondents can be anticipated to dernonstiale a greater range ofages, income levels, careers, and coultries oforigin. ':, suirpori of this view, Var.rt and Briggs (2006, p. 190) claim that, "As more people gain access to the Internet, samples of Internelusers will become increasingly repre sentative of the general population." Tabie 5.5 summarizes some of the advantages and disadvantages of Internet-based reseaich and data collection. Before you commit to launching an online social psychol'ry projcct, be sure the benefils associated with doing so outweigh the costs involved. L:irlcss you aheady possess some programming skills or are familiar with wcb site design, using the Interoet for a research project in social psychology may be a considerable undertaking. Still, use of th Internet is becoming more comnlon in social scicnce research and some very good "how to" works are available (Birnbaum, 2001; Dillnan, 2000: Fraley, 2004). LeCs consider an example of how some psychologists used the Inieanet to characterize and capture people's rcactiolrs to a fateful moment in time.

Sorrc srrrrples re.g.. computer u5ct.., (olrege fu,ult1 and <rudents arc I'ighr' r' Prescrt tire' so e, ntializins beyon.l them is unn"-tt t' y Data collection can be speedy and less error Prone than traditional melhods' Materials are virtuxl rather than physjcal (i e-, no paper needed) Internet su.veys can b cheaPer to conduct and analyze than traditional surveys' Internet surveys and exPeritnents can ren.h or .titract more people than tri(litional methods' Participants can take part in research in their ow-n time (e'g Fewer item completion errors or skipped items a.e asso'iaied with online surveys
'

Kiesler & Sproull, 1986).


Responses on

tle Inte(net

are often honst and lcss susceptiL'le to social desirability bias (e 8 '

Dilimxn, 2000; Kiesler & Sprouil, 1986)


Drsatlvantages

Lack of genuine social irtteraction. Participants cannot ask an experimenter any questions or for helP Delivery of participant incentives (e g , course credit, rnodest remuneration) is difficnlt' Lack ofsimilarity to everyday life or experiences (tow in mundane realism; see chapter 9)
Snmples a.e not necessarily random

S.mples may not be represent.ltive of PoPul'tion of interest Sta(-up costs can prohibit Internet_based research Lack of computer skills in a researchcr crn inhitrit lntrnet_bnsed rcsearch Anrpl prctesting ofonline experinrents and surweys is sonrctimes needed

An Internet-based example: Online character pl e and


post September 11, 2001
Peterson and Seligman (2001) used an online survey to assess whether Arnericans changcd following rhe terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The presence ofsome chan6e in ,A.mcricar attitudes (e.g., "People in the United Siates have forever changed") was voiced rcpeatedly in the days following the loss of tlre World Trade Center towers, the crash oi Flight 92 in Pennsylvania, and the damage and loss of life sustained at the Pentagon. As data were collected before and after the anack, the resealchers were able to determine whether-as popular lore rvould have it-citizens becanre nicer, nTore spiritural, and more affectionate people. For their part, Peterson and Seligman also u'ondered ifpcople devcloped less pessimistic or more cou.ageor:s outlooks, and ifso, tbr how long.

As part ol their reseaich prograrn in positive psychology' thcse lwo resear'hers (YIA) Clnssifcn developed a measure of people's positive traits, the vdlues i Actio Peterson and Seligrnan argue tiafis of Strengths (see also Peterson & Seligman, 2004)' that the presence of positive traits (c g., bravery, Sratitude, self-control) within an individual enable him or her to have positive exPeriences The authors creatcd an online version ofthe VIA so that they could collect suf6ciellt self rePort data to veriry the instrument's validity (see chapter 9). Between January 2001 and tLrnc 2002, 4,817 people completed a version of the VIA (see the list in Table onliDe. The Vlr\ measures People's responses to 24 characier traits ParticiPaits read an item anrl then 5.6).'len different items assess each strength respondtoitofla5-pointraiingscale(wheteI=rctln rch Lo ikctnelo5=rer.vn1ucl1 t a!1d then li&e rlre).'Iable 5.6 shows the average scores on the VIA before Seprtenrber 1 one and two months later (note that ihe responses shotr, here are based on a sub sample of 1,396 people). Did p"opl" represented in the sample change in the aftermath of Septeruber 1l' a posirive 2001? P;te;son and Seligman (2003) for.rnd that saven strengths showed

138 .\lie/iat;vct
Table

ta Exoerinental Research

A[Lernativts to Experinentdl

]ieseat;h

139

5.6

Character Srrcngths Before and Afrer Septcmber l

lth: Mean

Scores

on the Values

in ,{crion hventory ofStrentrhs

Mean i
Mean before 9/ I t

lv{ean 2

after 9/11
(n = 2es)
3.8 3

Trnit
Appreciation ofbeauty
Bravery

(n=906)
3.7s (0.66)
1.63 (0.s8)

months after 9ltl (|! = les)


3.80 (0.62) 3.12 \0.62) 3.87 (0.62) 4.08 (0.55) 3.98 (0.s1)

(0.66)

Creativiry, ingenuir,/ Curiosiry, iniercst Equity, fairness Graritude i'Iope, optimism Industry, perseverance Integrirv, honesty ludgrnent
Kindness Leadership

3.73 (O.7 rJ 3.99 (0.5s)

70 (0.58) 3.75 (0.66)


4.03 (0.s4) r.9s (0.48) 4.02. (0.58)

3.9r (0.5i)
3.83 (0 59) 3.56 (0.6/-) 3.60 (0.64)
_1.94

1.01. (0.s7)
3.804 (0.67)

3.68* (0.66)
3.67 (0.68) 3.97 (0.47) 1.98 (0.50)
3.99+ (0.47\

3.7s* (0.6s)
4.03 (0.49)

(0.46)

'j 92 10.49) ).87 lA.s2) 3.62 (0.54)

Lovc of le!Lning Lovc, intinacy Perspective, wisdonr PRrdence, caution Self control

l.8a

(0.64)

3.8S (0.s3)

"

Socirllntelligence Spirituility, faith


Modesty'
Forgiveness" Plal.fulness"
ZesC

J.79 (0.53) 3.48 (0.s7) 3.28 (0.61) 3.70 (0.5s) 3.16 (0.88) 3.48 (0.54)
3.26 (0.66)

r.73+ (0.s3) 1.87 (0.6r) 4.02r (0.57) 3.8r (0.49) 3.s2 (0 s5)
3.30 (0.53) 3.76 (0.s2) 3.s74 (0.8t) 3.651 (0.5J) 3.33 (0.64) 3.34 (0.66) 3.86 (0.s9) l.s8 (0 65)

4.03. (0.s6) 4.01r (0.sr) r.78. (0.s8) 3.87 (0.66) 4.0s* (0.s3)
3.86 (0.s.1) 3.s4 (0.64) l.l l (0.6s)

worlds were changed, and they reported acting and feeling in ways mant to create connections with people in days and weeks followinlj the event. Several months e.ter the events of September li, subsequent responses to the VlA indicatecl thar sclfreported strengths aating recded somewhat. ThesElnternet balcd data are only suggestive, of course. peterson and Seligman (1003) happened ro hare rhis project up and rLtnning for a different purpose-lilie Pennebaker (e.g., Pennebaker & Harber, I993; Pennebaker & Nevtson, 1983), they sought to caplur a sense ofa psychological monent in time Lo assess collecttve rcac tions to it. Peterson and Seligman readily admit that true change nlay n.rt ha1.e occurred-respondeflts chose when and whether to take part in the online VIA (i.e., before or after September I l) and their responses were restricted to one point in rime: People offered either a pretest or a postevent response, not both. Ideally, change in positive traits would be measured across time, that is, longitudinally, rather than in the oecessariiy cross-sectional manner th researchers were forced to use-septernber I I was an alvhrl, if historical, momenr oFhappenstance. Yet Peterson and Seligman's (2003) work nicely illustrates that reactioDs to ,.calen dar-based," realworld events can be documented using thelnte.net. Online approaches like this one are interesting to sociai psychologists because they happen in ,,reai tirne.', How can social psychologists study events long after tire fact, when such ideai records are nonexistent? Are any materials available rhat cao shed lighr on :rnd rnsighr irto past social bellavior?

3.8s'(0.5s)
3.s7f (0.93) 3.73. (0.s6)
3.27 l0.69) 3.69 (0.65) 3.86 (0.66) r.66 (0.56)

Archival Research and Meta-Analysis


common-the investigrtors rlid on data tiat
sonre other pu.pose:

3.57 (0.66) 1.80 (0.60) 3.62 (0 67)

Consider these nonexperirnental research results, which share one charactelistic in ivere collccted independently anC tor

Septcmb.. I I scores on rhcsc scdles did not diffcr riom pre-seprember 'N1c!n djfterenr irom p.e,September ll mern by I rexr (p < .01). Sorcr: Reprinred fionr Pere.son & Seligman (2003, p. J82, Table l)

parenrhcses. 'Modesry, lorSrvcncss, pldyfutness, .od zest werc not measurcd i,r rhc e.r1y versions ofour survcy (scc rhc tetr). Belc,re Seprernbe' ll = 6s9 for tnodesry dnd 471 for forgjveness, plu),tutness, post

Nore: Slandard deviarions rre

jr

ll,

iDd zert. r scorcs G terts, pr > .05).

fian suggest that the seven virtues that did change allowed people to feel a sense of belonging that encou.aged thenr to turn to others in beneficial Tbeir social
-ays.

Otherrraits-chiefly those no1 conceptually related to caring for others (e.g., integriiy, love of leaming)-did oor vary with respect to this date ofd;stiny. peterso; and Selig

increase one ard two months following the tragedy: gratitude, hope, kindness, leadership, love, spiritualiry, and teamwork (see the rrairs with asrel;sks listed in .I,able

5.6).

The need to belong to some group i$ so powerful that, particularly anong sports fans who "pulltogether," it may conrribute to a reduction in suicides. ln rhe US, for example, between 1984 and 1994, Ferver suicides occurred on Strpei Bolvl Sunday thar on comparison Sundays (loiner, Hollar, & Van Orden, 2006). Presidential candidates who gave pessimistic nomination speeches wenr on to lose 9 out of l0 elections berween 1948 and 1984 (Zullow & Seligman, 1990). Riots, nrurclers, and rapes appear to be related to the wather; hotter days predict higher rates of aggression (Anderson, 1989; Anderson & Andcrson, i984; Carlsmith & Anderson). As student newspaper reports became less emotional following the rccicleltirl deaths of l2 students during the constrlrction ofthe rraditional bonlire at Texas A&M LjDiversity, student visits to rhe university's health center and medical clilic increased dramatically. However, ilirress rates returned to preaccident levels within two IDonths (recali the social sta6les of coping model discussed in the opening pages of this chapter; Gorrner & Pennebaker, 2003).

140 r\lt

ntNe5 ta F)x|]et imentdl Research


Tabl

Altenatites to F.xperinerlhli Resdrah

l4l

w'ather records-sLricide rates, long pubiished (and possibly forgotten) spccches' stories, c1-1llge newspaPer articlcs' Inedical records-to proilose itnd reports, criln. demonstrate sociaL psychological Phenolncnr' lio nc!v data were collect':d; existing information was gathered and then organized or sorllehorv reorgaoized No reseatch were participants ran through their paces in aoy expcriment or study ln fact' the data recold: filcd but accessible, mute but speaking ior]g tttatte. of public or Pdvate " \.,1llner wher cxarnine.l in a new light. times' Researchcrs do not only intentionally collect social psychological data Many placing some interPrtive resarchers take advantage of data that already exist by framework on information gathered by others Archival research is a Prime examPle ofhow social psychologists nlake sense ofpreexisting information concerningall sorts ofpublic andlrivate social behaviors. An arcfiile is some storehouse ofknowledge or
sour ce

What makes these examples interesting is that the researchers used existing

5.7

Some Archival Sources for Social PsYchobgical llesearch

NewsFapcrs
lvlaSazines

lk'spit.l or rredidl
Tclephonc logs
Letters

records

Lourr reBorts or records


Yearbo<,[s Diaries
Census data

Clini.,rl .ase nles or re(ords


EDlail .or!esf ,)ndence Fnmily phot0 altrurrs Graduatir..rn or other student records Public specches The lntemet "Hits" on an Interret web site

Personal ads Videotapes

Obituaries Letters to the editor


Wants ads, classrfied ads
Sales 69rrres

crafliti
Recyclable materials, trash

of inlormation. An archive can be as sinple as a set of files Pertaining to a toPic' a courputerized database, or an extensive collection ofobjects ln the minds ofmany peopie, the lern "a|chive" connotes old, eved arcient, information, but this is not nllv"y, t.u". A contemPorary research library is an archive of sorts, as is your high school or coliege transcriPt or the local plrorre book Sinihrly, we associate archir-es stanrps, rnatchbooks, camprlign buttons, or bumper stickers can aLl be considered an .Lrchivc of sor ts. Archivai clnta. or archival material thal can be cortverted itrto "measures" ofbehavior, le sonletimes referred to ds nonrea(tive ol unobtausive mcalsures (Webb, CatrrP_ bell, Schwartz, Sechrest, & Grove, 1931). A. ttonreactive nledsllre is ooe ernpioyed so tirat reserrch participarrls remai!1 uuaware tbeir bchavior is being measured or evaluntcil (rjpe.iflc exalnPles of nonrenctive ciependent measures are Presented in chapter

with docurncnis but groups of objects in gc'geral can be archival A coilection of

false enlries. and verilying th.r1 tlre making subicctive judgnlerlts (uniess such judgments origirral record kecpcrs avoided support a researcher's hvPothesis, such as uncovcring selective bias; see, e.g ' Gould's,

or missing inforrnation, correcting erroneous or

1996, reiuralysis

ofdata on race rnd brain size)

8). ln coritrast, redctive measlues ale those psychological instruments, such as surveys or queslionnailes (see chirpter 6)' or even direct inlerviews, that invite ParticiPants' atte;tio11, curiosity, and evn sPec! atioo about researcheN' intentions Bias is always possible in any type ofsocial psychoiogical tesearch, but its Potential Presence is less-

ened ',vhen-as in the casc of archival data-the oriSinal particiPants remain truly unrware tliat their responses are being tallied or reviewed' Ii pri.ctical terms, doing archival research in sociai psychology requires a 'esearcher to systematically delve into records or other documentation that shed light on some research questiou. What sorts of records or documents? Psychologists have been known to examine court records, want ads, personal ads' newspaper stoties' old posters, films, ctirre rePorts ol sLatistics-rally, xny account that dcscribes the behav_ i.r. of a persott or people fiom which psychologically relevlnt infornation can be
dLarvn,

considet a popular sourcc of tinrely irltbrrnation rve can all r-elate to and access with relative cascr the sports Palics ol the nervspapcr. Lau and RLrssell (1980; see rlso l,aLr, 1984) rend and coded the altributiols-persc'rral, caLrsal iudgrnents-of athletes' colches, and sports writets in the daily sPolts Pages Their inter'cst wds to see how these irdividuals expiained the win or loss ofa team followirrg a baseball or a fbotLrall ganrc. Specifically, Lau and Russell tested :r particular predictiorl ofattribution theory, Damely that we are motivaled to rnnkc internal (seLf-related, often self-nhancing) explanations for our successe$ (i.e., \vins) and offer extcrnal (situaiionaily dPendent' oltelr beyond our control) accounts lbr our i:riltrres (i e , lossesl see, e.g , Miller & Ross, I975). Thc r esearchers predicted thrt quotatio!]s from Postganle interviews ol analvsis
Let
s

Table 5.7 Lists sorrre Possible sources foI alchival data-you will no doubt think of othets (jot ihem down at the bottom ofth table or in your research llotebook) Naturally, researchers hope that their chosen database will be obiective and unbiased They must taiic steps to ensore these quaLities are presenl, irrcluding identifyilrg inaccuratc

would revcal self-sewing bias, tbat is, rehtively more irlternal attributions wortld be oflered in the case of wins than ibr losses Lau and Rr.rssell (1980) developed a coding system alld systematicaily evoluatcd sports afticles fiom eight daily newspapers during the autumn of 1977. As anticiPated, thcy found a clear notivatiorrally based trend where stLccess was attributed intcrnally: About 75olo of the attributions of a willning team were inteanal' whereas less thin 5501' 'lhe teseatchers also follnd that mote dttri' ofthose from losing teams lverc internal. butioDs were offered after unexpecteLl outcomes (e.g., a teanr was tavored to wjil Lrut lost) thalr expected ones (e.g., a losing team lost, a home court advantflge prevailed). Lau and Russell (1980) raised an imPortant fiethodological poirlt about archival data: Interpretation can lre in the eye of the beholder, which mealls that researchels must be careful theit desire to confirm a ht'Fothesis does not bias their work Consider

\12

Alten|]tives ta Etperirtentol Resettlt

Altetnati,es to Exper't teltltl Rrleor.)| i.i3 emotionnlity (denoted by sincere rather than false smiles) was an elTective frrre.asrer tbr good maritaloutcomes (being or remaining married, high leveis of marital satisfactioD, low tension with spouse) and persoDal psychological well-being across thr.ec decades. What about lhe student judges' iLrdgmenrs of the photos? The studrts Dersonalitvgrdgments lvere related to the rvomen's self-reported personalities (e.g.,
a

two h)?olhetical attributions a piayer trom one ream nright nlakc rega|ding the other team's pert'brmao.e: "Those guys played a better game that tve did" tnd "{lur teant plaved a worse game than they did." These rlvo comments leRect and lepolt the same conclusion, and as sucir, are t]?ical in pLayer ir,tervie$s and newspaper stories. But

iook again-in the study of causal athiburioDs fur success or failure, the first one rvouid be labeled as "exteflial" (i.e-, the orher team pidyed better thar we did) rvhile
the second rvould be coded as "internal" (i.e., weplayed rvorse than the othet team")speakinq mcthodoiogically, which is which (see also lvlonson & Snyde., 1977; Ross, 1977)? And what does that decision ilarbor for ps1'chological explanations for nrotivaliorl where the peaception of success or faiiure is concelned? The poilt is that the archival researcher must take cale to think through the different ways that a mute f-act-an observation, a recorded comment, a quotation-is interpreted betbre deciding which account rs dennitive. Because this exampie ofarchival reseiuch is rrot experimental, there will always be some doubt about how to precisely interpret a cau$l judgment of a wiD ol a loss. Following Lau and Russell, however, a consctentrous resealcher should allvays point out potentiul flaws wltere interpretations and conclusioils are aonl:erned

rvarnt

snile rval judged to predict a rvarm personaliry, which it did). The srudenrs lnticipateci thai a.tual encoonters with those women with positive fircirl expressions rvoulcl be
positive rather than negative. Pictures are worth a thousadd words, ai least where the expression and anticjpation of favorable, pleasant emotions are concerned.

A decided strength of Harker and Kelher's (2001) stldy is tl,e judicious rnix of
established record (data coded fiom photographs) with self-report measu.es of p.rsonality and social well-being (e.g., marital status, stabilirv, and satisfaction) and even

lVhat about an a.chival source that ls not dependerlt ol1 the printed wordl Can inages, specilically, posed pictures, be usedJo expiore social psychological theory? l{lrker and Keltner (200t) cooclLrcted an inrcrestiDg srLtdy relying on a lrrmiliar Pho toglilphic nrrhive-college yearbook photos raken at age 2i linked thefl to the -and sanre people to lerrn holv they rvere faltng socially and emotionaliy 30 years later. These researcher's e-rploIcd the cl.rirn tLat individual dilferences in emotion do shapc our personilities :Lld lilc outcomes .rcross tinle. Using the FdcialAction Codjng System (FACS; Ehman & Fries..n, 1973), trained raters coded p()sitj\.e emotioniii exprcssions displayecl by rvorrrn in coll,:qe yearbooli photos dnwn from the Mills Collegc scnror -fhcse classes of 1958 and | 9iiri. same rvomen vrere paft ofthe i\,{ills Longitudiiil Study, a long-tcrnr resear.h proie.t tracing tlrc lives of graduates fronr this privite wonren's college in Oa1<lnnil, CA (Ll.'l\on, 1967J. Previously, at ages 21, 27,43, atlcl 52, these participants contpLeted vaIious psyctrologic.rl and selt repott nreasures, including soole liiused on en)oti(tDality, at'6iiation and nurtlrrance, competence, and long term life outcomes iocused on nrarriage (marital stalus, satisfaction, tension) and personal
well-being. Very olten, we jLrdge people's personalities and presunre the presence of particular attributes besed on their lacial expressions. Thus, to add a deglee ofrealisnr by trearing the womerl's elrotional expressions in a more active sociill vein, Ilarker and Keltner

the expectations of obseryets 30 years after the yearbook photos wer taken. What about shortcomings? The researchers acknow)edge that no photos of men lvere used in this project, and existing research demonstrates that women tend to smile nrore end with more strength in high school and college yearbool( photos than do nten re.g., LaFraoce & Banaii, 1992). This difference is worth considering and exploring ernpiri cally. FiDally, Harker and Keltner make the observation tltat the photos are "sileLlC' when it comes to er?laiDing whethel positive emotional expressions or posirive e\feri, ences are the key to good outcon)es acLoss tinle. Again, the nonleactive nature of archival methods can be a strength when it comes to preventing subjectivin.frorn clouding conclusiorrs. On the other hand, the absence ol relevant leactive tnctsures prevented these researchers tiom acldressitg this iltteresting poitrt. Stiil, archival nrethods offer unique opportunitics t() social psycho]ogists. The suengths of archival research iI)cltrde:

. ' ' .

Dnta cln b quflntitative (e.g-, counts ofsomething, sales figures) or qrlalitativc (intcrwiervs, case stuclies) The data are already collecred*they need oniy be verified for iccuracy and analyzed in Iight of the r.esearcher's hypothesis. No nranipulation of independent variables is necessary (of course, a rcscirchcr rnust be scrupulous about drawing definitive causal conclusions). Unusual, mre, afypical, or long past behaviors or beliefs can be exrLnlinccl tit liqirt ofcurrent theory or social experience.

(2001) had a group of oale and f,.male undergraduare students carefully examine a sample ,rf the yealbook photos- These untraioed judges were asked to lorn irrrprcs, sions of the women based on their photos and to reflect on whit meeting th women might be like (e.g., a positive or a negative experience) and to rate the women's
personalities. As predicted, tlte presence ofgeituine, positive entotions in the photos were lssourated with the,,vomen's self reported pe$orality traits including afliliation, competence, and l(nv nesative emotionalit), from the early 20s thougl.l adLLidrood. Moreover, pu5itrve

However, enthusiasm for thc archivalapproach must be appropriately tempcred realiry. There are some drawbacks to this tnethod, such as:

Lr1.

. ' . .

'Ihe original record keepers were not intentionally developing ail irchLv( tur
fLrture rr:searchers.

Data may be false, fabricated, incomplete, or otherwise suspect.

Any coDclusions cannot be cdllsal, only suggestive. Archivai methods often iclentiry questions that can ooly be answered by addi tiooal, experjinentally focusecl research.

111

Aitrndti|es ta L\petittrctial Resedrch


(str,rdents randomlv labeled

Akemntiyts t0 Expriflenfrll Rrsedrcil I45

Perhaps th ideal approach is to mix archival research with other methods including, ofco,.rr;e, expeliment.,tioll. ReaLly' no method or rescarch tool should be used in isola lion or reliecl upon exclusively. And in anlz case, "No [singlel research method is without bias" (Webb et al., 1981, p. I ). Overdependcnce on ary one research aPProach

peers-bul only the

teaahers kflerv rvho was

"intellectual bloorners" suhsequentl,v oLrlperform theil or was not expected to bloom; see

not only opens the door to bias and error, it is simPlli not very creative

5umrnarizirg studies of social behavior: Meta-analysis


bul distinct from arcfiival reseal-ch is a technique for performing a study of stlldies on the same psychological topic (Glass' 1976) ln other words' an separate existing archive aimed at understanding one psychological effect or observation is ulrnlyr-"d. e nretd-allalysis is an advanced statistical technique that assesses ihe effects (e'g'' ol indcpendent studies exantining the same Psychological effect ol Phenomenon Ling, 2004; Lipsey, 2001; Rosenthai, l99I) When performing CooPersFlcdges, 1994; ,i ,rTera-analysis, u social Psychologist will search the literature for all studies exploring
Il.elir.icd to

Rosenthai c\ ]acobson, 1968). What is truly remarkable about the exPectancy efllct phenomenon is the nrrmbet ofstudies cffrducted since the 1950s that verily the prcsence or inllLlence ofthe elfect. lndeeci, in l!78, Rosenthal and Rubin published an article sunlrnarizing J45 studies using ureta-analysis (sce also Rosenthal & Rubin' 1980) No .l()uL't nrrrlv additionirl studies have appeared si,1ce this 1978 nreta'analysis-expectallcy elli'cts dre rohrrst A more recent pLtblication by Rosenthal (1994a) offers a short but reilective (aDd quan-

a parlicular hlpothesis or denronstrating a specific effect or finding ln a sense, the


pLiblished or otherwise obtainable literltut e serves as an archive ofsorts Met:r-analytic iechniques allorv a researcher to combine together all the results of disparate studies thirt usecl clifteredt samples of people, differenMePendent measures, and found sig niircani as wcll as nolisigli6cant differences betweeo iroups. A meta-a]ralysis Ptovides identifying it os a con_ .L rvl,v toi rcsearclters to vetifo the existence ofsofie cffect by

titative) accourlt ofthe importance of exPectancy effects, whicb are found in manage ment settings, ntrrsing homes, and courtrooms, probably anlplace where people have the opportunity to influence one another' Meta-analysis is obviously an advanced topic, on dcpendent on statistical sophis' tication and deep l$owledge regarding a research question or area of inqtlity Nt)ne theless, meta-analytic studies are not only becoming more colnmo[ in the social psychological literature, they are extremely useful when it comes to supPotting theoretically based arguments with actual, denotstrated results. As a student of social ps,vchoiogy, it is possible that you will cone across a meta analFic study in the coursc ol doing library research for your resexrch Project and accompanfng paper-thus you should be farniliar with the conccpt. Table 5.8 lists soirre reviewarticles related to soci'1

s..tcrrr .lnJ prr(li'lrLle Palrerr) of bcl)irvio' A succes;tul rneta anal,vsis benehts tirture researchers who elect to study some social psychological effect furthcr. The results can help researchets gauge how tlifhcult it can te to obscrve a small, medium, or large elfect when plauning to conduct a study An eilcct size indicates the mcdsured Strength of association among some variablcs iD :r stlldy or lhe obserwed rnagnitudc olsome exPerinentai result (eg, Cohen, I988)Effeits sizes are a good guideline to deternrinittg how many participants will need to
be recruited for a Siven study (cl, power anllvsis in chaPter 4)' Social psychologists olien perform a mcta-anaLysis to summarize qtrantitatively

Tal'le

s.8

'l A St'nrpling ol opical, N4eta-Annl,Yti. Rcvicw Arricles

Co,tfott ity
Bond, R. U., .k Sniith, P. B. (1996). Cultirrc ind conlbrmity: r\ nret.r-analysis ol studies using Aschs(1952[r, 1956) litre judgrnent t]sk |'r'thologcal Btlkli , 119' I ll-117

Dcbnliria

aio

a,.l AI i'Sorinl Belnriot

Postmcs, T., & Spears, R. (1998). Deindividtration and rntinormaiivc behirvior: A rneta-analysis. Pslcholo gital l3ullctut' I 21, )'jR-259 Gendcr Difiercnccs

rvhat is knorvrr about a Pnrticular question or toPic. Durilrg the lvriting olhis doctoral clissertation Lr.rck in the 1950s, for examPle, Robert Roscnthal unwittingly discovered rlrat has bccone known as the exPedatrcy efect (also known as the "seif-ftrlfilling prophecy"; we specihcally discuss how exPectancy effects can be problcrnatic for experirnental research in cbaPter l0). llosenthalobserved that ho!v he interacted w;th research participants often led them to behiLve in accordance with tlre hypolhcsis beitg tcsted in his experiment. His (research) expectancies affected (influenced) the Particiexperimental h)'Pothesis' lrints' beir:lvior. Any social Psychologist warrts to conlirm the oL'course, but br the lighl reason-becltlse the obsefted effect is both true and real; not because the pal ticipants unknowingly recognize and comply with the experimenter's wishes. Expectancy effects havebeen demonstrated in the context of animal lealn iDg (drat's light-an animal, in this case a mt-learns and confitms expectations "lrrnsmilred'' from a stLl(lent trainer; RoseDthal & Fode, 1963) and in the classroom

A. H., Crowley, N4. (1986) Gendcr und helping bchrvior: A nletr 'rorllt'c review 6r 3A8 tbe social psychobgical literature. Prl./rolo.rarrdl Dnlletitt 100' Eagly, A. H., & Steffen, V. J. (1986) Cender and aggressive trehavior: A nlett'analytic rcview ot rlre social psychological literattrre Psychologiral Bulletitl, lu0, 109-ll0' Feingold, A. (1994). (;ender differenccs in personality:,{ mela an.rlysis Pslclrchtgical Bullttut
F-,rgly,

\3

t t6, 429,456.
P hy 5i cit I A I t nt I ive t?ss Eagly, A. H., Ashnrore. R. D., Makhiiani, M (1., & Longo' C. (1991). Whnt is beautifirl is goocl, brt . . . : A meta anahlic revicw ol rescarch on the physicitl rttractivencss stereotyPe Psycholo{col Brlhtttt, l1r, 109-128. Feirliold, A. (1991). Good-looking People are rrot n4rat rve ll\ink Psychalcsicnl BLtll?ti'L t l1

304,14t.

146

Altematives to Experinental Research

Alternatiles to Exoe lnentdl Research i17 alrd personaliry psychology that relied on or incorporatecl a rneta_analysis. you will aiso note that all these citations are from the joornj psychotogictt Bulbiin, which fte qriently publishes meta-analltic reviews. Guidance for performing actual meta_analyses is available jn the work cited previ_ ously (see especially Rosenthal, 1991, 1993; Cooper & Hedges, 1994). Finalln for would-be meta-analysts, guidelines for writing meta_analJtic
(e.g., Rosenthal, 1995b). rJviews are also available

What changes in rules have occurred on your campus lately? Have these changes
resulted in any behavio r ch an ges? Describe a quasi-experiment thatcouid be Cesigned and conducted to demonstrate whether any changes actually occurred

lf you were to conduct an ESM study, what daily experrences would you want to exaqine? What do you think a record of ESFS would reveal? ldentify some archival sources that could be used to characterize the students who
attended or are currently attending your institution What would these sources
reveal?

Conclusions
284 ).

"Social psychologists should oot be one-trick ponies,, (Mark & Reichardt, 2004, p.

As this chapter has amply demonstrated, the.e is more to Iife_research life and rhe methods it embraces-than the stalwart trle experiment. Expe.inrents in general may offer a more certain insight ioto the nature ofwhat factors directiy cause ihe richoess of much rocial behavior, but by no means all social behavior. Unusual, unexpected, or ethically demanding events, as well as situations that do not lend th"rru.lves to random assignment, careful control, and diftct manipulation and measurement of variables, are still worthy of critical study. Social psychoiogists have evolved and adopted a_diverse array oftechniques aimed at fillingin gaps i"n our understanding of why people behave as they do when real or imagined otie., u.. pr"."nr. Socirl psychologv r.'ould be shol.iBhred il only rrue .xp.rirn.nrs were the sorrrLc . ot rdeas, rnsrtshts, and theones. Instcad, the ideal approach to learniDg about people is to use an array of methods that complement one another. Some of the most creatirre researchers examine an effect 6rst in the controllotl con6nes ofthe lab before venturing out into the 6eid, rvhere niceties ofcontrol and causal inference are more difficult to obtain. Srili other researchers obserye an event iD the ral worid and then later. once they understand it better, only then clo they attempt to recreate ana iharn"ss,, it in the lab. The point is that a !,ariety of different ."rhod, ,r"a a.p"naing nn ,t ".. creative unlque clrcumstanes researchem face. Social psychologists " are and risource_ ful; they are not limited in rheir vision or th" ,n"ihods ti"y.un *". if,"f noL. -nor should bc rhey one. trick ponies in rhe "r"*.,"rniy search for adequate explanations ot social behavior

Exercises

when coding behavior? Would a second observer agree with your aoaing observational record? Why or why not?

Select a sight on or oft carnpus and conduct a brief observationar study (5ee Tabre 5.1 for potentjal sites and behaviors). What difficulties, it any, dia you encounter

,f;".

"na

\34

IntrolLtcing a DLfierence: lntlepende t VttritbLes


Tablc

lrttotlutit'g

Lt

Diftcretlz:

dtpetiLbtii

185

"/nrin0lcs

randornly determinccl oLrtcomes Choiceisaskill |cl.rtctLvrriablctiratnanyofusPride ourseltes on; -e nray'- feel, fot instance, that we art'al'le to select tbe best oPtion ironl an array of possibilities. Nlaking choices, especially what we see as thc "right" or "best" choice, is a way of excfiirg control, oDc tltat works lvell in settings tllat are not determined Lry.hance Unforturrately, we often assume that our ability to rrrake things happen also holds true in chance situxtions. For example, people are nrore conlident of winning the roll of some dice when they can toss the dice themselves than'rhen another Person does it for them (Dunn & Wilson, 1990). Langer coined the term "illusion ofcoDtrol" to refer to sitlrlLions where people ignore objective probabilities and anticipate personally succcecling at something in spite ofthe odds (see also Wortman, 1975). The office worters who were given a iottery ticket-those who had no choicc and could not exert any illusory control-requested a resale ptice of$1.96 on average. The wotkers who chose theit orvn tickets and feit "control" asked for an average of $8 671 That's quile a difference, especially when the orrly difference was whether one was handcd a ticket or llot to dralv one from the deck. Having choice, then' gave some people an illusion of controi-they assumed that picking their own tickcts wouid
enhance their chances ofwinning the Iottery. Langer conducted a seties oI ingenious studibc exploring the consequence of peo ple's often-exiggerated beliefs about control (Langer, 1983) ls ther an)'thjng \'!lor1g with maintairrirrg such beliefs? Should we corsider Peoplc \a ho overstate their contiol to be solnhow deLuded? We'd better not draw sLLch conclusions because other research srLggesrs rhlt illusory control and related erroneous perceptions aIe actuaLly a hallmark ol melrt{l heaith (Tayior & Brown, 1988, 1994). We actually need these ,lnd other

7.1

Sample Conceptt,al 'Jariables and Operationalizarions Related to lllusorv Conlrol


r

'

onrcptu.rl

rnrl,le

Operationali^ttiorl
Choosing a ticket in a btterY Causing an outc,'rne to obtain a plize Rolling dice FlippurS a coin Caring for a plarlt Cards prirrted with lamiliar or Langrr (19/5)

Worhlan
Dunn

1975)

skill
Responsjbility Srinrulus lamiliarirY Conlpetition

Wilson ( t990) 'k LangeL & Roth ( 1975)


t.anger & Rodin (1976) Langr 11e75)

unfirniLiar symbols
Dralving a high card trom
a deck

of

Larger (1975)
Langer (1975)

Colnpeting against an oPponent who trppears to be skilled or unskillcd

irow people think abottt lheir Pelsonal influence regarding future events' This chaPter is about how to create change in social situations ald to sr"rbsequently learn lTow thought, emotion, and behaviol are affe.ted. !V lvill dlscuss ho\a'to con'civs, create' iri.l test the effccts of indcpendcrrt variables in socinl I's,vchology experinrents

Conceiving Independent Variables


Although social Psychologists conduct researclr in a varicty ofsettirlgs, their eftbrts are yolrr often aisociated with highly controlled Lab strrdies There is a good chance that rve rvill fircLrs on how to conccj!c lirst effolts will also be lab-based.Ior thesc reasons, of independent variables in lab-like conditions (naturalLy, much of the followurg advice cdn be adapted to less coDtrolled 6eld settings)' In social psycliologl, inclependent variables play inlportant roles in trto typer of lab-based stuclies: imPact studies lrnd judgment studies (Aronson, Wilson, & Brerver' t998). This dichotomy is useful for thiiidng about whether the nranipulation of an independent variable has a reLatively powerful effect on participants' thoughts' feclwherein ings, and behavior or a more subtle illfluence l,npact shdies rte experinellts
soirrething relatively pronourrced happens to ParticiPants The impnct ofthe sirrr'rtion lor thc is usually due to an indePendent variable, one that is usually highly involving

positive illusions in order to rnnint:rin ir sense of Personal well-being (Tlylor, 1989) l hat raises nn obvious question: Ifweil-adjusted peoPle overestilnate their control over things like the oLltcome oF lotterie$, does anyone realize theY actually lack contlol over such evntJ? Yes, but thosc lvho do tend to suffer frorn depression. In fact, dePressed rofLc tura out to be quite accurate when it comes to appreciating how little control they (ancl we) have o1'er what happens to us (Abramson, Metalsky, & Alloy, 1989). The perception that one has no control over cven minor events in daily life carr have conscquences for healtb, well being, and even nror tality (L rger&Rodin, I976;Rodin

involved are commonplace, relatively simple, arrd found in daily life. Table 7 t iists some oI lhe corceptual, independent variables aod their operationalizations that catr trigger a sense ofiUusory or perceived control. I offer tbis list to il|'rstlate how powerfirl the "simplc" cifects found in daiJy life can be. You no doubt remember that the inde rencicnt variablc, the ciusolvariable, is controlled by the experilnerter who'iuaniprr ..:tes" it, p;cscnting one variation to olle grouP and at least one olher, diffelent vclsion to another group. As we learr,ed in the study of illusory control, introducing rnodest change into a situation-giving sorrre people choice, others none-is sufficint to alter

& Langer, 1977; Schultz, 1976). What nl:rl<es man,v studies exploring control so Provocative, especially those conii.icteci by Lange. (e.g., i975; Langer.\ Roth, 1975), is that the independent variables

l\rrlrcipanls.

Consider an intriguing imPact study exploring regiooal diflerences in violence rn the northern and southern Unltcd States (for a review, see Nisbett & Cohen' 1996)' that Uniike their relatively cooperative nolthero counterParts' southerners otten teel lnust be addressed witir a toL18h, even aggrestive' insults an<1 other social provocations response unless (or uDtil) the offender apologizes

i
l{a
htnodu;ing a Dtflirettce: lndepndtnt Variables
,'

Introducing a Difter{n(c:

clePendetlt

\lriables

137

hr one study, a confaderate unexpectedly insulted participants so that experimsot, ers could assess th participants'faciaL reactions. Each participant lvas asked to place
completed questionnaire in a box at the end of a long, narrow, and crowded hallway. On the return trip up the hall, a confederate brusquely bumpecl inro the participant rvhile rnumbiing an obscelitv under his breath. The confederate then disappeared through aD adjacent door. As expected, observers [ound that sout]rerners exhibited
a

Types of indePendenl variables


two broad tlpes of social psycholog,v experiments, there are aLso t1\"o independent variables Llsed in exPerimental social psychology. Betbre rve 4pes of describ+hese two i),pes ofindependent variables, we need to establish their logic based on the some ideas from the history of exPerimental Psychology (see, e.g, Leahey, 200.1). All experimentation iD psycholog/ reiies on what is referred to as "S-O R" psychology: "S" refers to the presentation of a stimulus to an organislTl-tlle "O,'' which can be human or animal-in an effoat to discern the "R" or tesponse Most often, the stimulus in experimental psycholopry is, of course, some indePendent vIiable designed to create change in one SrouP but not anotiler- Ideaily, the resPon\e is
Just as there are
a

more arlgry facial expressions than the northern participants, wiro tended to look surprised by the etcounter (Cohen, Nisbett, Bowdle, & Schwartz, 1996).
Classic examples of impact studies include Alonson and Mills's (1959) severity of initiation study, N,lilgran'r's (1974) obedience experiments, l)arley and latan's (1968) research on bystalder ioterveniion, Asch's (1951) conformity paradigm, and Scha.hter's rvork ou afhliation (Schachtcr, 1959) and emolional lability (Schachter & Singer, 1962). Irr contaast, participants take a less :lctive behaviorai role iA judgfient stud.ies, wherein they are more likely to be obsewers who reflect on, remember, and react to some set of slimuius materials. JudgmeDt studies are much less interactive than impact srudiesj indeed, rhe interaction io judgment studies is largely based on recalling prsr events o. anricipating what future or imagined ones might be like. Parlicipants simply shrre their thoughts and feelings-theil jucbments-about what they read, watched, or thought about. Indepcidert variables in judgntent studies can be powerfui and draDriLtic, bLrt the events are usually desclibed as happening to someoDc else, not the participant. 1hus, where an impilct study ofl bystilndea intervention woLLld assess a participant's reaction to sonre staged accident, ir iLrdgnrent stLrdy worrld likely describe an acciLlcnl scen:rrio il print or ask the participant to rvatch and respond to a lilmed mishap. MasLrda and Nirbeti (200 t ), fbr example, conducted o judgment study on coltural ditTerenccs in perceiving information in social contexts. 'l hese researchels asked lapa-

behavior, but rvith humans, self:reports, ratings, and the like are used alongside more

traditional overt behaviors. Psychologists focus their theodzing o11 lvhat hRPPens inside the organism, for exa ple, how thoughts, enotions, Personalhistories, ard so
on can elicit particular responses.
Social psy.chologists also do a variant of S-O-R Psycholog/ in that they try to explain how a socialstimulus, sonre social indePendentvariable (a persorr, other peoPle, cusloms' folkways, the sel0, elicits social behaviors (actions, feelings, emotions, facial exPres\ions' comments). Social psychologists, too, hypothesize about the interllal, mentnl Processes (e.g., ernotiol. cognition) thnt connect social slimuli to socinl tesponses. Indeed' most expcriments are designed to demonstrate behaviors that are believed to |esulr fr-onr social bcliefs people acqui.e through exPerience and socialization. Social psychologists Benerally use one of two types of independent variables in their experiments: thosc causirg behrvior directll aDd those causing bchavior irrdirectly.

wtich carloons of undersea scenes contain, ing plants, sand, rocks, llsh, and other sea life. Later, all rhe participants were asked to recail what they had seen.-lhe Arnerican students recalled largely "focal objects," stinruli that stood out in the scenery, such as rapidiy darting fish and brightly color.ed mlitter. In contlast, tlle Japanese students focused on conteitual matter, taking greater note of the "background" objects, such as plaots and r.ocks (indeed, these students reported 60% n]ore information about the ]vatery environs than did the Americans). One Lntngujng concl sion is that the context where behayior occurs matters more to Easterners whereas the behavior alone matters to Westernels (see also Chalfonte & Johnson, 1996). Other studies conducted in the iudgment tradition iDc[ide early, ciassic research on the fuodamental attribution error'(Jones & Harris, 1967), studies on self-serving biases (e.g., Ross & Sicoly, 1979), the just world hlpothesis (e.g., Abrams, Viki, Masser, & Bohner, 2003), salience eflects (Taylor & Fiske, 1975), as well as much of the social cognition research dealing with judgment under uncert.rinty (e.g., Gilovich, Griftin, & Kahoelran,2002j Nisbert & Ross, 1980).

nese ancl Arner ican Lrniversily students to

I
,.

)
'i

I
I

Indtpenclent 'lariables cafi caltse belnvior cLirectly. An independent variabl: causes behavior dircctly when some exterrlal stimulLLs calrses ir Participant to leact in n Pledicted manner. Wheo an independent vatiable serves as a direct c:rLlse ofbehxvior, its role is usually concrete and straightforward. In the study of interpersonal attraction, tbr example, ample evidence poiDts to the favorable effects ofpropit?{ritl or phvsicxl proximity (e.g., Eckland, 1968; Festinger, Schachter, & Back, 1950; Segal, 197'r). A person will often form a close friendship or a romarltic attachmett based si]nPly orr whether and how often contact with another person occtlts. Consider life in the typicll college dormitory: Proximity to others (hali or suile mates) leads to fiiendship because of the sheer number of charlce encoutters tha! occur. What make slLch an oL)viotls externnl situation variable so interesting is not merely that bonds fotm, but that the bonds are so strong and long lasting (e.g., I am slill good friends with the men who livecl ol my hall in my freshmen dorm well over 25 years ago). InterestingLy' indivi,l'r als rve like the least can also be identihed based on their proxiniw to ,-rs (Ebbesen' Klos, & Konecni, 1976). l) practicirl, experinlental lerms, varying where tesearch PalticiPants sit, whoIn tliey sit rvith, work on tasks with, and so on can be a means to establish the beginnings of

188 Intaitl cin!n

DifJerence: Independettt Variables

IntrotlLLcitrg a Differente: Intlepeniurr

Varidbles

139

social bonds- Thus sitr.rational coostraints can selve as an iirdellendent vaiiable' one having a direct irnpact on behavior, such as an incteasc in reportcd liking for another or othcrs. rs rvell as enhanced afiliative behavioral displays (e.g ' heacl nodding, eye contact, smiling). Lower liking and fewer affiliative tendencies would be predicted for participanls who ha(l less contact with one another, sat farther away from each other' and so on.

sonr e l'J and

Indepetldetlt variables can cause behaviot indirectly, How can an indePendent variable cause behavior to occur indirectly? in many cases, the independent variable of interest atfects or creates some inlernal state in the particiPant. Such internal states are often emotions or other feelings. These internal states, in turn, Ptornote some behavioral resPonse in the particiPant; hence the connection between the independent variable and tire (eventr.Lal) behavioral response is indirect. Consider a .Lever study conducted by Schwartz and Clore (1983) that exanined
horv rvc usc olli currellt fcelings as inforrnatio[ for makrng relatively complex iudg_ ments aborLt our lives (see aiso Ciore, 1992). Using Phone interviews, thcse iesearchers askcd Midwesterners to rate how happy they were with their lives on either a sunny or a gloomy, overcast day. The respoldents in one condition (the no promPt group) irrdicated they were less happy and satisfied wlh life on the overcast dals, suggesting that tlicy based their outlook on the weather (those phoned on sunry davs lePorted bcing rehtivcly happicr and satisfied with life) lust before beilg asked to repolt on their rrrood and salisfaction with life, a second group ofparticipants was asked "How's the lveather down ther?" Schwartz and Clore assumed thirt fhis prompt would canse the respondents to initi.llly attribLlte their current ood and lift satislaction to the weather (sur-rny or gloomy) but that subsequently, they would not use these corre sponcling feeli]1gs to judge tlleir life satisfaction. Sure enough' the promPt l(ept PeoPle lrom la.loring thc weather into their sense of overall irappiness and life satisfactior-when the weather was "discourted" from the judgrnenl' they reported similar
leveis of satisfaction regardless of the weatlrer. In this study, Schwartz and Clore (1983) assLrlned that peopie's feelings were already intluenced by the weather but that being prompted (or rot) to reflect on the likeLy source of the nroods would affcl subsequeot-and more

variables exert urediating influences (i.e., a "go-berween" variable linking some X to moderilling (promote or inhibit) effects ( Baron & Kenly, t 986 ) A ,redidtar vatiable is a\e that is plesumed to create the connection between an independerrt and a dependent valiable such that sorne external' physical event leads to an inrernal psycholpgical change and ils consequerrces. A mediator variable explains the nature of the relatioo or cotnection between a predictor and an outcome variable. Fiske (2004), tbr example, notes that in its originai formulation, the frustralion-aggression hypothesis did not specify any particular enotioDal state connecting the blocking ofa desired goai (frustration) to subsequent (eactions (aggression; see Dollard' Doob, Miller, Morlrer, & Sears, 1939). One obvious and logical candidate emotion is anger, wbich could be a mediating mechanism between frtstration and aggression (i e, a blocked goal is fiustratjng, anger .esults, lvhich in turn leads to a violenl, physical response)Unfortunarely, the causes of aggressiot't appear to be more conlPlex than the frustration-aggression hlpothesis would suggesl (e g., Baron & Richardson, 1994: see
also Berkowitz, 1993).

However,let's continue to reflect on the possible causes ofaggression in considering moderator variables. Moderator variables explain the strength of the relationship behveen two variables; they can be quantitative (e.g , score on exarn' amount ofpraise)

or qnalitative (e.g., social class. race, reliEion, sex). As such, a mLtrlerntor can enhance or reduce the likelihood that Particular behaviors wtll occur. Consider this: Most irdepcndent variabies are not of the "prsent or absent" variety; rather, they are a nr.rttcr ofdegree. Thus the lelative anrount of frlrstratior cottld be the key: Larger (or lesset) frustrations would be anticiPated to iead to lireater (ol lesser') anounts of aggression. Similarly, perhaps a cue can moderatc aggressive behavior (rec:rll the Klinesmith, Kasser, c\ lvlcAndrcw, 2006, eKPeriment discussed in chapter l). We know' for exarnpLe, that the presence of guns or othcr lveapons (the so-called "weapons effect"; Berkowitz & LePage, i967) can lead to aggression do some weapons (e-g, pocket knives, paddies) leacl to lesser levels of aggressive response than others (e g, butcher knives. clubs)? Exploring the irnpact of different sorts of cues cotlld serve as a test ofand for moderating variables-

complex-judgments (decid-

ing contentmeot with our lives is hardly a simPle matter). In other wolds, internal states aLrcady causillg some behavioral response (i.e.' self-report regarding haPPiness ancl life satisfaction) were further affected by an intervention-a Prompt-designed to leacl to further reflection otl the source and aPproPriateness offeelings This hrrther
refiectior: was hypothesized to ieadto an adjustment in iudgment, oDe causing, in turn, an cinotional co.rection. Compaled to the sinlPler, direct effects of propinquity, the cftect oithe independent variables (strnny or ibul weather, pronlPt or no prompt) was rnore in.lirect.

Can one opetationalization of an independent variable rePresent

all Possibilities?
Whether the sludy is a jrrdgment or an inrpact experiment, when decidin!! to construct an<i manipulate an independent variable, a researcher's goal is simple: to manipulate a practical variable that tepresents a conceptual valiable but not to n1anipulate aoy thirtg else. B/ Practical variab]' I reier to the emPirical realization or operationalization ofsome abstract idea or social phenomenon (recall chapter 4) There is no single perfect way to represent a conceptual variable cmpirically. The practical apProach a researcher chooses-his or het operationalization-should be sr'rflicierrt to convillce irterested parties, especially fellow researchers, that it is a good representation of the conceptual variable of concern. More to the Point, a given oPerationalization of an

Further rcfr efient: Mediator dnd nnderator variables. Bcsids the two broad categories of urdependent variables, social psychologists are also concerned with horv

I9A

Iriod,l(.ittg

Dijiereuce: Itdependent VariabLes

Iftroducing,t Dffirexce Inrleputtlent Variai.lc: l9

independent variable effectively serves as a stand-ir1 for other, possible operationaliza tions ofthe same variable. Renember, the higher order concern is with the conceptual independent variable beurg manipulated and its effect on the dependent variable; its operationalization is a practicai matter. What is rhe imporrance of this point when it comes to doing research? Students oftcn worry that thev will not hit upon the ideal independent vaiiabie to rnaoipulate

in rvritten or spoken form, or a combination ofboth, be sure to construct thern u\rng to convey what will happen in the study and what the par ticipant's role will be. Deline any technical terms or unfamiliar language for the paiticipants. Abundant use of examples cao sometimes help as wcll.
basic, everyday language

in an exleriIrlent. let me dispeJ a counlerproductive mFh: l.here is no irleal or perf.ect way to operationaiize any independent variable-there are many ways to do so. your goal is to identiE an operationaiization that will work and seem plausible givcn your research context (e.g., a lab, a dorD] room, a classloom, on the street, in a mJl;. Induc, ing a good mood on rhe street (e.g., leaving $l bills on the ground for passers-by to pick up) is different than in the lab (e.g., haying parricipanrs watch an uilifting 6lor), but both nlethods lead to a simiiar psychological state. I aor not suggestirg that established independent variables and ways to nanipulate them should be avoided in favor ofnew variables or interventions. euite the contrary: Eslablished wisdont is just that, anti looking to the iiterature is always a good idea (see chapter 2). By all means, use whxrever.eliable variables, nrelhods, or telhnitlues you knorv about. I wsnt to reiterate that there is Do single best way to do anFhing or to operationalize any variablc. So try your luck anid develop a new approach or tely on c,ne rl,or i. rricd.u,rl rluc. ,he.hur.e t\ up to yuu.

BuiLl iu retlundancy. leli participants what they a.e supposed to do, either orall,y or in writjnS, aDd ther teil tirem again. You need not be condescending about this repeti tion. Build it logically into the procedure. Minimally, after the instrlrctions are shared with the participant through whatever mode (spoken, written, or via compnter), qo over them once nore. This can be done in a friendly, helpful manner:
I just lyant trr remind you that in the next phase ofthe studv, you will be reading about someone you rvill later meet. Be sure to learn as much as you can liom tlre individual's 6le. As I noted a few nrinutes ago, you can take notes usJng the notepad if it helps you to organize your thoughts about him.

Providing Context for the lndependent Variable: Instructions


Research p.rrticipents rvill generalll clo whatever yoLl asl( oIthem (sometiDles to their own and a study's detriment; see chapter I0's dtscussion of demand characteristics). But you must ask, which means th.rt your instructions must be crystat clear. ln expe.imeDtal research, jrrstructiorls are qpically delivered ro participants orally by an experinenter and then reiterated irr written ibrnr. For instructions to work_to help participants lirlfill their irnportant role in research-they must possess several

Instnrctions should be task oriented. Besides being involving and easy to understard, instnrctions should give participants sonething to do. Left to their own devices, participants'minds wili wander, their nlotivation to take the experiment seriously will drop, and they may even begin to try to figure out the study's hypothesis (see the related discussion of participant curiosiry and demand characteristics in chepier 10). If yoLi keep participants busy, they wiil not get bored and they w.ill need to show the experimenter that they know what they are sLrpposeci to be doing. By the parlicipirts "doing sornething," the experimenter gets behavioral confirmation that the instruc

tioos werc understood (or not).


Always verif)' tlfit itlstr ctiotls a d prccedures at e nldel stood. Watching what par ticipants do or fail to do is not the orly \4ay to determine if instrrrcrions (and the indepcndent variable thar may be linked to them) were taken seriously. lnstead of waiting for participartts to ask fbr help or sheepishly adnit they forgot what they xre supposed to do next, ask probing questions. Such questions will need to be tailored lo the specinc procedure in a gjven experiment. Your inquiries should be friendly but siraightforward so that participants.eceive the clear jn]pression that their role in the experiment is important. Make certain that the answers you receive indicate that the participant's roie in the experimeDt, and the duties associated with it, arc ciearLy understood. Answer any pertinent questiols theparticipanis do bave in as much detajl as Decessary. When their questions are not relevant to their role or the proccdure, inform them that you will explain everl,thing when the experimnt is over.

qualities.

thei. attentioo focused on what is happening and loing to h"ppen shirtty. L.lr. work should not be overly challeuging or taxirg, nor should it be mindlessly dull (unless creating boredorn is arr enpiricalgoal; see Festinger & Carlsmith, i9591.
keep

lnsttllctiotls tust be ilrolr,ing Whether a covei story is involved oa not, tell pd{tici_ pants things that will get their atteition-what the study is about, what will happen, what their role is, and what they will do. lD lact, gile rhem something to do_ Engage their help, ask lor their assistance, give them a small responsibiliry, anything that
will

Instr,uctions nust be sinple anl straightt'orword. Cornplerity is the enemy of independent variables thar engage participants. Similar to the craftiDg of questions discussed in chapter 6, what you tell parriciptnts to do nust be clear. Wh.tirer presented

Plan for piloting


Beftrre beginning actual drta coileclir)I1, set aside some time for pilot testing the independent variable and the expetiorent- A piiot test is a lun-through ofthe experiment

Ig2

Inttoliucltlr a f)ifference: Indepen'lent Variabl*


the

Innatluciry a Dilferctlce: Iwbl)t lt'l.ttt Vrrri,rblc-r

I9i

.-"",tif arrd thal, ir,r Parlicular' the independent variable is certain to. create a allows l..jJ-ip*ai.*uf change in the 'Jependent variable Piloting the study implov_
a"r.ur.tt", ,o g", ou, ,he kink, to to'rett
o'- cllangc aspects of the exPerirnent'

things rvill rrrn from staii to linish that allows an investjg;ator to deternine that

the irldependent variable is in play, retlrrrls to adlninister the depcn(lent variahle- In this scenario, one of the experirrenters temalns "blind" to the pa.ticiPant's assigned condition and thus is less likely tc' iilirrcnce the particiPart to behave in a wa/ that

,.. ,i'. l;f.a' f'-nna *t"t ir will succeed. How much time i5 needed for pilot testing? That where i.;;;;t "" the comPlexity of the study, but a few days should be. sufficient the independent variable can make all .,.ri..,r4t r".""..t, is.onc.rnecl, pilot testing
tie difitrelce.

will coIllirm thc h)?othesis. A clas$ic studl or fear and afliliation nicely delnonstrates how an exPerimentcr can
deliver the independent variabie (Schachter, 1959) ln this study, Staniey Schachter and his colieagues were essentially interested in demonslrating that "misery loves con,pany." To induce feat (or not), groups of women Parlicipants met the exPeri_ menter, a Dr. Cregor Zillstein, who wore a white lab coat and exPiained that the study involved electric shock. ln the high fear condition, Dr, Zillstein was quite authorihr ian, as well as alool He delivered the ildependcnt vatiable by telling the grouP:
Now, I feel I mrlst be con]pletell honest wilh yo(r and tetl yor xactly what you are in tb.. These shock will hurt, they rvill be painful As vou can guess' if, in research ofthis so.t, we're to learn an)'thing at allthat willhelP humallity, it is necessary that our shocks be intense. . . .I do want to be honestr/ithyou and telLyou thai theseshocks willbequirc painftrlbut, ofcourse, thcywill do no pernrancnt damage (Sclr;rchter', 1959'P

Delivering the Independent Variable


ways independent Bclbrc \ae turn to consiclering some of the diftireot need lo highlight one feature they all should share: i,. iro"ar."a lo Parlicipants;we should be p rowided wi th or exposed to the same informa-

variables can

i".rir,...f

ti.o'l"p.irar"g,

l"uel or condition of the independent variable "consistency" does not necessarily mean some the tern ,n"l*ifi "*p.rit.". an experiment with,real live tJ,ur oi Lo.lrt.p ,,ondardization' The realiry of running . p r ir, it,s much iJe everTdav li6!'you cannol complelely Prcdi' t whJl ,r-o.* .,1 ., w rl sry *hat to whom or what qrrestions uil' L-re a'ked or 'nf"'ma;,1i..:,'t.;

,*ff p*,icipanrs

"f.ours.,that f'fote

upon

*hith

ll)

fear group nlet a ftiendly' warm, even engaging fears regarding the shocks by explaining that: alllyed their

ln corltrast, the iow

Dl

Zillstein He

tiu,. iSUorc,l. '-'if,i,

'n,.

cettain aod confederates (if any) must be watchful' - making "*p"ti*"n,"rs or less expelience the same thing some i-lexibility is perrnitted th.rt participants ilore goal is not ri."i*". ot ot."r-l' Ellsworth, Carlsmith' and Gonzaies (i990) note' the the goal is -.*rAnrai^,-n-everyone getting the same information-rather'

I have askcd you all to come toclay in orde. to serve,s subiects in an experiment con ce.rred with thc elfccts of clcctric shock l hastcn to idd. do not let the worlt "sho'k" trouble yotr;l nm srrre yorr $'ill enjoy the exf'e|iment \4'c would lilic to give each o' you a series of nrikl electric sho.ks. I assrrr e you that whit yolr will lcel ivill not in any
way be painful.
(Schachter, 1959, pp.

iur"

whrt is going to happen in:rking certaio that all participnnts grasP the instructioos.and you lelrn 'rbout ways to in the"course ofthe eiperinent Keep thrs go'rl in mind as
.tel;ver''1depetldeol vrrl.lbles

It will resenlble more a tickle o. n tinglc than 'rnything Lrnp'leasant l3-i4)

Delivery via authority: The experimenter

lhc

"*o"ti-""r". Darticlpant in a grven condilion is provicled orirlly at soore point during ihrt Dlaces a know the ,"" *0",.*"1,.,f p,:o."du," br"l delivery requires that lhe.exPclimenrer of the exists to indjcate which level ..,rp, i,"" chapter tO) and that a mechanism oferPcri' ihe participant is t" receive To reduce tbe Possibility i"Jip.na"* ".."frf. (sce chapter L0), tlrc ideal situation is one where the experimenter does t"..i* Lrr^l; (e g
r'ro, tnoou o

variabLe is by having an Nost straightfbrward way to deliver an independent -f)?ically' the key infornlation piesent it to the research ParticiPaflts

After delivering the independerrt variatrle, Zillstein explained thrt the particip'rrrts woulci nced to wait a while before taking Part in thc exPeriment [Jc casually noted that he wanted them to comPlcte a brieF qucstionnaile iI1dicating whether they Preferred to wait alone or with another ParticiPant ln actu:lllty' tile study was etfectively over (no shocl$ were actually administered) and the questionraire wis thc dcPendeot measure, Conhrming Schachter-'s (1959) prediction, individuals who received a high fear rnessage preferred to wait with others, while those in the iow fear condition wcre genernlly content to wait by themselves. This exPeriment capitalized on the fa't that
participants look to exPerinrenters for guidance. An articulate exPerimenter can readily present the independnt variable in a manllel that commands ParticiPants'attention (ct., lv{ilgram, 1974).

pr*", ,in"atf.l. "l " rTt",rt".-"*p.,int"nter I

use until the lasl Possible moment ' l,articipant's assigned condition than one.experi Alterla-tively, some experiments involve lnore

Personal delivery: Conf-ederates and Peers


A second way to introduce an independent variab{e is by having either a confederate or a peer present it to Participants. We atreatiy rcvicwed dre ifiPortant roles lhat

greets the Participalt and describes the-study' experimenter I briefly returns to admin' 2 runs the participirut through the procedule' exPerimenter 2' who is rrnaware of which level of ii", il* tnr1.p"..l.t, variolile, o,,r1

"*p"timenter

194 Intt"il

ang o Dqference: lnLLpendent Voriobies

IntrodtLcing a Difference: Indepentlent Varizr6lcs i95

confederares can play in social psvchology experiments (see chaprer 3). you may, for exxmple, recall how a group ofconfederates successfully delivered the independent variable-groLrp pressure-in Asch's ( 1956) study of conforrnity. Their r.rnanimity led a substantial minodty of resealch participants to knorvingly give the wrong answer in the Line judgment task. Similarly, when a confederate "defected" and.joined the parricipant by gilrng a correct answerr the participant was often willing to stand up against the social pressure. Participants, then, understandabiy treat confederates as peers who can provide information and sometines solace withio eqerinrents. Ofcourse, as we sawwith Cohen et al.'s ( 1996) experiment on regiooal reactions to insults, confederatcs can also deliver

an independent variable by conlionting or inrentionaliy upsetriog a participant. What if peers deliver the independent variable but not by acting as confederates? On occasion, aD experimedt can use the mere presence of participants as an independent variable. Consider one of th nrost convincing displays of what is know as the rlrlfusion of responsibilir1, a reduced urgency to seek help in an emergency dlle to an assumption that others wiii help or take note of rhe probLem. In an experiment by LatanE aod Darley (1968), college-aged .uales completed a questionnaire in a roorn, either alone or irl a group ofthree people. These researchers hypotbesized that people are more likely to notice an enletgency and to take action when they are alone than with a group ofstrangers. While the participants"r'er.e completing the questionlraires, smoke begau to pour into the roont through a vent. Solo participants usuaily noticed the smoke withjn 5 seconds. lvlost got Lrp, sntelled it, lvaited a ferv mornents, and then went to Ieport it. WheD the merl were in gaoups, howevet, everyone kept wo.king, even when the smol(e hlled the roorn contpletely, obscured their vision, aod callsed some to cough. Indeed, oLrt of24 men who conrprised eight three,person groups, only one person gof up to report the smoke within the first 4 minutes (the experimenr lasted only 6 lrtinutes). What makes the Lata116 ancl Darley (1968) study so elegant is that the pcers influenced one another without any instructions fio the experimenter {other than those directitg theru to con]plete the innocuous questionnaire). Thc experinrenter left thc rootn prior to the staged emergency but watched it unfold through a one-way l1lirror. The partici pants'dctelmination to fiil our rhe questionnaire while (perhaps) not appearing foolish in the eyes of their peers ("No one else seems concerned so that can't t,e snoke coning out of the wall") served as a powerflrl independent variable. When they were all alone, however, participants had no ole to look to for social gLridance or feedback-they had to relv on theil olvn irtLrition about whether the stnoke qualified as an emergency.

artihcial than real life; indeed, the directions will rernind some participants of standardized testing sessions. In point offact, delivering the independent variable through wrilien means is away to introduce a high degree ofstandardization: participants learn what they need to know, inch.rding being exposed to the appropriare level of the independent Friable (it's very easy to change the content ofkey pages while making them look sr'milar to one another), at a pace set by the experimenter. This high dceree of coDtrol is helpful but ii does nalie the experince seem relatively far-renloved fronl daily life, at least the life outside mass test sessions. As an experimenter, you need to consider how best to balance the benedts ofstandardi?ed lvritten instructions as a ,\.av to deiiver the independent variable with the drawbacks in doing so.

Other forms of delivery


Instruction slieets and booklets are not the only option. Under the category of other modes of delivery of independent va ables, some lesearchers have tried using trped instructions (e-g., Milgram, 1974), where participants appear at an appointed time and activate a tape aecorder, cassette player, or the equivalent. The participants then listcn to the experimenter's directives and carry them oLlt as best they can. The advantage of taped instructions is twofold: uniforrnity and decreased experimerter bias. By Lrnjformity, I nrean that every person who iistens to a given tape hears the same instnrctrons from the s{mc person in the same order. No errots can tre made because the instftrctions are set. As dre experimenter is Dot physically present, there is no chance thet he or she can sLrbtly, unintcntiooally cue the participant into giving the desired (hypothesisconsistent) behavior (see chapter I0's discussion oflvays to reduce experinentcr bias). 'Ihesc strengths, however, can also be drawbacks. Consider thjs: Taped ir)strucuons,lle usrrally played only once aod, without an experintenter prcsent, there is no guarantee that the pafticipaDts are taking the procecdings seriously. Moreover, if they beco0le confused or forget what to do, there is no one present to answer their qrLestions. As for other delivery systems, sorne researchers have tried delivery of the indepen dent variable over the telephone. Once again, Stanley Milgrarn wal a trailblazer. In one variation of tlre obediel'lce paradignr, for exarnple, after giving the n]ost essential instructions, the arthority figure left the room and gave subseqLrent directions to th-. participart "teacher" by phone (Milgram, 1974), Can phoning be LNed in a less emotionally charged experiment? Certainiy. Participants mighr arrivc for an inpressron
therr djaL r numbet: to contact the expe.imenter, who could then provide the crucial information repr-esenting the (random) manipulation of the independent variable. This approach has the beoefits of unit'brmity and th opportunity for contact (albeit by phone) so tnat par, ticipants can ask questions. Given that cell phones are now so commonplace, perhrpr you can thinl< of a creative but methodologicaily sound way to use them to pre5enr instructions and to manipulate the independent variable, Ofcoursc, any phonc method still srrffers front being iess involving than having a real flesh and blood experimenrer present (but see an elegant study on social perception and self-fulfilling stereotypes where the phone played a key role; Snyder,'faake, & Berscheid, 1977).

formatioi study, read a folder of standard directions, rnd

Written delivery
Writlen instructions designed to deliver the independent variable are commonplace in both impact and judgrneDt studies. Written inst.uctions olien come in the form of
a sheet of instructions or even a booklet. More involved writte, instructions will have boldface directions embedded in rhem (e.g., IfYou Hav Any euestions, Ask Them Now) or appearing at rhe boftom ofthe page (e.g., Do Not Turn the page Until you

Are Instructed To Do So). Such instructions can make the experiment seem more

Intratltriq

a Difteretce: InfupetLlcnt

Yariahks

19

196

Variables Intrati Lrcit ry a Dtlt'eretce: irttlept ntlent

I'i.'jj''oi'nE:sscalchershavetrleddcli!eryoftlleinJependent"ariablcinanonline ;;;;;J'C;u"n ti" ubiquirv o[ LomPurers rn daiiv life' tew panicipants' :::::':il'i:5.;,;';'...u,iuu'1"' onuv'hisapproaclr'r)ntheotherhanJ thequalitv

."::i;;;

ideas on aperationaltzng the independent vari' able. How was the conceptual variable operationaJized in the published literature? How many levels did the oPerationalized independent variable tend Laok

to the litelaturc fot

:;ffi'fi.-;;;;;iJt'"*"i"iiv

again' t"b'b*"i ,",""ith applv here (see chaPter 5) once.trig8er a havins ;;;;;;t; higher the experimenter' is apt to ;;;;;;; ;;, . " fiesh and blood peison' the artihcial inrrnediacy of a website or than i"r"i J l"grg".t"t't, ftorn participants there are bound to be i.r,.*,t"t! ""ta -a"p.nd""t uu'iobi"' '"ttt Yia email Of course'

tieir claritv' roatters The

same concerns

that

are

lr\Lead of 'elyrng on pub|s'ed ,BGtnttotm vout owt', operaltanallTattan 'worL, come up with your own operalo.alizaIon or the rrdependent va| able and how to rnanipulate it Begin by th nking of how the independent variable appears in everyday life. Where and how does it occur most frequently? You may want to use Active Learning Exercise 44 to help you with this task. Will you expeliment be an impact study, a iudgrnent study, or some other ways research approach? As you identify possible independent variables and be sure to consider what type of experirnent yoLl envi' to manipulate them,
sion doing.

to have in the studies You found?

.r"*.",*..p,1"',".aresearchoppoltunitiesinthisvein.lamsimplysusgestilgthdtin contact with an experimenter' ,.""tJ tr-ri* t, tt" t"bstitute fo;;lose' Personal

Onc more time: Instruct' repeat' and probe


you that embedding the independent At the risk of repeating myself, I musl remind is frne as long as Participants wili variable rvithin the body of some set of instf[ctiolls the instructions ill a steady' natur: they do, you rnust present

Wilt yout independent variable cause behavior in a dircct or an indirect


way? An important pa.t of designing an experiment is thinking through the 50cial psychological processes involved Be sure to determine whether you

i"t"lt,i..

""sure "f irr a ftiendly' helpful way' and not in a way manoer. You nrust also tepeat the kel Points participants Finally' you sholid probethe partici *.picion fiom the ,ir"i-i. "oii" "r.* the procedure' the role rhey are ,,: nr. r)\ 'r.',{-n: rncm it llley hJ!c any questions'Sbout :l:l:,::'"';' 0",*,n;n* ,o the cxper'ment so rrr" lr' prst Parti(iPrnts "ir" ul rh" iid"p""d"'rr varlrble tor exirnrple therr vou rnrght on the othcr lr:rnrl ir Pa' Pirni(ifxntr had lirrle

l,

f"

are seeking
meanS-

to

change palticipants' behavior using direct

or

indirect

';;"";; :;:;; ;;';;';#;".i ::',:::::;ll: ".",'" l" u'",' l, ".t'.n. ',i"', ao nlit"p' ru* uv a''twing 'rttcntion Io the isslrl Si'rplv'rscenaitr "Jl" peftiin to the

How do you intend to deliver the independent variable? Will you use an tion to present a distinct level o{ the intended independent variable to an individual or to participani group5?
experimenter, a Peer, a confederate, written instructions' or some combina_

"''il'lJ, any questions that ,"r,r.il"i i't.r'i"t" "t1y geleral questions lf they ask to discrrss those rhe if,e, genrly tell them you will be hrppy p.,.por"'uid I need to be sure you under";..l.::,""i:,i i l;rir"rrment is over' T;ll them that "fo' now' ir.r"r of the ex?erinlent'" "t." stand your role so that we can go on to the next Phase
74

an yau ideas far independent vaiables Share your first pass independent variable with your in5tructor and peers {rom your class at an Be certain to explain both the conceptual and cperational definitions for the variable. Be open to suggestions that can improve the delivery of the independent variable or the experiment
Seek feedback

How Many IndePendent Variables? A RePrise


"iust one lndependent variables shed light or causality and it can be temPtirlg to idd limits to some social pher,om mo.e" to learn more information about the extentofor the ena. As noted il chapter 4, however' the more independent variablcs you add' In that chapter. we noted that each indcpeldent variable rtrore you must manipulate. at leasl two increases the complexity of any factorial desigrr' Each variable must have levels*some will have rnore than that-ard simPie multiPljcatiorr indicates how (i e a 2 x 2 design rnany results cells ot conclitions nrost be frlled with particiPants ' has4cells, a3x2x2 design has l2 cells, and so on) lvlore is not necessariLy merrier' -lhe addition of any inclependent vnriable n1ust be justiliecl Reasonable justificrti')n
to irrvolves adding an ir'tdependent variable that has not yet becn e-rarrrined in relation Unreasonable iustification is addillg an indePendert the social behavior bciig studied.

ACIIVE

LEAR.N

INC EXERCI5E

Developing lndependent Variables

As i"r

4' there is no-single best choice noted previously in this chapter and in chapter -Jap""a"* "ariable nor is there a "right way" to transform a conceptual you must develop an "" g""O operationalization Yet' a5 a researcher' ""r,"lf.,"ii " exercise is meant to help uir'uU," or variables for your project This "a"p"nOan, some irdepe'rdent variables yo,r develop

social behavior do yoLl want to Define your canceptual variable(s) whal

"*untin"Z

on an existing Oo you have a theory in mind or are you relying

theory from social PsYchology?

lrtra]lutitlg 4 Dtffercncc: Irnlzpendctt VLlrnblc'

199

193

\!tirubles Int'odLEilS a t)iftlrente: IrtLlependmt or cl'en "fun"-sorne or you think it would be "interestiug" ng the resr'rlts lVitho.,t such support' you risk m*ddf

variable because you can,

;;:;,.;;'"*J.;i, ''""xurv aimttrq' making any sense out of them you think would "Jr,""i"* iclentify one o' ndtl'tton^l independellt variablcs that Ifvou do 'nuo LorrJu' t trv'r rtudres Tn rne, lherr LonrrJer a pra'ti''rl "lur''n o" l;i;il,',;;;.'t'n eri ts 'lere I int'rgire you r'roulJ dLmor'\lrdre ttt"t tt'' t)"'il ' ffect rhe hrst sttrJ;' e{fe'ts

relative to others To accompiish seLf'consciousness in some PafiiciPants deliver a-spontancous randomly assigned Parti'ipants might have to .;eli-'on'cio"'nes'r rvh lc orh<r; wnrrld h:rv' to rv:r'nlmeJ rhigi

this

i"rt

lar

basic va'iahles' but not three) Once the maDipulate one or two indepenclent of the exPerimeol knowrl' then run a variation are established aDd thc results lrre not try lo ftanipuiate indepe-nJenr variable (l lvould incorporating tire additioDal experienced investigator) until vou are a ]1rore more than thlee variabltt i" o"" 't"oy and are well on your way you have a nic" patk"g" of studies ;;; il';il",.'

,"." "r;;;i;, .""..i "f,l'i. U.i,tt (low self-conscio.sness) Afterthe i"r'"" il.i rt".!n t"ith .., ierlbrnance ele'rent " behveen each participant and a conieier;te. .o.,ta ,t.rge a brief meeting i"i*,ior" yo. to cont'ol an{l "ou fu;;;"d'l;;.."'"ry iest The tnduction method woulcl allorv be able to ol-'ser"c it"."te irs an independent variable You would then ,."",',io iu a causal wav' "lti ioi."ii-.u,tr.loutn"ss affects behavior and to discuss it
Ver"ifying Cause and Effect: Manipulation Checks
independent variable had the hlpothesil:eri Horv does a social psychologist know if rn reacted to the indepen iif"cti Is .he.king iit. dependent measure-how particiPants no Most.social Psychologists l"rri ,i"frrc-*tfn.ienti Sometimes ves' sometimes on !-esearch " *"",," i" r"r. that the indcpeodent variable hari the anticipated impacr orcour\e rheir "ub\equenr beJl:rvrnr i) 1r ;;;;,;.;;."t, thoughrs. feelings orrcrion! thi' oi o ,"",'"t'1t"" theory' bur as we have noted througllout i,J;il;';;i*;';,, dcir bchr'vior' unaware of what factors do or do not influence ffii,;;;;;r;;;;.0 on meltal lVitrun (1977) noted in theit classic teview of verbal reports il; Ui,!"ti ",ta lhat a stimulus led to a respotlsc' often relrain uDaw'rr
orocesses, research

a i""r"t"n ,fl"

ttu*s

of contlucting prograrnmatic research' as

Individual Diffetences

Independnt Variables; ProsPects and Problems


as

Can rnclivirlual diflerence variables' such

sewe s[bject variables or ptrsonaliry ttaits'

:r.i"i1;:*::

:. :; ;;:tJ.;;;"''''li"

b" iourld' bLrt delinitive cause antl '"i"* correlalional stucly Suggcstive ol"t'uoti_ont'"t"y

;:.:li:::"',:;: :::lilljl""'",,';u;,:::i* exPeritnntal investisation into an


:
s'

jl#il'f

r changcs

iL',.,

parti.rP:lnis lfl(clcJ 'l rclon'e ,arU,,n.. n!rurr(\1, ot IIral lll< \rilnulrl5 even also seel< to vcrify that their indeprendent _-"t" Tl,erue.sac" here is thal wise rescarchers

effect relations rerr,ain elusive indepenclent variables are used PracticaLly sPeukiog, of course' nonmallipulated reserl! h \rome Jre rll('wn rl T'rblc+l) Lon!;der<e)i: tl.,.,rrgh,u,.r-,'r.,1 I'v'nologicrl dc'.rrbe how nren ' hehJvr-'r Jiffcr' frolll Rc5e .n,.rs rlHre\rcd rrr 'er, role. ruurirrelv settings l here rs no ;;;';'.' ranging fiom dotnestic liie to achievernent lrl:n an!,1notheL a ;";;;;; one Prson"a to make random assignorent allu'"ing o rtsentlhtt ofte. in cautLous' non talk about sex diflerences' albeit

*.nli",

."."""ttf ,f,r" i,,J"fita"",


,i",r."a,'fr-

To do so' many researchers rely oll wh;rt lll a mensurc that ioilo"{'r; y .-f LJi .""ipuLation checks A naniprrlntiot clrcckis

O*-lved

ds anliciPatccl'

d<siencdl(Jdclnulllll!tcrlr''tthern'lnrPulrliorrworktd'F,'rer.rmple'rtl,.tnip'l'''trottrr p

""rt"Uf.'r

"".irbie aiffercnt

dctuelly expc a'rcl is clesigneri to discern whether participants check is a sa{egrrard levels. In other words, a ltauipulation

.;".'i ;;" ;.

;;;;;,;,;;;"
'"'t"it.t'o

ttttt"theless

causal tetuls.

diflerence ," " .o*,.1er examinrng ildivicluai the nren l'rd Minirr''lly' r'o _r 'hollld 'hccl( to see whcth-cr re.errrh? Yes. JU)rlulel/. fronr one dnothcr' You mighl bchave'lsirrril'rrly or dilterently

vadables in the cor'Lrse of yorLt

"t.; that pafiiciPants exl].' ,;.;o..-n* ,q, rnu,'iourotrorr check car'r .rlso be used to denronstrate successfill comPletion of the experinerli .f"i."Jl "-:rir*. o.r.fl"f.gt..rl stale iutegral Io the (Rosenth'rl r*" tipes of mnil'rrlation checks' internal and external ones of the

hy lo ver,ry thal crinc rl inst-'r'tions were heard 'rnd undrrstor)d

worllen ln your sru'1y

such cs a P(rsonJhly how an indiuiiu'rl d;ff<'encc v;ri'rble' "l...""'a.r.""*,'"irrg rhink abo t a trait like selt'-consciousness' ; tndependent variable ;;;i, ;;;;;;;

formrl dinners' lob "t1s11lervs)' "',""."'.'...".r'.lf"wa..n.,.ofb.inganrn.lrviclLrll.especiallllntlrosesituations thrtDr.rmorcJ'(n'eolLeingsocidllf iff i """ 'r'g

H:;;;i;',;';,;;"rii-"",."ri'.""*i""'11"f,61nsr''andv'ruh1;uthesiz' Due to thelr olvn selt foetrs' individu-

th'tt

this trait affects tbe accuracy ot hrst rn]pressiolls tt' tewer d'frils Jbot'l new 'rrql,irrntrn!e\ .rl: whtr.rre hrtsh ,n ,"lt tont''uu'""" ottend rhat peopie who are low in self-co'scioustters ,rr"rl a. irr.*"i"" * the trait. Ir fbllolvs en!runrcr\'. r.",i;,i. '" ,*.', nr,,re detdil) ,borrr :tr'rrrger' rr'el irr 'd\uJl are irlputhcsized to be experimentaLly:trorts';rfter all' You cannol create a trait create x icnlPorary state by heielrtening permanent qualities- but you can cefiainly

"*nu.irrr".,,, "o-"u-es you.wcre interested in ,ui., l"r* ,i. o.rrrieFng portion ofthe exPeriment PerhaPs in prosocir] behavior Hallol Iearoinc whelher embanassment Pronotes arr increase bump-into i trbie' .-"erience a staied acciclellt-they 'accidentally" ;;;";.t;',,ti. over tlre rlc'r' Tlres< p rrr' ' ;;;. il;;::ll:,';;l' spc* ng 'ev"e.l strcl'r or prpcrs rll in the low embar_ ,",'r,, *o..,"n.. Lh. lriglt "t"b""assnrent condition Parlicipants br'rmp inro a table' but it does not are also led to acci<lerrtallv i;;;;;;i:;;;i"",'

"rJ given during the course S Rnrttouu, lggl). A!\ irtetnal manipLlation dleck is other shortly after the irldcPendetrt variable is Presented and

."ti"orJ"*"a,

" the ParticiPant fot th" ""*t l'hot" tr.i"-t-'oo.rrlonno,r. rr.rpposedlv designed to PrePilre to 'rs'"r' er" r: rn the questl''nnai'e rre some rtems dc'igne'l .i't t" i,ri". i"'i,"lJ,'J was successf..l' compa.ed indepe ndent variable or ;il;;;.1; ;,;;,;;f
'Jn'ion

FollowinB this rnishap' oericil falls to the floor'

yol adnrinistcr a

'i''

2(.t0

V ariables IrtrathLci ng a Dit'ieretice: I ntlependent

Itttt|dt(it|

tl Dr[lerence: Indeputclellt Ndtiibles 2Ql

embarrasstnent condition io the low enrbarrassment group, intlividuals in the high social discornfort and awkwardness' ,bJa r"po.t ttigit"t levels of ""i.-p-iJ,.

disruPt the flow of an exPerimenl's procedure An con6nes ofthe actual exPeriment and ,LrrrroL .or;prrlnrnr. check is givn outside ihe Essefltially' the exPerimenter runs a simulainuot"", u dif"r"nt group ofparticipants would ri"iy *r."." n.".,r rlt" ""ks this otl'"t group ofpeople to r eflect on horv.thel (e g in the proposed xperiment ""r ' teoct if th"v\a'"r" faced with the events as laid out :ii'."ra knocked over a table full ofpapers? How embar-

i,"".nal manipulation

checks' external manipulation checks have one

airJ".,'"J"""og", They do not

yott big ciecision: Not only is the collection of the information hard work' when yc'Ll not only- lose that Persoll's resPonsesr tou a"i,,ot" aom"o,t" faom at1 experiment' (i you redrlce the recluce the statislical power availahle during the analysis stage e ' '1he best course is to determiie plior to the you will find a delectabie effect)chance warrant actual data collectron whar sort of responses to the maniPuiation check participants "fail" the maniPulathe discarlrng ofdata (bearing in mind that ifseveral and not tion check, tiren you should question the effectiveness of the manipr ation participtnts--you may neecl to revisit the expelimental the veracity of the procedure).

,".J"i *iuta

t.t *i

testing and do represel]t

during Pilo,t "-uarrassed you feel?") External manipulation check are.often don derermine how the actLlaL' tuture researcn a reasonable way to

ifyou

creative with When deci<ling on a n1aniPulation check' the best advice is this: Be to help you be creative this aclvice in mind, let's turn to an exercise designed

t' rrti.lo"nr'
o

are golng to

licl al)out rno reilct lo lhe indpendenl

varlaDle'

** q'"".,.tt.";*.'

.lp"cially "ssessing for participaots t,xiy i,gf-rfisir, the hlpothesii as well as tl.rc independent variable manipulation checkJ is the ideai use o f natura lly occurring \V"r-rl,*t?, p-..r rf"'
"taking pa'ticiPants dis-

*""'o i" -t"irf.r"igoo<i

manrpulation checks are hard to develop Administering the dependent variable' can unknowttefbre

ACTIVE LEARNINC EXERCISE

7B

DeveloPing a ManiPulation Check


possjble Do fot When it comes to developing a manipulation check be as subtle as procedure or cause partjcipanis to think too disrupt the llow of the experimental Here are some much about what they did, are doin8, or will soon do in the studyto help you to design a manipulaiion check to verify the effecquestions designed 64)' iiveness of your chosen independent variable (recall Active Learning Exercise

..i",i"". gy ';"","t"11,v ociurrilg," I refer to some indirect way the speak .i"r" r"i",lf..t are thinking, horv they are feeling' and the like Behrrrors,do (1977) warnlng
louder than
what the)' are expe ih^ir"ooi. *ut t* fre .rble to adequateLy or accurately rePort on ma.ipulation checks' ;,",..:;;:;.i"; ,h" ."u.se ofrn experime.t' Niturnlly occurliog ofParticular
wor<1s,

of course, especially grven'Nisbett and Wilson's

.,,.n

"riuuingl,rag"s a good soltrtioi elllotions 1c.gl, shan-re, embarrassnent), tepresent 'manipulation of high versus low In the casle of the h)?othetical it,. .ituniion. s"ria".

code paltiipants'facial expressions for the display

emb.arrassment' wired into there iniglrt be a naturally occurring maniptrlation check however, I believe the experimenter miglrt the eibedded embarrassmenl quesrions,

1 Wi 2

you design an

intenal or an external manipulatian check? lf the latter'

do you have sufficient time available for a pilot study? lf yau do an interna! .heck, will it accur dunng the experiment or during
the PafticiPant debtiehng? check, will yau use a self-rcpatt measure' a behavioral measure, ar same other method (e g, obseNation af Partict' pan\' facial ex?ressiont)? lf you condu.t an external check, be certain that the pilot participants ate in from the same population as the eventual parti'ipants yau intend to use can it be readily the exPetiment. lf you rely on some self-repori measure' (biasing) presented during the experimental procedure without aflecting variable? Perhaps the manipulation participant responses to the dependent either dLlring check can be given after the dePendent measure is collected thedebriefinS lfyoLl decideto use a behavioral manipulation oriustbefore is conceptually related check, select some naturally occurring behavior that

f,.- i-.L of "-J ,il*ia ii. many "..,a"r,. rl"r-i" .f," or dicl something embarrassing in the presence of others-how high that lgitinlately exPecl ,Un"s-,f,a t"t apologize for wiat happened? We nlitsht 'I sorry" and make si m ilar, commen ts

aPolog) followinS the number of times erch parliciPrrrt isstred an rime you damxged sotnerhirrS beloogirlg ro Think about the last

3 lf yau canducl an tntenal 4

.Jnr.nrr,tt"n, por,iaipants would say am so about the loom.rhan I lorv embar-"," ,i"t* f". a"","ring ao experimenter's PnPers experimenteL's.pencil ThuJ the relative ,"."""t i o"rti.tp"", wo-rlld foi dropping the check' of apclogies issued p"t p""oni a naturally o(currrng mlnipulation ".,r'rir". ,o,rr" nii" ndditional evidence to support the check done through examiniog ,r.oul,t b" .'--lvf."iL"pp*t thc embarrassnent cluestions reveals
;f
mctriPulation clteck
th'at

i,ri"ft""a f,"y i"r,tuctioos duridg the study? Besides determining whether used to can be registers with participants' manipuLation cbecks p"rai'u "^,.1f" data When one or two participants clearly irrri,'toi,., tt integrii of aa experiments

response to an inteJnal " Participant's intended or mish. or she either did not understairJ the rndependent variable ls

an inde-

to the independent variable (e g apologies and embarrassment) yotrr Seek feedback Share your draft of the rranipulation check with imProve the manipLrla_ instructor and classmates- Use any suggestions that tion check-

" tatpun*ri"e to an error in undtrstanciing' al experimenter can legitimately "irttaJ *,ii. a",o r.o.r further consideratiou. nropping any data, of course, is a rather .u,r_rou.

102

Introdu':ing a L)tffeftnc.: I]n1epettde]1r \iariLtlrles

Introtlucing a Differerlce: Indepetde t Vari^ble]' lAJ

The Best Laid Plans (and Independent Variables)


Novice siudenh ofsocial psychology are apr ro believe rhat the meticulously described studies found in social psychoiogy joulnals or introductory books iust sprang forth whole and compLete frolTl the minds oi some clever researchers. I am here to tell

that, in the rvords of the old soug, it "ain't necessarily so.,' Things don'r always go as planned. Few menorable social psychology experiiuents just happen or are the result of sudden, blinding insight 01 intLlition. Instcad, melnorabie studies a.e actuaily the result of much toil, many tears, and qui(e a bit ofsweat, Dot to mention careflll think iog arrd the thorough researching ofpast relevant efforts. In many respects, conducting a quality sociai psychological experiment-one that ,,works,, so that the intended independent variables creates the expected change in the indicated dependent vari_ ables-is similar to staging a good play_ Not only are Lhere bits of theater invoh,ed (e.9., a cover story, roles fbr experimenter and pa.ticipant, a setting), the ,.show,'_the actual running of the study cannot go on (nril everlthing works, ftom sign,up to debriefirg (see chapter 10). Thc independent variable plays a crucial part here. If it fails ro create a change in behavior, pret'erably the behavior predicte{ by the hlpothesis, then there is no reason to proceed with data collection. Thus pilot lesting the experiment is critical. But what happens if you pilor rhe experinlent and the independent variable does not appear t() be causing the expected .l1an1e or atty change in the dependent variablei Whcn this happens, a aeseatcher needs to explore possible reasons irnd remealies for the
situatioD.

1,ou

birih order-canrrot be
sense, Schachter. coulcl

that the positive rclationship between arxiety and afiliation was much more odest and often had to be teased out of the data. lfhy? schachter (t959) concluded that some participants rnust be more prone to seek out company when anrious tha)r were rhe oth;rs. He guessed colrecUy ifu, f,r,-Uo.n una o.ly cfrldren wourd be more rikery to af6riate whin anxious thaniut",_t o.n .nita*n. nts ralronale rs simple: Firrt-born and onJy children e)iperience a rnore J-LUi,u\ f.r. enting sttle than later'-born children; rnom and dad,s faith in and skill at chilclearing grorv with their experience. As parents, they probably responded more quicklyto quell aniety in 6rst and only children than those to.r, I"ter. As a r.sult, fir.t-'bo.n only children grow to prefer-are more coftfortable_being ",ra with ori;, f"opf. _}r"n *pr", relative to larer-born children. The dara bore out s jr.lt..t ,p!.rf'"ii"", u.oin^f Position matters in the presence ofarlrjety. First_born ona orrty.f,ita."n gieater desire_to wait with others prior to the supposed ,t o.t po,tlon of "*p,.r..a " tl" .*,0".rment thaD did later-bnrns. Mystery solved. Llt course, perform ing an internal analysis can providc insight but it also introduces _ a famiJiar ploblem: the violation ofrandomn",r. ih. ir.r,.rnol""nulyri, .iong.. o .^",_ ally focused experirnent inro a correlational nrdy.

not prove ivhy definitively. lnternal auai"."a oft",, l-"u"rl aonr_ as to why .rn .*perin,ent arJ."i ,r,,, * cipated, but rhey do not arways prove Jrow on. ua.i"bre a"oir,.,.., "", "",i-

nrarripulateci the w"y u flgi, o. i."".-.o.rrruni_r,o" ..n oe presentecl. yes, brrth order and affiiiative tendencies are correJatecl, but jn a canJal

o.dir;i;;r;r-i;,n ,-i" o", y_ l._

pelli.g widence and arguments

true experiment.

"ffu.t.

i. aor" i,

"

Pelfbrm an in ternal analysis


The nranipulation of the independent variable nlay have been qLlite effective_ir iusl nay have becn more effective on the behavior of some participants than others. ll other words, some ptrticipants may be more susceptilrle to th influence of a glven

Ask participants but be wary


The most ohvious recourse for a researcher is to ask a ferv participants what they were thirking aboutduring the experiment, especraliy when they were exposecl to the inclependent variable. This sort ofdebriefirrg is drfferent thrn

a, arr irrtcrrirl analysi<. A\7 itter al dnalysis is a careful examination ofobtained data with ao ey to exam, ining a possibly influential variable th?rt was not manipulated in the experiment. Variables identilied through an internal analysis are very oflen subject variatles, tl.rose individual qualities people cany with them into the experimenr and which are largely imnrdne to experimental intervention. Schachrer's (1959) previously noted .esearch on tear and alfiliation iovolvcd a parricularly fruitful inrernal analysis. Recall thlt participants in the high fear condition (they were threatened witlr painful electric shocks) expressed a greater ciesire to affiriate with orhers than did those in the low fcar (no pain) condition. In a series of variations on the original study, Schachter found

independent variabLe than other participants. The key, of course, is identifTing the factor or factors that allow the independent variable to create greater be]ravioral clLange in some people. Doing so involves concluctillg what is commonly referred to

*i,l (xp(r'rments tsee chiprcr l0). Insread "r.".","a oiassessing suipicion. .".";,'.;;. i. ," .,., o,, jynamics " werc inrerprerins of.he p.,''r,., . l:::::l:^l:: the independent variable was rhc larry wllether Tl,"'tanrs "xp",im.,,. noteo and with whit eilpcr, ilrn7. lr r qtite possible that a manipulation that seems apparent to fhe researciter who created it. is bartly notired by research participants. Sinilarly, rhere rnay b" ,onr" .,itr"rionol orstracrons-noise, orher people, unclea. instructions, intereiting or odd objects present in the lab settiig-that weaken the impact of the ina"p.na""nt *rioil". tt.o, discussing the experimental proceclure with a fe- p".ticipantsInuy problem and suggest ways to correct it, "*n"".,t. 'i he caveat to this approach is that, as noted previously, peopie , often do not knor,/ rvhat aspects ol a situarion influence them and which a" rI",. i" Wiison s ( l9;7) studies, tbr example, some participants "r" "f N;.U"r, *a watched a lilm whilc a con rcqerarc fieatccl J highly distrdct lg noise (he ran an electric saw) in an adjacent nallwuy Other paflicipi t\ wrt\hed tlre sime 6lm Lrrrr it.rvas out ol fo.tr!. A contro;

if,r,,rr"fi,

2A4

lrtriables lrtrodtLcittli a DiJference: trdependent


three film in rlative Peace Later' the nlembers ofall lor the pr('tJ!'ullist' a'nd ho!v tl e hLIT 5 rntercst vatue' their \ynlllllly grottps rvere

In

oLiut

'tl

tt L)trttrerrce: [ndeiteutleut

\,'ariahles

2A5

grorLp wetched the

Reconsider thc hlPothesis


A linal possibilitv is one that reserlrchcrs do l)ot like to corsider: Perhapr; the h,vpothesis is sinplylvrong. That is, people ma,v respond to the indePenLlent variable in a wav not captured'by the h)?othsis. lf the hlpothesis is incorrect, the| there should be no surprise regarding the participants' failure to dernonstrate the anticiPated reaction to the independen t variabieHow can a researcher determine if a favored hypothesis is in error ? Sometinreg I period oftriai and error-running several particiPants through their ernpirical paces, asking them about their exl-eriences, and then evaluatirrg tlle (non)ihPact of the independent variable-is necessary. Once these steps are followed, a tesearcher should carefully evaluate the behaviors assessed b1'the depcndent measrlre. How are tl,e pa1ticipants reacting to the independent variable? Are participants' behaviors sinilar witlrin each level or condition of the indePendent variable? If so, do the participants' reactions.eveal any interesting or unexpected hehavior Patterns? When patterns emerge, the researcber may wart to "listen to the data" and reconsidel the nature and
accuracy of the hlpothesis. There is no shame associated with hlpothesis revision in the course ofresearch ln fact, remaining open nrindd to othcr possibilities is a hallmark ofhigit quality tesearch in psychology. Pavlov's (l957) discover,v of classical oi insttumental conditioning, tor' example, occurred rvhen he noticed drat dogs in his digestive studies nnticipated the arrival offood rewards (they began to salivate) wilen they heald their teiders con)irrg down the hall. Instead of igrroring this unexPected behavior, which was not at all rel

^.k.d to r"L

;]::i;i..;';";'.".rldbetouchedbvir'Theexp<rirrrcnter'rpol"giredtothenoise rating whether $e distra-

"'J"* "if".", tionsi[f}uencedt}reircoiclusions'lnfeality'neitherthenoisenorthebad'focrrshad the which were analogous to those made by 'onlrol ,.. ,tfp, -"j:,:i'; r .n I)articio:tlrts' rdtlngs, group did not think the Pro:;:i;;;i;:,"o" o.,.',ilip",.";" 'rre poor rocr* r 5^w.( norse ho\ ever' :;;;: The participa nts exposed to the powe 'i.J;.i.,"rrngs i^pu.t o., their rarings. The methodological ffi'Jri;il".i;ffir.,"-"ir. ati ot what factors influence their bchavior ;:;:i:.i;;;.tf sec Nisbett ""t''"'" "n"" "**"re p"opl"'t foibles at recognizing causal influences' ;;;;;;;'r.;;";;'on Wilson & Dunn Ztlu4l', g. Wilsnn, S;;, Wilson & siune, lc85i see also md observations' but you must iir, tlr" "*'rt". to tt"k o'-" po'titip"nts'oprnions to help yotr determine why the *"nt he rvar.r of rhen Although they may sincettiy
f

to note neit iu eaLh *r".ros, asking them

i
I

hlpothesized' their intuitions misht i, nli are oftel unaware of i,..'*"r.1" *n"" their thoughts during the task Participants '..1u.r-. ,r, or\.r.lrally Jffect their behavior'

l"::il;;;;,..;l:

iii'iting u"t'o"ior

as

ImPact: Increase obviousness


Is a judgment stu'iy too s1ll)lle and .:n iuipa.r strtdl actu,rlly impacting on behavior? 'O"tticipants' the presenl'ltion attention? A second !'ossibility is that .t.r.. r"' l"Oit.. enough ln other words' variable is lot obvious __ I.rrLrylrLd'ti'r or '-_-i_''l'ri^n ^f the in'leDendent "' "'' --'- -but it rvas neither v.rr'iablc registered rn the minds of the Participants' the inclependcnt not their behavior' As pelceivers' People nte ,,rri."nl .* ot*"uul enough ro change or how one l't alo-ne acc'ratelv' detect covariation'
L:

eva t to the work going ol1 in lris lab, Pavlov studied it. The Russiarl Physiologist's stLldI of srrch b,rsic learning revolLltionized subsequent theories about hunlarr
learning.

";"quat!lv' .ll:rilbicclratlgesbehaviolinthePresenceofanother(e.g.,Iennings,Anrabile,&Ross' ';;:;;;;;;o:; and ideai' that is' otrvitltts' rvtll. r't "y dio be.t *h"n the conrrections are clearnonobviousne's? First' any uerbirl
,

,;

of Wh.rL c'rn be dorrc to cotrtbal rht f'oble'n be revised with an eye to emphainvolving the indepenclent variable shoulcl directions

::l'l'J,f Lrn(( or even tlvLce. Second, pirtlclPa


;.,;;;;;,t;,
t1-re

;;;;;;;:;'.; i"'*':,i:

",,,",11i:'il:::ji"T,ilil$:*Tj:

jt:

g r prct'''rirl stimulus ' inclepcndent variable is presenteci as a fron1 the rest of the exPerimental image), perhaps it needs to stlnd out othet graPhic Ross' 1980) Perhaps the imase can be ib"ts,,j" !..Nitu"n, rgzt' Nisbett & garish' colorful and attentiofl getting' but not that is Or".t "ll.?."r""0 in some way are too spale or cluttered? Iflhete Fourlh, consider lhe lesearch context: ls the setting

when are ulderstood is certain that all puit' of th" Procedlrre .Third' (e photo' a graph or

i""i.i,

similar way, the social psychologist Shelly E. Taylor noticed and then lirlthel expiored an initially puzzling finding. TayLor (1983, 1989) was interested in the onset oldepression among women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. When recrurting women to take part iD the study, shc struggled to find enough depressed cancet patients. Most of the wonten she encountered were copiDg with their conditions by engaging in a rather stlategic form oIsocial conlparison: l hey looked kr real or inlrg ined women with cancer who were worse olf than themselves- Taylor found that these "downward" social comparisons had uplifting psycirologicai qualities (e.g., "1 may have had a maslectomy, but I'm not having as much difficrrlty adjusting as my frierrd who had a double mastectomy"). Further, she concluded that instead oi being in ps"chological denial, the women in her sample were effectively combating tbeir disease

In

in

a very positive, r'eality-based way.

;;;;i';."*';;'.':".lot:Il-:::l;,?ll,l?l,,ii""li;lil',iil':*',,",.,,i,'::jli;
iri"i"'""a ."""
lnore attentio1') getting.

pendent vari.rbie to ctrPture Pattlcll independent variable may be so,rt"wh^t barren' then by detault the

The take-home message here is this one: Be open to unforeseen possibilities in the course ofdoing soc ial psychoio gica L research Sociai psychology is a "hands on" science The craft of experimentation is Lrest learned by doing it. Reading about research' even in a book like this one, is no substitute- Much nemorable and illterFsting

2A6 ltltrctiucitig
discoveries-in the

Dtftbrence: lnijepetulentVariables

'ti
I

researah occurs wheri the tesearcher is attune to


dara

sercndipiry accirlental, unfbreseen

Chapter

il
Keep a Causal Focus
a caLrse, there is no eftict. Social life is rife with inrerplays ofcause and effect; thoughts, fitelings, and actions have consequences for our-selves and the people around us. Many of these consequences carr be observed and even controlied so as to be understood. Independent variables are the one factor that is under complete control of the social psychologist. lndependent variables are arguably the one experimental feature that has defined sociai psychology in the minds ofgenerations ofstudents and rn tire hearts of researchers. Sonle of the nlost nlemorabie research in psychology is fionl social psychology, and what ntakes the work memorable is the impact of independent variables on behavior. Keep a causal focus in mind as we turn t; the topic of the ncxt chapte[, the lneasLuelnent of behavior_
I

Measuring What Happens: Dependent Variables

Wiihout

Exercisqs
Examine a recent i3sue of a social psychoiogy jo!rnal. How many studies were in)pact sludies? How many were judgment studies?

Look through a recent i55ue ot a social psychology journal to create a tallv of hor^r independent variables were presented to re5earch partcrpants (e.g, verbalti, written instructrons, behaviorally). What ls the most common mode of presentation? Why do you think thrs is so? Design a rnanipulation check for one of the studies cited in an afticle you found for

Who uses pens ar.rr,rllore? I use my laptoo.,,What if writi g instruments can be rrore tha| just tools for recording oul. tho,rlhtsl Whnt it-sometimes, anFvay--they servc ;rs objecrs revealing rhings ;bout u.- Llt nr" sl.ror" yorr rvhat I mcan.
"Pens?

around-who cares" or

probably.thinking, "Wcll, people who use fountain pens a.e kind of old lashioned. whiclr.ntight reveal their stotlginess', or,,l use wbatcver p"n

writer, from'whom rr.e learn something (consider, for iDsrance, the adage that .,the pen is mightier tllan the slvord,,). And what we learn is likeiy to be based on what tbe w-iter writ"es_right? We focus on i\hal people say in writiog to learn sonrething about them, their thoughts, feelings, and opinions. How coLrld a pen alone teil us anlthing about peopl"?
SoJe .""der.

the comrnon pen. Can the pen you w(ite with tell us anything abour yori or ,vour social behavior? On the face ofit, this is an absurcl question. ihe peir itself doesr.t tell us anything, rather, it is the wielder of the pen, the

Consider

*."

l"pp"n, ,o U" l1.lng

of Table 71: What other conceptual varjables trigger a sense of illusory control? How would you operatronaljze these variables? Use your answe(s) to exercise 4 to design an impact study and a judgment stldy.

exercise 2 Revierv lhe contents

individLrality and a sense of choice in dally life are importnnt parts of Iife in Western 1-orr are Amer ican or European, tllen you know what I fiean: you ts.qume ihr t you hav'e a grelt deal ofpersonal li.eeciont ancl you express it by what you wear, eat, s.,y, and, naturall'', how you bchave. This pronounced sense of.,agency,,,or how we express our sense of poweL or influence in the social wo11d, is not alwa"ys found in other cultllres contexrs (Mrrkus & Kitayama, 2004). yer even minor.choices can speak _::,.11,"*,1 volumes ebout who we rre. Soci.rl and cultural psychologist Hazel Markus and her col_ leagues at stanford universiry a.sked American studentJand Indian stLrdents ro serc.t one pen from a collection of five pens-one pe' was bl,e and the other four r,/ere red. stopi which color ofpen would you choose, a red one or a brue one? Americao students routinely chose the sir.rgular blue pen, while the Iudian stLldents always chose the common red pen (Nicholson, 2006; see also Connor Snibbe & Markus, 2005; Kim & MarkLrs, 1999; Stephens, Mar kus, & Torrnsend, 2007). Conclusion: lVe expres-s ourselves througir the choiccs we nrake even when those choices are modest ones. We,rrc not d,,rrs u/l1h 1ir. pens vet: In a variation of this first strrdy, Marl<us and , lkr.c.{rea8res took rway the pen ai the mofienr sonle of the stude'ts mad thei' choice, saying "No, actuiilly you can,t hdve that pen. Here, take this oDe inr,"oa..,,tff stlldenls wer-e then told to tay out their new pen, either ,,chosen,, one or one..given,,

cultule. If

208

rLler,(r{rirg

\\'lirt

HapPe s: Depenlent vatialtles


hapPened? The Americans

Itlt:asuring Whot Happens: Dependent Variables 709

to rhem, and to rate it. what

liked lhe Pens they originally

ttt..'*" "giu""" " tliff"t"nt pen devalued it Agarn'ourculturepromotes thrcatcned what about ;;;;; ";; .itoi.", ,.,.1 *" do nor like ro have cilher onethe they.freely chose ,'frli"i;". ti"J.u.,'fhey showe<l no preference toriseither penP"rr this resrrlr <rrrDoes ,ft" ** tiven to thenr sometimes a pcrr just a """ as well as lastero cuLturcs gener"rii. tii"."ta*ihc tnct that the c(rlture oflndia' rtt."l"
iir"l"',it"r"

l,rv. i. n.orc al'..rt Lor'rrLJIrily tlrarr irrdividuality "" <ulture exclu#"rt-t*]" ,tt,inoi aone loitl' ttt" p'ns' Lci! foLds on Anreri(an subiu't'-rrcs oI in two repeatetJ the pen exPerimenls ' \clv Lrow lulr.t moment Markus ci*s and others from workrng-class backgro'nds ;;,n'it'. mlaal' ;;;,':;;;

il.;

,i,.,,f-,.r.

ff";;,i.t..;;t pen'.especiallv :i,;l;. ;;;;.;l;*, -bout t'he middLe-class folk? Thev liked the unique these differences.in choice? *fl"crl1t"r".ftur" the pen themselves How do we explain itr "";;.'*;;;;ilJo.gu". th"t diff""nt grouPs conceive of personal agencv
"tg"" a,fi.r"^, *"yr. rtalaali-.lust leople uie-

", "f.,

2007).

working

cl

rsq

parlicjpants routincly selected the maiority pen

p.,'f t"ft"'"nt" th"n either they or the experimenter

made the

themselves as individuals with the freedont people sirrrilar to rn"r*, rheit own iestinies ln conlrast' working-class i"'il'".r" studies' focus on community and t'inriiv issues' the earlier ,fr" i.ir",l students lvhile their middle ir^"att*..,, is .r less desirabie choice for woik'ing class people' rnore rorrrl'ler thrn rrr' olcourse re'rlitv.ir :,-': is not thc rssue-it is a ievealed by one's choice c'f p"'rs But Pen choice lvi* .^" fr" else' here the vrlues associnted with a measute ot'something "iti.f", (see also Connol Snibbe & Markus' ciass, perceived freeclom ald choice .rii.*l

""i

fio

thoughts, feelings, actions of the research participant to the independent variable Where irdependent variables must have at least two levels or conditions' deperrdent variables are the same, dtat is, constant, across the nuttber of conditiol-ls in a study' 'lhe value ofthe dependeni variablc as a nrcasure ofsorne outconre onll'changes based upon thaint'luence of the independent variahleBehavioral dcpendent Ineasures are userl because they represent visible' external indicators of peoplc's psychological states When llvo peoPle spend the tinle togetller gazing into each others' eyes, smiling genuine (or Duchenne) smiles (e.g., Frank' Ekman, & Friesen, I993), and remaining physically close (e.g,, Arkin c\ Burger' 1980)' for exarnple, a social psychologist can reasonably assume that these observable behaviors indicate friendship or intelPersonal attraction. When individuals remain Physically distant, exchange few smiles, and make little or no eye contact, then their actionE suggest they are stranliers dnd not attracted (at least l.Iot yet) to one another' -*here social behavior is concelned, then, behavioral dependent measures invoh'e tracking what people do when interacting with or pianning to interact with othel people. Of course, behavioral dependent measures are also revealing of people's tho,tghm and feeliigs when they act lr5 rf otirers-whether real or irnagioed-were present as witnesses (1\llPort, t985) ldexlly, too' behavioral measL!res are concrete 2nd
codeable.

.;:.:,;"';';.vi',i''t"'6tring
"ta

."."*t."t

Why do the latter two critcria matter? A sociaL psychologist will 'vant to be abie to ernploy measures that are easy to use aod about which there can be little disagreenrent regarding what behavior is revealed or what it means For exarnple, it's possible that good friends who are shy ot socially withdrawn nright not sit neat one aoother' smile' or look into each others' eyes for significant periods of tirne, yet most People who have n relationship with one another would disPlay such behaviors No behaviotal measure is ideal because we must inf'er and explaii a link betweerr it and some internal, lrypothetical, psychological state. The hoPe is that nrost obserweLs-whether fellow social psychologists, studellts of the discipline, or intelcsted renders-will agree th.rl some concrete tehavior or set of actioos is reP.escntdtive of purported feelings' thoughts, emotions, and so orr (ir.:st as pen choice can sometimes indicate the Presence or
abselce of social ageucy; see also chaPter 9). Codeilbility matters in that a researcher wirrlts to be able to keep an accuratP r'ord of what each particiPant did in the course of an experiment' Participants' responses are neasured and then coded (usually, but oot always, as numbcrs) in preparation ftrr data analysis (see chapter I I ). There should be no doubl about what a partic4rant did or did not do behaviotally. Whenever Lrehavioral measules llrc used, a Participant s reactions to them should be both concrete and codcable There is qne aclditional, compelling teason to choose behaviorai measures: They are often less reactive than verbai nreasures- When conducting research, the mere act of observing or asking about people's behavior cirtt clrangc that behavior indepeudcntly ofany planned treatment ln exPerilrrental social Psychological reseirrch' redtti.rity refe$ to the wav in which a partictllar dependent variatrle can interact with an independent variable, rherebl creating a false etfect that world rot have occurred if

2005; Kim & Droiet,2003) we learncd here and in the lasl lvhAt call wc conclude about comnron pens? As ver-y creltive I rroL[hout this bool' socirl psychologists rre-oftcn ,,.,", ,',.u

r(Jl ."."" ," ",,o,o.in'i-t "l-u" *'o'" exPloiting-the-(luft oIeveryday,lile NIel "r.,, ', -"t.-"tti,t f."y' S"aetilr-es the choices we make do speak louder than words because
:il:l.;.:.

lil.wrFflPllolrII)erceDtionswhenwearenotconscious]ymonitoringouractions.This of which is clependert on the impact of ,r'" 'alue self'reports;;.1:1.;.;;.;,;.;"ble. lvltrth of wh:rt we do-our behaviors and our to us' including how .l',e thesc acts depend uPon what is happenrng

:;;,''i;li.,'i"J"L,r*,
tf-lt"l""g
ar a

.a. i" ,i""r,,t*a,

"r.' ""i",i* "tta -;; ,"'unl_r'"U,,*",., tiild

::ili:ilt;;;'
nl(-,..r,

,i.... f".. "," rnostly rrlent-rhe t',uIi;ci.ntlJl lePrcsc'lt;rrg solrre meaningful

'''*rr''"",

point in time Dependent vanables show us' wtut-hapPns (or morc) diflcrs fionr a rr,.,dy 1.,1 ill*rratin; how one group red and blue pens' dependent variables like those a giverr sociJl p(ychologisl must m'Ike a case- lor whv
PsyLholoFr(al slJte'

Behavioral DePendent Measures


under the control of a A thoeidenr variable or meas[re is the variable that is 'or the dependent varirble dePcr'ds uP'n the re]ctionsv.Lluc oI

:'i:;;".

tio,l'"r,

'l'.

ll0

,\fcnjurir.g l\11.1t HdPpe s: DtpenLle V(inbles

itleasuittg t{htrt Haooen5: D.le1Ident

1'ar:e r.1,i.,.

_lII

some diliereni dependent va|iablc uere uscd. The problem is tllat jf a researcher relics on only one depeldcnt measure, there is oo way to krow whelher rt rs e
A classit example ofreactivity is the still contrcversial H4nllofl e effect (e.g., Ad.ai, 193{; lones, 1991; Parsor)s, 1974; Sofirrner, L9o8). Th word "conttoversial" applies here because somc scholars believe the purported efTect is real rvhereas others claim its scientific status is dubious at best. ln any case, in the latcr 1920s aDd early t9j0s, employees at lhe Hawhome plant of the \rvestern Eiectric Company were studied whiie they worked (Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939). Basically, researchers concluded
I

What, ilanything, can be done about the problerns posed by reactiviq"? Reactjviry becomes less of a concern when a researcher relies on overt measuaes of behavior

from or combined with verbal measures ofbehavior. The reason that overt measures are less reactive is that research participants are often unawarc thai..-hair behaviol is being measured (the Hawthorne eftect studies being an exceptiont recirll,
separate

instead, the pen choice studies by Mrrkus and colleagues). ln the case ol foiendshlp development, [or- instance, a rcseatcl]er coold decide to look for priming eflects drrring the actual paired interactions rather thall relying exclusive)y on an aher,the-fact self-

that the workers' behavior changed-for example) productivity increased-simply


because they were aware they were participating

\i
_.i

report measute.

in

aI1

experiment. In other words,

"being watched," and not any innovetive worker training programs, saused their
changed perforn-rance. Labeling a 6ndilg a "Hawthorne eI1ict" highlights the possibility that observed change ocurred due to participa.t reactivity and not the irnpact of an independent variable. Aithough reactivity is often a concern in field research whre experimental controi is lifirited, it can also pose proLrlems for traditional experimental research (Canpbell & Stanley, 1966).

Measuring what people do


Hunran behar.ior is divelse. People do so many things that the issue is often not so much what to nleasure but how to go about measuring it. To begin, social psychologists usrrally decide whether the behavior is part ofthe person-a facial expression, l
movement of the body, something spoken, arld the lil<e-or something outside o. j,-rt nonetheless caused b1, the person. By outside the person, I mcan somethtrg t..iri happens becruse of what the individual does, such as an action the person performs. Whcn I rvas an undergraduate student, for example, I once took part in a soclal psychology experilitent where I got to choose a gift, a pxperback novel fiom a gronp of boolts. i\Iy choice ofone book r-ather than lnother is an exanrple ofsuch outsi(1e bchirvior' (of:ourse, a reseatcher might wnnt to know the reasons, mv thoucht.r rri fcelings, underlying my preference). Note thet whether the trehavior is pirrt ol rlrc person or something outsicle the person) the behavjor is overt*that is, obvious, explicit, and complerely oLrt in the open. The chiefad\.antagc ofmeasuring overt behaviol is th:rt witnesses relders, fellow researchers, students of tlre discipline-are apt to agree that the measure is arr apprlrpriate one. To use a fanriliar exantple, tloes it nake more sense to ask people rvhcther they rvould help someone who has had irn accident or io see what they do behaviorlllv when preseoted with an actr.ral, ifstaged, accident? I think you will agree that what we anticipate doing does not always mat.h whet we actu:rll1, do when faced with I chal, lengrng circumstance (cf- Darley & Latani, 1968). Orrr (overt) acrions truly spc^ak iouder than our words.

ril

t?
il
ri

Here is a hl?othetical example of rerctivity in a social psychology expetLrnenri lmagine yotr were stud)'ing faciors that prrrrlor activate certain rcpreseotatlons or associations in mernory dealiI1g with the cievelopnrent of fi iendship betlveen strtngcrs. You asJr pairs of parlicipaflls to gel acqurintecl wilh onc anothcr for several trl,nLrtes by talkinq about where they are fronr, their college majors, hobbies, and fivorite tclcvisions shows. Yor.r asstune that this excha ge wiii trigger thoLLghts relflteci to irow cat'r'raraderie and closeless develop once we neet l'lw people. After the inter.t!tion, each membeL of a l)air is given a questiornaire thnt asks vario s things about thc nxture olalose Lrul lrorrrome lic relationships. A controLgloup consists ofparti.lp.tnr pairs who neither meet nor interact wih one anolher; they ompletc a 6lier task (writinB about their Iast vacation) before answering the questionnaire. Anal),sis of the questionnaire reveals that individuals who interacred in pairs cor rectly idellti6ed and positively endorsed illterpe.sonal fldors thai predict t'riendship. By compa|ison, orenrbers ol the control group chose ti:lver of the correcl, predictive firctors. Does this nlean that actual social interaction prinrcs people to 1c-rr-rk for and act on lriendship cuesl Not necessariiy. No behavrorai data, such as observations, we.e collected during the peer pair interncrions. Perliaps no priming actually occurred there; ratirer, once the experimental group members begarl to complete th questionnaire they guessed thal the "getting acquainted'' manipulation was about friendship fo.mation. I{elative to the control group, the experimcntal group responded by calling upon shared culturalstereotl?es regarding frierdship (e.g., "smiling promotes friendship"). lhey scored higher on the measure than the contlol group not because ofany priming eflect per se bllt because most of thelrl correctiy guessed the experimeot's purpose (i.e., " l'hey want to see iF I know how peopie le:rrn to like one another-this should be easy"). In sbort, the questionnaire led to reactive respol]ses that, while consistcnt with the hypothesis, were not due to any priniing effect.

lI

I I
ri

In general, behlvioral measures shoLrld bc as specific as possible. Thus a nel:u:,:ment of"how quickly a bystander walks over to help the fallen confederate' js l berter measure of helping than is the vague "helping behavior." This specific mcasure illLrstrates an inlportant second quality: Measur.es of behavior need not be all,or-nothing

di.atori--they can be rnore sellsitive than that. Instead of tracking whether

bystander offlrs to help (or not), this sanple-spccific measore tracks behavior on :l time continuunt-how nruch tirne passes before aid is rendered. ll?rlafioir tirr?. is the aolount oftidle that passes between the preseDtation ofsome stinulus and a persorr measurable response to it. Shorter reactioD times associated n,jth offers of assisunLc" (which coLrld be measured in seconds on a stopwatch) could indicate a srronger

r
2

r\ftaitr'rr,-{ \t

}1 t1

tH

r1Pp en t :

D ePentit rt L

\t eu

a bles

"i
a

I,teasur ry l{hat Happens: I)epentlett Variables 113


Specrl.

confusion or disDosrtion lo hclp. Longer reaclion limes might suggest

iack ofaware-

,I
lil
ri;

How quickly will parti.ipants try to escape ftom a perceived threat? In

."J ,i n"lp,"as wnuL'l n" offer ofai<] at all (in advaoce' a reseatcher wouid "iin. "*ta ,i,te" fol the helping opportunity s'ry' 5 nrin(rtes) [he.rdvantage a".ia. it\.quartrtatlve.nature' ". ". of measuring reaction tine-also called rcspunsc lat'ttcy-is r'rsing statistical techniqtes in order .t,.u.,,,", to" b" i""tt,",J."a**a"nt ""alyzed tables i-J.n o.,rur"'u.,r"een,group differences (see chapter 1l). Easilyofinterpreted the indepenclent ."rl
each level *"nJig,,r"l; ,t-r-ulttg' tbr e'xampie, me"ns (averages) tor

tl
#
.ti

series of 6eld experintents, Ellsrvorth, Carlsmith, and Ilenson ( 1972) found that staring at drivers motivated them to stop for brieter periods irt a stoP $igi than drivers who made no eye coDtact \aith an exPerimenter-

,{

variabie can also be created (sec chapter 12)'

Resiclesreactiontime'whatotherqrrantifiableclirrrcnsionsofbehavioraldependcrrt
rneasures are there? Here are several to consider:

thought' or feeling-occur? In F|erlrurcy. How oftcr] does somethinS-a behavior' on selt_reported thought sLrppr ession, wegner ii]" rrr", oru,"ri., ofclever studies and the seated indiviciual studerrts at a table with a microphone

""Jl"ff."g*, *,".iate ."u


"ifr.Liy." whit., tqgi; ,""
,""t i"fa t" continue

rvith a hotel's ftont desk (Wegner' Schneider' carter' & whalever olro Wegner, 1994) For five minutes' the student said 6ve rninutes' the student the subsequent carr,e lo nlind into the microphone For thinking of a white bear' Evety thinking alor.:d while

tu'rlly becomes more frequent I wcener' lo94)' some behavior occur? iLlrarion. ilehavior is iarely all ol nothing How long does '"wi"Ir emotionally aroused and delivering (false).electric shocks pr.,i.ipont, are (e g Milgranr' l96J' 197't;.Prenti'eLo r confeder.,te .ts Part of an cxPerimcnl button o*. * n"g".r, tgso; zimba'do, 1969), for how long d'r they Press the
;

timchedidtlrin]<ofsuchabear,lrewasifpposedtorinSthebell(mostparticiloud' as well) Using p^ni. ,"rtg ,lt" baf t* dmes and talked about the bear out iroDic ef ct associated iirtrpl" fr"!u",t.y,t,"asures, wegner discovered a rather to supprc\r a thought' when *ith tl',oujh, sr'lppression: Not only is it difficult r,, no 'r-i,,t" rrir,ught
,r'

'or

No doubt yon can think of other dinrensions where behavioral dependent measures cao be quantificd so that statistical analysis and group differences (xttributable to the effects of an indePendent variable) can be demonstrated. Ofcourse, using a quantinable dePelrdent measllre is not alwa)'s necessarT. Orr occasion, observing participants' choices can bc quite revealing. Cousider this elegant study dealing with past guilt and a desire to currently feel clean. Zhong and Liljenquist (2006; see also Carey, 2006) wondered whetherpeople will get an urge to clean themselves whe:r prompted to remember a questionabie deed conllnitted in the past. 1n one exPeriment' undergraduate students were asked to recall doing something unethical (e g., betrafng a fiiend) or something ethicallyworthy (e 8., retuming a lost wallet to a stranger). Alier doing some refiection, the students were told to choose one of trvo hee gifts' either an antiseptic hand-wiPe or a pencil. Those students who focused on past dishonorable deeds were rwo times more likely to choose the wipe than the pencil cotnpared to those who had recalled an ethical action- Note lhat sone modest quantification is still involved here
(i.e., counting the nunrber of people per condition who chose which that the dependent variable does not vary on a coDtiDutlm

q?e of gift) but

,tr"i ,,tpporJaty aaiuers the

er"r;irt), u '

drration of this behavior is another way ol rn aggrcssive rerponse' ,o -1,"iu',on.l,r" the relalive \trelrBlh (e g-' How close physrcally does one person get to another
shock? The

tlistance-

All of the examples cited so far place the beh;rviorai dependent variabie closc in tiore to the presentation of the independent variabie. Generally speaking, this sort of ternporal contiSuity between the tr^/o t)?es of variables is necessarv in order to dern onstrlrte predicted effects. Nonetheless, some social psychologists have executed studies where the presentation of the independent variable occurs quite a long time before any dependent variable is actually measured. A study by Cohen, Garcia, Apfel, and lvlilster (2006) illustrates this time Lag rrsing an intriguing example. Following stereotype threat theor y (recall the study by Spencer, Steele, & Quinn, 1999, discussed in chapters 4 and I I ), these researchers tested whether

H"it, iSeg)t Holv .lose

.".f",,, "" .*p*it"entel pori,aipnnr and a confederate Fewr tiles would


-

do we allow others to get to usi To measure ioterpersonal a could count th number of floor tiles lying between serve as a

ploxy

measrtre for

qrcatcr icvelr ol cornfort or soci'tl c'rse' games ol ,1.* *,.L olsomething will people spend or wager? Simple tokens ^,'lrlr,t p"oPle's willingness to t'rke risks' a nd popot^. *uyt of .i"nl" ""t"ing otiu'ionally rcai money or other materials "t-" uni sLLch as poker chips, piny ton"y' involvtoupons) are used in exPetiments ln an e{periment (e.g., gift.e*ifi."tes, ( 1990) obsewec{ peoplet infiiti,rury .o"*or lrecali chapter 7)' Dunn and Wilson stakes ;i;;,g".r. to risk more poker chips with the roll of a.f'rir die whcn, the end of chips rctained by the *"." I-oru thart .he., they where hiih' The number

a l5-minute in-class lvriting assilinmnt on "self-integrity" could inprove the grades of a group of Aftican American seventh graders. Studellts in the experinlental group read n list of values, selected one, and wrote about why they chose it' Those in the control group saw the same list, chose the least imPorlant virlLle, and then wrote about why this value might be imPortant to someone else. This maniprrlatiotl occurred 't the beginnjng of the fall semester and the depentlent variable-the students' grnde point averages (GPAs)-was not measrrred uDtil the end of the year ' Atiican Anrelican students who wrote about their own inlPortant values ended up with GPAs approxi(the mately one-third of a point higher than African Arnericans in the control group gtoLrp did not differ from rvl-rite students in GPAS of white students ir lhe lreatment the corltrol condition). Cohen and colleagues were so surprlsed by this close in the achievenent gap between races that they rvaited to publish the findings urtil they successfully replicated the experiment a year latcr.

oi,t .

"*p".lrn"n, mear,r a participant had to perlbrnr

.oulcl be "casheJin" for

a modest rewald' while a chip deficit some onerous tasks'

ri
2I1 l
Nleiti /itlg )\/|nt IlLtppens: Depetrdent Varrnbls
Aside tronl rhc rleed for resources to conr]uct sLtch s[Lrdies, permission to work iD sclrool settirrg, and the need tbr an expansive tirne frame, are there any drarvbacks to such behirvioral dependert variabiesi Actually, yes. A1fior.rgh the results obtained b1'Cohen et al. (2006) are both provocative and plomising, more research Deeds to be conducted before the link between the treatment variable and the dependelrt vanable are presumed to be solid and causal. llultiple factors, and the need to account or even control for them, conre into play when the time lag between these variables is sucLr a Iong one (see tire discussion of threats to internal validity in chapter 9). On the plus side, other social psychological interventions involving people's self-perceptions and subsequent eflcts on academic performance exist (see Wilsol,2006), As a budding social researcher, however, you should be encouraged by such work to sometimes txke the long vielv wheie rr,teasrrring dependent variables is concer'ned.

til ili ;li


i.ri
,i.:l

Measwing What Liappe

s:

Depe dent

\ldriaLits 2ta

lil

'*i'

Measriling intenlions and future comrnltments


Whether in the lab or the lleld, not all sociai behaviors of interest can be exanined as they occur. Much of social life involves anticipating the future, our hopes and fears, our rolc there, and t{hal we expect to do. Given pcople's abilities to look ahead, there are ro doubt mnny behaviors worlh study t)fit have not yet occurred or will not happen fo| some time. Unril they actuaily occur (and ifthey occur), we cannot study futur'e behaviors djrectly; holvevcr, \\'e can nreasure people's iDtentions. For exanrple, politrc,ll pollsters continLrnlly intervicw eligiblc votcrs in the weeks and montirs ieadlng up to an election in ordcr to get a se se ofwhich candiclate is favored by the electorate. People's actLral votes may change by Election Day, oI course, but docunlentii)g such intentions across time rcvcals r'rlrrch about horv opinion carr be influenced by canrpaign ads, currcnt events, rnd scanddls, to identifr a few crus.rl factors. [n our own dlily ii\,es, most of us routinrly rnake public comrrritrnents to perform certain deman(ling tasks (e.g., "WeLl, I plan to hnally clean out the garage this weeicend," "l anr absolutely going io begin writing my paper long befirre it's due"). Sonretimes we follow throtrgh and carry out the intentior), other times we fail to do so- The point is that, psychologicallyspeaking, at onepoint in time we rvere sincere in our beliefregardingthe intended behavior. Such declzrrations are lvorthy of sludy. Measures of intention or future commitnrent are comn,totrly labeled behavioroicl ,redv/res (e.9., Aronsorl, Ellslvorth, Carlsmith, & Gonzales, 1990j AronsoD, Wiison, & Brewer, )998). A classic study ol'compliance conducted by Cialdini and coileagues (i975, study t) illustratcs how straightlorward rnd useful behavioroid measures can -fhese be. researchers were exploring the door-in-the-t'ace technique, a method for inducing compiiance whereby a refusal to perform a large request increases the chaoce that a later, smaller request will be granted.
Experimenters approached college students between classes and asked whether they

quents t'br a tlvo-tear period. Not surprisir.rgly, no one agreed to this latge recucstr ofthis second group s ubsequen dy agreed to talce some ju,reniles on it-,e two-hour zoo trip. Refusing to agree to perform a large request ensures that many peopie will leel obligated to contpiy ivith a smaller reqlrest (for a discussion of othel relatedFocial intluence techDiques, see Cialdini, 2000). The behavioroid measure was simple, powerful, and easily understood ty the students: Will you or won't you be willing to performins a denanding task ir, rh Frru.e? Note rhat agreeing to go on a two-hour zoo trip is still quite a commitment, especialiv when the request is sudden, unexpected, and unplirnned. This comnitntent pal-.s irr comparison to the two-year volunteer stint, however. As a behavioroid measure, people's willingness to volunteer was sincere (or, ifthey deciiued to help, we can asrume that they still took d1e requests-large or small-quite ser iously). On occasion, similar compelling or convincing behavioroid measures eliminar,e the need fb. actual behavioral measures. Think back to the guilt and cleanliness stud,v presented earlier (Caren 2006; Zhong & Liljenquisr, 2006). In a related study, the same researchers founrl that people who were encouraged to thini( about their o$'n past transgressions against others were tnore likell, than a conttol group to volurteel ro help others \rith a sclrooi project. There was one ioteresting qualiffing factor, however: Ifthe participrnts were given the opportu ity to rvash their hands after their period of reflection, the Iikelihood that they would subsequent\' commit to helping out $ ith the project fell by almost half. Sometimes, then, having participanrs commit ro per forming some Lrehavior is as porverful as actually having thm do the behavio.. When conducting an experiment, behavioroid measures possess a practical side that should not be overlc'oked.
horvever,50olo

Behavioral measures in disguise: Unobtrusive measures


Unobtrusive t easLUes are an alternative to behavioral or behavioroid measLrres that avoid triggering aDy reactivity; incleed, participanrs are conlpletely un$vare rhat rheir behavior is being observed, let alone measured. Such measures c.,ln be concexled, hidden, or nonobvious in a research siruation. Social psychology lirboratories, l'hich usually comprise suites of roo ms, typically have one-way rnirror.s. I hese mirro rs allow researchers or research assistants to observe participants'behavior during the course ofan experilnent. Ofteo, for example, one-w{y minors enlble trained coders io look for and maintajn records ofbehaviors in keeping with the lavored hypothesis. Wilson, Dunn, BII)ee, Hyman, & I(otondo (l9tl4, study 1), for exarnple, relied on onc,way tDirrors to observe and record for how long participalts played wirh some pLlzTles in an attitude behavior consistency experiment. Ilr:L cornpanion study (study 2), rvatch ing fron behind a one-way rtirror, thse researchers co,led the emotional content of participirnts' iacial expressions as they watched I series of scenic slides. Besidcs one-way mirrors, hidden cameras and tape recorders are soruetjmes used to record behaviols occurring when neither an experimenter nor a confederdte i5 present during an experiment. 'lhese sorts ofconcealed methods do pose ethical concerns, as the researchers are, in effect, "spfng" on the participants, albeit for a gooci

would be willing to escort a group ofjuveni)e delinquents ol1 a two hour tour of a zoo. When rhis was the onll tequest lllade of them, vety few students (about 1696) ag.eed to serve as escorts. llefore being askecl to go on the zoo trip, othc! studeuts
lvere asked \^,llether they would be wiLling to act as coLtnselors to some juvenile delin

216

lvleast'n

ag Whtii H.PPI

s: Depentlent

Vartal

es

iv[casuriry\{hat Hap1en5: Dp ie]it Variubles

71,"

methods must be justilied to and reason (see chapter 3). Minimally, the use of such must p(ove there is no reasonable alterna ."1-""a frt,L" ft*l IRB, aud researchers t,flr, a"e' not relv on any masked tools At the endof every experiment ,ili "po-" must be told about aly nonobvious measures or methods

..rlt"'"i,f-t" n.,..t.+"nts during a carefui, systematic --e".1a",


behind or the.llonjes

(Webb' CamPbell ."n'U" *t""ftttg".ource of knowledge about sociai behavior "' & Sechrest, 1999) Researchers have bcen chiefly interested tn e\amlnrng schwartz, erosion measures two c.rtegolies ofphysical remnatts, accretion measules and ' nlelsures (webb et al'' 1999)' ii;-;f,;g, p".'pl" 1."u" behind constitute accretion

debriefrng (see chapter l0)' they leave whal people do, another possibility is to examint what -"u.or:ttg very otten, physical remnants rh.y iniroduce into situations.

Thinkaboutit:Whatcouldsonreottelearnaboutyoubyexaminingyour'mateliai room.where you a".tt ls the conteltts of your backpack or the objects in the "."i". trash reveal about your eating or recycling habits? *""fa yo.,r

ii.oi'lV*i -oJria"r

'""kly to your room' ynu, own personal security: Do you routinely lock the door anl'thing about your sense ;;";;'..",.; o. hom"? Does vour "Locking" behavior reveal
"!t.l"rUt.",lpersonalsaiery?Sechrest(1971)'forexample'speculatedthatwomen *"r" ft"U"Ufy *o." "onr.iou. of persoral security than men To vetily this men's next to
cars parked ttr" ,*r"nratt". determined the reiative numbei'of locked measutes are noted in the top and rvomen's dornrirories. Some examples oIaccretion palt ofTablc 3.l No doubt you can think of some others' Table

fro,rior ed-(rrres constitute the second category of unobtrusive nlethods for assess ing hehavior. By erosion, Webb and colleagues ( 1999) mean how peopie's contact with things aud places causes actual, visible, physical wear and tear' On my campus, for exiunple, a st ofpavcd pathways was laid out in one ofthe quadrangles behind a main acadenlc building. The goal was to encorrrage students to use the paths so as to Pteserve the green space and some plantings on it. What happenedl Despire the presence of the new paths (which were iargely ignored), students continued to take the shorlest route across the quad, thereb), cutting a clear dirt trail in the lalvn gventually, the grorrndskeepers bowed to the inevitabie and installed a per manent, paved path in place of rhe worn shortcut. ln this case, wear and tear lvas quite revealing: The students made their walking preferences known behaviorallv Erosion measures are often apParent in public settings, especially museums The ncxt time you visit a gallery, look to see how many exhibit cases have finEier and nose p.ints on them. Note also thxt when such grime appears at or belorv your t'aist level, it may indicate that the contents of a case are especially popr.rlar among vounger children. Similally, popular exhibits in art mLNeuols often lead curators to repaint walls
(too many handprints) and repiace floor tiles (too much fbot traf6c) The leed fbr
rhP such repairs suggests that latge numbers of people are passing through to lool' art. Imagine, then, what a continually spaikiing clean ga1lery suggests about the popularity of its contellts. 'fhe botlom Ptrt of'Iable 8.1 contains sonle examples ofother'

htrnch'

'i

unobtl usive erosion nleasures.

3.1

Measutes Sontc Unobtrusive Dependeni Vari'rbles: PhysicalTrace Sample physical traces Contents ol trash or recycling Contents oftrash or recyclinB, l-ength cigarette butts Cigarette butts on the gro nd Contents oI trash or recycling Station settings on car rtdio Grat'fiti in restrooms

,{csretio varixbles
Spending habits

ACTIVE LEARNINC EXERCISE BA

Afnuc

ce

or hrgalitY

of

Creatint Creative Dependent Measures


oved behavior is all around you As a student of social psychology, your goal is to de'/elop creative ways to measure people's aclions The goal
As already noted,

Places whcre s rokcrs Sather Diet Listerring habils

Sxurl or sociat rttitudes Boredom in the classroom Polirical PhiLosoPhl


Popular iry

of this exercise is to help you develop behavioral dependent measures based or


your own everyday experiences.

Crnffiti on desks Buflper stickers on c.rr, stgns Posled on home or in yard, grafliti in Public Places
Fingcr and nose-Prints on display Trash and refuse leFt on ground
cases

oi

arr exhibjt

or disPla/

Use of public Parks ErosioD variables Sateu hdbits

Popuiarity of books or magazine

Bofdoi in

'.hc classroonr

Sample Physical traces qhoLrlder bclts in Wear and terr of s.at and Wear and iear of covers and Pages Damxge to student desks and chairs

.irr'

Overt behavioral measures. Athletic events are popular on most college or university campuses Both athletes and sPectators exhibit a variety of behaviorsactions on the sidelines, cheering or jeerjng, wearing team insignias-that reveal their involvemenl in the event or loyalty to the team Co to a game, waich the team and the fans, and create a list of behaviors that are specific and codeable
Are the behavioral mea5ures you identify quantifiable? Are your chosen measures

Popolarity of ex]]ibits
Use ofpublic parks Preferred PathwnYs

Wear and tear ofcarPet, tile lloor Wear ofbenches, picn;c tables, fences, gates

good operationalizations of the prevailjng school or team spirit? Why or why

Brolvn spaces or paths cui in lai{ns

2l8,Vleasrrri/jg \{ltat

H,tppens: Deptrtdent \rarittbles

It'leasuring \\Ilur Happe115: DePelklent Varhbies

iI9

Behaviotoid measures. Under what conditions are the people you know likeJy to express their intentions for the future? Be on the lookout for potentjal behavioroid
measLrres in your daily life. Here is one common example I am sure you have witnessed: Once the calendar turns io the new year, many of Lls embark on nelv diels or exercise regtmens (or plan to do so). Such commjtments are often touted duflng

thoughts or fee)ings, especially those djrecied at other People.

exanple,

of

situatiorls involving prejudice

or

I an, thinking, for discriminatioo towards African

Americans.

the busy and food-filled holiday season leading up to the new year. What sort of
behavloroid measure(s) can you create to capture people 5 new year,5 resoJutions? seems to be too nafiow, then identify some behavroroid measures linked with people's desires to reduce bad habits while instilljng new, presumably better (e.g., healthier) ones.

lf this context

Unabttusive measurcs- Aa and explore 5ome familia. place on your campus or in an offrce setting, for example, where many people come and go each day (e.g., the library, the student union, the gym). What physical trace measures-erosion or accretjon-can you identify there? What traces reveal whether people use a space or srmply pass through it? What physjcal indicators suggest people's ptelet_ ences (e.9, waste, foodstu#s, seating)? Do people seek to connect with others rn the space or do they want privacy? How do you know? Yaut own research proiect. lf you are making sufflcient progress on your social psychological research proje.t, then you will need to develop an appropriate dependent variable for it. Will you rely on a measure of overt behavior, a behav ioroid measure, oa an unobtruslve meas!tre? How will this dependent variable be linked to your independent variable?

Verbal Measures
Despite the fact that we have already discussed the use of verbal nteasLires in greit detail in chapter 6 when we learned about suweys and questionnaires, we need to note agaio their importance to social psychological research (but see Baumeister, Vohs, & Funder, 2007). Why are verbal dependent rneasures so important? If we nre interested ilt studfng the origins ancl purpose ofsocial behavior, then shouldn,t our fbcus be on what people do, their actions ratlrer than their opinions or comments in passingi Sociai psychologists reiy on verbal dependent measures for tlvo main reasons: convenieDce and precision. As already acknowiedged, verbal n.ieasuaes are easy. Such nreasllres are easy to constrlLct, easy to administer, and easy for research partjLlpdtrts to understand and to respond to_ There is another side to such convenience: Sorne social behavior-s are difficult to study because people are overly conscious of fhejr actions. 'fhat is, under certain conrlition, or in crrt,tiu srtudtions, people carefirlly monitor or control theit behaviot so that it does not accurately reflect sither their

NjanyWhite AmericaDs now hold rather egalitarian values when it aones to !n:rltrrs ofrace, re;oundingly rejecting prejudice, racism, and discriminatory actions. Yet whiie man,v Whites disavow racist beliefs (e.g,, there ate genetic diffelences among fhe races where ioteiligence is concer-ned), they nonetheless harbor more subde prejudicial thoughts (e.g., Blacks are less selt--reliaDt thafl Whites, Blacks bene6t too much fronl afRrmative action; Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986; N{ccoDahay & Hough, 1976; see 'iisc Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Overt behaviors will not reveal lingering prejudice, especirlly among individuals who work with and live among and socialize with members of minority groups. Onlyprivate, sonretimes anonymous, verbal nreasutes can docutrent such prejudicial thoughts (as can some nonverbal, physiological, and ir-nplicit ore.t sures, which are discussed later in this chapter). What about precision, the secoid reason f<rr using verbal dependent measuresl In man; situations, a given social behavior is obvious, yet its very obviousness prevents a reselrcher tlom discerniDg fine shades of meal l18 or getting at bow people actuallv feel and sometines act despite the irnagc they project. Consider how we act in our public lives versus our truly private lives, especiaily when our lilestyle affects our social stancling with some groups. Use ofa verbal dependent measure in addition to r behav' ioral measurc can be quite enlightening about the soci31 psychologv of real 1ife. Here's an intriguing case. People who live in "special interest houses" on r college cnmpus presunrably take the interest qlritc seriously. Kitts (2003) studjed stlrdenls who elected to live in vegetariao houss where there wer-e strict prohibitions agaillst eating meat and lisb (perhaps yoru school bas one). Yet Kitts found that some residents were n1ore observant ofthe rules than othcrs, arld that most ofthem admitted to breachingl their vegetariin regime (tlpically by eating fish) in Lrrivate on occasion. They did str in secret because they wanted to protect their fellow vegetarians' sensibilities ("1 never want to gross them out that I eat neat") and their own welfare ("1 doi't want my housemates to guilt rne out"). In this exnrrple, private verbal reports revealed a great de.ll nore than public behavior, thereby allowing Kitts to provicle a more per'.ePtive account of stadents' choices, lifesryle, and actual eating habits.
I

Varieties of verbal measures revisited


As we lcarneci iD chapter 6, there ale a host ofdilfcrent tpes ofways to ask and receive answers to eitirer close-ended or open-ended questiotls. I ant Dot going to revisir all

of the suggestions preseDled in chapter 6, bnt I do recomnrend that voo review that chapter's coDtints before makiug any firal decisions abotlt what sort ofverbel dcper
'i

,i
'1

will use in your research project. What I am lioiog to do hefc it :. remind you oi the v:rriety of differelt solts of verbal measures lou can use ii socia] psychological research. I am also going to offer sone suggestions about constrLrctilrt verbal dependcnt measures that were not otfered earlier in the book.
deDt measuies you

).20

Vatiables Nlnsuriflg \\4ldt HaPPe s: Dependeflt


Table

I
I

Measuring \\hat Hap pefts: Def,endent

ariables 221

3.2 Some Open-Ended and


DePendent variables

Ciose-Ended Verbal

rl
I

Open-ended Paper and pencil me$ures (e g , questionnaiLes)


Sttrveys
Free recall mcasures Serial tecall rneasures

Presenting participants with specific responses ensures thal all the lesponses are based on the same shared metric rather tllan People's idios/ncratic sense of measure ment (and the si,'( responses shown above car easily be coded by a researcher as ratings of"I" to "6" for analysis). For exa!nftle, when you use descriPtiofls sLlch as "a couple" or "a ferv," do you rnean "two" and "three," respectively? Many but by no means all peopie ascribe these partict ar numbers to those Particular words. Thus' lvhenever possible, either provide expiicit numbers for peoPle to resPond to or defrne your ternts clearly fbr then. Keep tlte cofltent ofyour questions relevotrt to )tour Pdrticipanfs. The content ofyour questions should be both grouP and age approPriate Thus, ifyou are intetested in the experience and pressures involved in joining an on_camP{s groLlp' such as pledgirrg a fiaternity ol a sororitv, you must be su.e your research Palticipants either went through "rush" (a period rvhere unafnliated students exPlore life in a fraternity or sorority) or joined one of these organizations. Having "independent" students take

I I

Cued recall measures

Narrative methods

u 3
it
l1
,,i
?l

Close-ended Paper anrl pencil nT ersures (e g , quesliorlnaires) Personaiitv inventories


Ratiniscales

Sufleys Rcognition mensures

,j

part in the reseatch is not going to inform yoLr about the process of becollring a nlenlbpr of one ol these social organizatiorrs. Similarly, be sr.tte to screen your participalrt sample with an eye to the relevance of your questions for thenr. Questions about gender. religion, race' culture' social cLass' for example, can be interestilrg aod quite inlpoltant when it comes to portlaying social your sampie.

you drould co sider' NatuTxble 3.2 lists a variety of verbal dependenr variables qele(t a vPrbil one Aq alr^ay* votrr go'rl qhould be lo ' 'll rhi t lr\t i\ nol art crh'rustrve whatever behavioral. dependcnt ;;,"i;;;." ,;",-,;;.;trc:rllv arrd Practically supPoris rely exclusively on verbal ,,'r""r"r. ,'".'. a".ra" ,o use. F"w itu<lies in social psychology thal Some colnbination ofthe two is tlpical' Note ,,r"n.u.". u. tal-tuuiurai measttres for you to jot down other verbal dePendent ineasures i, p.ouia"a in Table 8.2 on your "o"." tn the sociil psychological literatuie or that you discover it., _-

I i
l

life. You nrust. however, ensure that such questions are relevant to all the members of
research, be sure lo $'hatevr sign- p lnethod you are usitrg to rcturt list any particip:rnt qualiiicatjons on participants (see chapler l0) There is nothing wrong witir positing such qualifirntions ("This study is about worrlen's vietls of feminisrn' thr'rs we are only inte'sted iD havtng wornen studerlts siin uP to Participate") as long as,votl do so in an open and hnnest manner. Always ask yourselfthis question: Is there anlthing about the listecl quali6ca tions that could offend anyone? If so, then briefly and honestly explain why you are linriting yonr reseatch project to cer-tai11 people or groups' sarrrPle

'Io ensure acquiring the

)ou want arld need for your

i
,l

".rLrtt "trot, fal. ,ur,t ,o some fionl suggeslions

for constructing verbal dependent measures

aul:cucr c ResaI ch ,PirticiPants Wlrett dskrng t'or ntmterical responses, be specifc ("Abotlt how often they do or think about something how ur.'on."1 a.f,"d ,o Altho'lgh this "r,imate '*llite lies'in order not to hurt soDeone s feelirlgs?") a" y",, "far "if un open-ended lespoDse' a researcher would be better servcd to offer ott,orine inuit""
.-

J
$l

t
i

Be aware of the distittctiotl betweefi recogttitiotr a ?L recall nlelttres On occastotl' a sociai psychologist will want to assess PeoPLe's memories tbr some event or for something about the self or sonle olher Person. A thoror.rgh review of social psychoiogical issues pertaining to mernory and lelated mental lePresentations are beyond the scope

,1i,r,,,1' .'no l.m,tcd:et of responses' su'h Nevei


Once a week A few tincs a week Sevetal tinres a week Once a clay t"rlorc Lhan once a day

rs:

of this chapter and book (llut see, e.g ' Moskowirz' 2005; Smith' 1998) Measrrres of recognitiol or recali are sornetines Llsed ill studies of imPression formation A rcr:all task;sks a participant to produce some itenl fiool memory, such as a fact, a word' a description, or an imp ress ion There are three basic so rts o f recail tasks A f ee rcr:a l/ rask requires participants to repeat learned itens in any o|der they can recall ln contrast,
serial-.scall tasks anticipate that Participants will repeat items iD the exact ordet in which they were originally heard or read to thetn Finaily, ared rzrall tasks call for particip rnts to rnemorize a list ofpaired items (e g.' "kiendly - Latino") Whcn given one item lrolr the pair later, participants are exPected to recall the item's mate correctly'

,1

l
{ il

122

Meastu itlg \\:hat

Iappens:

Depuiett

Varicble:

Nleasuing Wlnt L[aoperLs: Depen,.leni VarittL,ics

2i]

Usrrig a recall tasli, tor xample, a researcher could presDt people with a wlitlen description ol some target person. Larer, after completing somc unrelated task, participanh are asked to write dor.wr all the information they can remember-that is, recall-about the target. The researcher can examine recalled information to learn what is remenbered accurately (perhaps salient characteristics, such as mce, gender, aud so on), the [umbcr of facts reca]led, and the order i| which the information is remembeted- Oiten itens learned iast are recailed 6rst, the so called recency efitct. Similarly, primacy effects are also often observed, where items learned early on are recalled better (perhaps due to rehearsal) than infornation appearing later. Of particular interesi to some social psychologists would be facts that participdnts "recall" that wele not part of the written description; social perceivers often fill ill the blani(s, judging what additional qualitics about a person should or could be present
\\4rer1

ruptive to the ittryielv alld to thc research process. C)nce a transcr+)tion oi the iirter' view is cornplete, some intervielvers invite intervicwees to leview the documents for accurary; such verification is fine for journalism but can introduce a bias into socjal
ps,vchological research. 'I'hege are decided strengths to inteF/iewing as a research techniqu. The exchrnse between interviewer and interviewee can be a greal soulce of ideas for future expcrimenial i,r'ork. OLrtside of a debrieling (see chapter l0), researchers rarely have the

opportunit,v to learn from pafticipants in a back-and-forth manner. The physical presence, too, of an interested, motivated interviewer can encourage participants to take the exelcise quite seriously, thereby r.esulring in higher quality data. As for drawbacks, interviewing is very time-consuming and clearly not as ef6cieni
arr enterprise as administering surveys or questionnaires. A good inteniew is patt alt and part science, aod it is dependent on tire interviewer's demeanor. Tfthe intirvrewer is not comfbrtable in the role, interactions will be arvklvard and little valuable verbal

participant perf<)rm a rccagtifit l task, they are asked to

select

or identilr

previously learned material from sol1le ar ray of other r.elated rnformation. Multiple choice and true-false tests are basic exanrples of recognition memory tasks. A sociai psychologist nligilt lvant to measLlre how weil irarticipants learned whatever detailed informntion tvas presented during the instruction phase oIan experiment. A recogni tion measure could be Lrsed as a manipulation'heck at that point before proceeding to the next phase of thc expedmeDt. For rnore detailed informirtjon on men]ory pro, cesses ir psvehological rescarch generolly, see Tulving and Crnik (2000).

informatiol will be gathered. More problematic still, howcvr, is the bias that can be introduced during the interaction if the interviewel is awar.e ofwhether a particjprr!t is in the experimental or control coldition. To redrrce the possibility of bies her.e, jt is alwals a good iclea to keep the interviewet unaware ofa pafticipant,s group assLgn ment. For lDore detailed guidance on planning and conducting interviews, see, for ex-rrnplc, G:rbrium ancl Hoistcin (2002), Houtkoop (2000), Mishler (1986), Schumrn
(19311, Schwarz, Grove, and Schuman (199s), and Seidman (1999).
V,:

Sone additional verbal rlependent tneasules


Ittteruiev,s. Another wav to learn how people thini(, feel, and act is to intervie1v them. Interviews can be conducted il1 a face-to face rnanner or over the telephone, and they are often used in place of surveys or questionnaires because a researcher wants an opportunity to delve deepeI into peoplc's opinions about, or reaction to, some ropic. An inteNiewer, tlsuall)_ the experimenter, asks a particjpant a series ol questions in a relatively set order. The individual fbcus inhe.ent in an i|rterwiew allorvs the inrerviewer to depart from the Iist ofset queslions as warranted by the interviewee's com firents. Stiuctured interviews tend to rely on close-ended questions,,lvhereas more fieewheeling interviews use open-ended questions. CondLrctirlg an interview sounds easy enoLrgh, but doing so well entails a couple of challcnges. Tire prinarT challenge to an interviewer is to remain open and unbiased when listening to and keeping track ofparticipant responses. No matter how unusudl the lcsponse, a good intervieryer sboLrld remain unflappable. A second challenge involves horv to adeqrately and lhoroughly keep a record of participant rspor5c5. Some intcrviewers rely on a chec[ list composed ofclose ended qustions while others give dre ilterwiewee lree rein to disclosc whatever comes to mind, Eitlrr the interviewer rnust be able to write verbatim staterDe|ls quickly and accurately or some recording device (e.g., a tape recorder.) must be used. Asking a participant to pause in lnid-thoLrght while the irtcrviewel llnishes iotting down some comment can be dis-

rbal p:otocols. Protocoi anall'sis is a familiar tooi in experimental ancl cognitr!e

ps.,'chology (e.g., Ericsson & Simon, 1980, 1993; Newell ck Simon, 1972). A proro.ol analysis involves giving a r.esearch participant some problem to solve and thcn having

th individual "tilink out loud" while solving it. In theory, a participant's,,online" verbaiizations, as it were, should reveal the steps being used in the coursc of thinking through some situation. Siniilar to some interviews, a detailed transcdpt (the prolocol) is prepared ior subsequent anaiysis (e.g., identirying kev moments in the oar-ricipant's

thjnking that indictte how lre or she sought ;t soiution). The study and inregration of data from several protocols is often used to describe the presumcd process ofre.rsc,nin3 people use in a given domail. The use ofverbal protocols is relarively Llncommon in social psychology, possibly due to the critical evaluation ofresearch relying on verbal reports of mentai processes (Nisbett & Wilson, I977). Under some circumstances, ofcourse, tsl<ing peoFle taking part jn a social ps/chology experiment to describe their on-going thoughts (as opposecl to reflecting back on what ied them to some conclusion or trying to explain why they perf-ormcd some behavior) approximates protocol analysis. Ericsson and Simon (1993) algue that bias is introduced in a pr.otocol when participa[ts are asked to explain their cognitive processes but not when they sirv whlt the\, are tltinlell3 oul
loud.

'\ rellte.l, if somewhat retrospecti!e, techjtique used in sociai osychologJ, to stlrdy pecple's responses to persuasive Dtessages is called tlrcrLght listing (Cacioppo, T-iaLkins,

22:l

lvlea*u ing

\1,41ttt

Happens: Dependent Variables

NIea:tning Wutt Hapltens: Itepenlettt Varutbles 215

l98l ) Research particiPantl &Pctry, 193I;CacioPPo&Petty, 1981; Pettv & Cacioppo' (e g , : minutes) during wlrich they list nil thc thouilft' ur" g-.n ,o." p.rioj oftirne ("record only those ideas ,i"olhnd ,hrL. ,'h", .ead oI heard some persuasive argument

Ir

rrpl.cil nrcasures

;;"i;;; *".. thinkjng durinB the last few mioutes"; cacioPPo i"i"l, *r..p "r ,r,'e.l ;ud g"es tvalt't"te the iisted thoughts to determine ". " ,.,nfauorible iesponses in light of the persuasive communication'

& Petq" l98l' p 3l5)'

favorable or

Nonverbal rneasrrres are ideal becausc lhcy are lcss subjecl to conrcious coutrol or distortion than verbal reports. Many sociil psychologists ar e irrcreasirrBly interestcd in a partidlrlar nonverbal measure, so called impli,:it nreaslres, which ate used to asscss
people's automatic p()sitive or negative reactions to objects or other people- Considetabie research has been conducld on implicit prejudice (e.g., Greenwaid & Banaji, i995), where people associate positive or negative characteristics toward differeot social groups. The chiefadvantage of implicit measures is their subtlety; people cannot censor their habitual reactions-thoughts or feelings (e.g., unlriendiiness, faar)toward a social category (e.g., Black people). Thus a research participant can claim to possess a positive attitude toward a group but his or her response to ao implicit measure might reveal the opposite attitude, one lying belou'conscious awateness (fo! reviews of recent social psychological Leseatch on uncorscious processes, see l{assin, Uleman, & Bargh,2005; Uleman & Bargh, 1989; Wilson,2002). To measure irnplicit, prejudiced attitudes, most researchers use the l Qlicit Associalion 1'esr (tAT; Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, i998). Participants are asked to com-lhe assumption is that participants' plete two sorting activities as fast as possible. reaction times reveal how they fcel about some tn,gel (e.9., race, ethnic group) sport). One activity requires them to piace the target in the salrre crtegoryas a list ofwords with positive meanings (e.g., nice, fair, beautiful). In tl're second aclivity, the target is placed with some negative terms (e.g., unkind, rrgiy, dishonest). locleternrinchr.)wparticiprnts actually feel about a given target, a reserrcher compares the spced with which the two soating activities occur. If thc tar8ct is associated rvith the positive terms more qtricldy than the negative terms, the participant is presumed to have a positive implicit atiitude toward the taigel. However, ifthe target is linked rnore quickly with the negative terms than the positive ones, then the inrplicit attitude is identilied as negative. You can take an online version of the IAT at https://implicit.hnrvard.edu/implicit/. The nTain drawback of the IAT is that it takes $ome time to complctc, aod sonrc researchers questio. the measure's validity (e.g., Brertdl, Markman, & Messner. 2001; but see Nosek, Creenwald, & Banaji, 2007). On the other hand, peoPle's responses on the IAT have been linked with a variety of nonverbal, prejudiced reactions, iucluding making or failing to make eye contact, tentative spoken exchanges, and the presence or absence of smiles (e-g., Dovidio, Kwakami, lohnson, lohnson, & Howard, 1997). Regarding preferences for sone groups over others, both younger and oldet individu als display a bias toward the youn8 over the old, and rnany people who complete the IAT carry a moderate to high level of prejudice faYoring White tar8ets over Blacks

Other TYPes of DePendent Measures


Sundardbehavioralorverbal-dependentmeasulesdonotexhaustresearchpossibil-

ii.r li. .".^t psychologists Other distinct approaches that complement.or supPleexist' ilclut{ing nonverbal measures' -"ri t"fr*io,of "ta ,'er'bal dependent variables pipeline methods' and narrative irrfii.l, rn.oru."., physiologilai measures' bogr'rs
approaches.

Nonverbal moatures
measures because they iDvolve acts ,\..onverbrL nteasures would seenl to be behavioral measrlres of behavior that llck or rlo not rely on words PerhaPs becar'rse nonverbal

tirne, social psychology;scribes are so subtLe and yet ihey are all arounJ us all the are designed to assss actiois or cues ihat ,p"aiol ,ouo ,o tltem Nonvetba! neasare-s comnents consider' for example' ;'";;i" ;r" t;;t t"t "teaLring i.dependenl ofverbal a person is feeling Happiness or ,.,.. nonu"rbnl clues to infer how you i"r,i words have "fr"" l"jlcti"tt i" others, for example, is often appatent to us' even when no and looking you in the eye? Or t .'",r u,r.."a. Do they look relaxed? Are they smiling

of,nonverbal ,fr", f""mg a*ay nn,1 n"rvot"ly *ringing their hancls? Categories. "* faciai expressions' hand gestures' body lean and b"iu"io, inaua". "oi.e tone and Pitch, (Dep'irlo & ;;i;;,",i;;; le.g., towards or awav from others)' eve contact and gaze Friedman, 19!)S). - ";;;;.,;r". acconrpanv what peoPle say and' in fact' such
nonverbal cues rouiilrely

*., oi*n ,"t*Lp.ople's underlying intentrons Thushowynusaysomethingisofte'1 to one.person say i*po*nn, n, ,uhni you say. For exantple' -have you el:r heard ". k and recognizetl rmmediitely that the inteot "lli." clress" or a similar renar in measuring "r]ott'"., dress)? Social Psychologists are ioterested *u. ,,,,*]jnt ti , t"ftdt an 'gl)' peopie's speech becarse it often revealsiow they are " iirh .."r..,i"f t"jr.,to, Linked because i".iing. Naor.ou"., nonverbal reaclions often reveal people's "true" feelings
.u.r',""..ion,alenotalwaysr'rndervoluntarycontrol-Alltoooften,people..leak,' ("I'fir not mad at you really' I'm their lrue emotions despite protests to the conltary
well as rot"; Ekman & FIiesen, 1969). How close a person sits to another' as person' readily reveals whether attitrtdes i;u" ,tu.l". of soiles clirccted at that the relaare

(Nosek, Banaji, & Greenwald, 2002).

Physiological measurs
Measrrres of physiological states-bodiiy processes-in the study of social behavior are not new. Socialpsychoiogists sometimes measure blood Pressure, heart rLlte, pupil

posilivc or L-regativc (Hazlewood & Olsor' 1986)

12b

Nledsruing WnLtt HdPpens: 1)ePetLtiettt \/aritbles

Measuing \llLat Llttppens: Dependent Variables 22,False physiological feedback The bogus pipeline

i1s uell as galvanic skln rcsponse (CSR), a chaog iD the electrical ProP('rties (i.e., sweat) in response lo a stifiulus that triggers xcitement or anxiety Such ofskin me.rsurcs are outside peop)e's conscious control. thus rcscarchers can emPloy them as unbiased dependent variabies. Unfortunately, physiological measures often require sensitive and rather exPensive equipment to employ. SLlch equipmcnt requires training for usIs, as well as routin which rneans it is not likely to be available fbr use iil studeut lesearch

dilation,

trutlrful

I would be remiss if I did not mention a ciassic dependent measure designed to ensure responses fron research particiPants-the bogr:s pipeiine (lones & Sigail, l97l).i[his paradigm was created to convince research particiPants that an crcperi-

-uin,"rlnrt.a,

'l'hey measure projects. N{any physiological measures also have a conceplual dr'wback: of general bodily arousal but they fail to differentiate among tl,. p."s.n.. or "bs",rce Considet a measure ofGSR: Despite th fact that being friShtuo.iou. qp., of ".ousal. ened and being thrilled are distinct tyPes of emotional experieoces, most of us are likeiy to bgin lo sweat in the same way whether we are watching a scary movie or atr exhilarating sporting event Naturally, objective physiological dePendent measures should be sLrpported by self report and observational nleasurs FoI more detailed discussion of- physiological measures and their use in social psychoiogical researcir, (2000)' Petty see Cacioppo and Tassinary (I990), CacioPPo, Tassinary, and Berntson (1933), and Wagrler and Nlanstead (1989).

menter could actually "read rheir minds" by discerning when they were being tr'.rthtr]. Well in advance ofbeing connected to a fake lie detecting devicc in a lab selting' loncs and Sigall assessed participants'attitudes in a Pretest sessioo. Parti.ipalrts'pretest responses were then used in concert with the pipeline device to denlonstrate tiral ironest opinions and feelirgs could be measured. From thal point on, the majority oF participants were willing to disclose how they truly felt about various stigmatized gror:ps (e.g., peopie with disabilities, Blacks). The bogus pipelinc proved to bc an exaellent mcasure of attitudes as depefdent variables, a methodological innov]tion social psychologists used to obtain true resPonses towards ideas, groups, and social issues (for a review of the bogus pipeline's effectiveness as a research tooi, see Roese

& Iamieson, 1993).

Narrative approaches
ofphysioLogical inqLliry Noninvasive nrcasLrtesfrom soci.tl tte rcsci"u.r)"O,'t" t "* ""' is rvorth nrentioning The subrliscipline of sociol neurosciettte' in sociai psycholr:gy which examines horv brain processes influence social cognition, emotion, and inter personal relatronships, anrong other rcpics in social rnd personality psychology' uses noninvasive tools including functional rnngnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomograPhY (PET). These "high tech" tools arc obviously beyond the scope of aoyone's first foray into social psychological Iesearch, bt:t I do think it is iurPoltant to uoderstand the potential of socirl rrcurosciettce. Let's briefly consider how fMRl can be used to shed light on our social exprience. MRI is an itlraging technology that allows researchers to obsefle brain structures anci to measure changes (e.g., blood flow) happeniDg therein while Lr

person is perfbrming some cognitive task Eiseuberger, Lieberman, and Williams .oDducted a study to deternljne whether the brain bases ofsocirl i200;;, lo, "*"-ple, pain are similar to tiros associated with physical pain (see also Panksepp, 2003) To test the effect of social pain, the researcheas chose to exanine horv people feel when they are socially excluded-ignored, passed over' ostracized-by others Whil playing
a computerized (virtuai) ball tossing game v,rith others, ParticiPaDts were eventually exclr.rded from play by their opPonents As anticiPated' brain activiry following this mild ostracism paralleled that found in studies of physical pain arld was associated with self-reports of aoguish. The Promise of MRI data are that they can be linked up with more traclitional, sociaL psychological research on ihe effects of being sociaily exchLclecl or even dropped by others (see Williams' 2002, for a revierv of traditional social psychological rese:rtch on ostracism) For an introduction to social neuroscience, see CircioPpo and Berntson (1004) and CaciopPo, Visser, and Pickett (2oos).

Narrative aprproaches rcpresent a neu qualitative approach lo dependcnt variables th,1t is gaioing popularity in sociil and Personallty psychoiogy. By narrative,l l]|'ea'] the personiil stories pcople tcll in orcler to make sellse of their own iives, both for themselves nnd fo. odrer people (e.g., McAdams, 1993) Research on Dartotives sLrggests that people coonecl their experiences with different asPects of thcir seil-conccpt in order to rlevelop a coherent identity, albeit one th'nt can change ac:oss ti;ne Incl circumstln.e. Pcople are especially likely (o sear.h tbr meaning and prrrpose in their iives fsllowirlg critical nloments or major transitions (McAdams, Josseison, & Lieblich,2001). Use of narrative approaches by having participants write about their own lives is one way to collect a great deal of rich, interesting informatioo alrout sociilL life and personal development. On the other hand, a rescalcher must have some orgrnrzing theme or coding schene to impose order on so much information (similar concerns were raised about open endcd measures in chaPter 6). Smaller scale narratil'e studies using selected self reports as dependent variables are no doubt possible. For ideas, consult Josselson, Lieblich, and McAdams (2002), McAdams (1993), and N{cAdams
et al. (2001).

Some Practical Issues for Administering Dependent Variables Will thc pr{:sentation ol-a depcnclent variable change a participant's behavior for rhe w(ong reason (i.e., reactiviry)? what can be done to reduce participants's.rsDici'r' curiosity, or wariness regarding the delivery of dependent variables jn slndies2 Ho'i'

Nledsurury

Mnt

Happens:

Deper ett |ariables 229

22.3

Vfiiables Lica.s''o 1g t\:iu1t I[|pPens: DePeti'lekt additional, short set oIqustions The actual dePendent variable is etnbedded therein and the participant is none the wiser uniil the actual debrie6ng strbscquentiy occurs Alternatively, a researcher nlight ir)fbrnl ParticiPants that they lvill take Part irl tuo separate but unrelated studies. After the lirst study is supposedly over, the dependent
varralrlejs presented as an unrelated part of the second study Again, due to the cover storf regarding the two studies, the Participants are unlikely ro link the actual depcndent variable with what am before. Consitlet rotrverbal dePendent neastn es. lnstead of asking Participants directly how they feel about another person through an intenie$'or a questionnaire-horh nf which are apt to tligger social desirabilit,v concerns (recall chapter 6)-look to subtle nonverbal measures ofaffect Thele is a large literature on nonverbal behavior, muclt ofit concerned with social psychological processes (for a review, see DePaulo & Friedman, 1998). Proximity or interpersonal distance was already suggested as one way to assess one persoo's liking ofanother (e.g.' Hall, 1966)- Making eye contact is another (Exline, 1971). Before emplofng a nonverbai dependent variable, a conscientious researcher wiil search the relevant literature to lnake certain that the behavior has beerr validated as a reliabie indicator of the desired psychological state'

a dePendeDt variabl won't alert,particican a researcher be sure that admil]istering many behaviorai the hl?othesis being studiedi We already roted that

;;;; ";"tt measureshaveanadvanlageoververbalmeasures-peopleareoftenless.likelyto or control than are n.ri.. ,L"* "ta' i" uny case' behavior is often harder to monitor so that a study's variery ofsinlple steps a researcher can consider ,i..*f*. tlt*. "* " are not linked togetirer' fu.pl." "na tl. tttuin dependent variable
Attend to
min d l f you( rivacy and sensititily ' Keep participarrt reaclivity ill aboui sensitive or private matters' remember that i. a*i"^#,o ask questions feel about a ",1.,-, er'barrassed or inhibited to reveal how they actuallv :;;;;;;:t;;;" controversial i-,".'"*" i...ltLt" ,rteir:relevaut pastbehavior' Topics such as sexualiq?' participants racc relations, and the like will often induce g.
issues of p

i.. ' "U"rtion), ""irilt*", than candid answers to elve less '" i"i* .l,r a"""? In the first place,

make certain that you really ard truly want

'r" anclneedroconductleseatchonsetlsitiveorplivateissues.Therearemanyotlrer Second'

."J"iprla,l"f"si."i

iii"r'p.l*." """ "fthese tlclDan$thnthorrestresponsesareneededandthatyouwillkeepthoseresponses by t,, J"-.o, b.hn"lo'^lly illustrate hdw you wiil maintain anonyrnity a contai.er with "rJ"t"r"tt. place complcted questionnaires' for example' in ;;;;;;"io;",; (recall chapter 3) will be kept
.rir"r"ti,.""t,lutprjin
thaL ilfornred consent forrus which siould be anv dat.r coLl'ctcd flom them (an ethical practice ,"u"rni" f,oof vour project is oDe that often tL'i.d, ;.d*it that lhe toPic ";;;;":';;-"'1;.".;1- revealing your hWothesis, explrirr why the roprc is important ..ir", .on.",n. in'irhuur

suspicion ,opics thxt do not arouse participant concern or pains to assure partopics, then take great methodological

ACTIVE LEARNINC EXERCISE 8B

and not ,rt" participants'-help as iesearch collaborators ".ir" "lit.ti" ut.o.iot inforrt,ntion The urain point is that sincerity and candor can often ,o.,..J, your project with interest' enllagsmejlt' an.o.r.og" ,"r.or.l, P?uticiPaits to rpproach

sinrply as good

Developint Dependent Variables by Looking to the Literature


Corning up with just the right dependent variable for a study can be a challenge Keep in mind that you need not reinvent the wheel in order to find one that will work for your purposes. Several times in the aourse of this book I have suggested that you look to the literature for ideas- Borrowin8 and adapting existing depen dent measures is entirely appropriate as long as you credit the creator by citing his or her work in your research repoir or sumnlary (see chapter 1 2) Here are two
suggestions:

and truthful resPonses.


need not announce itseli Why Dtsgutse a ,:lependetrt nlcosLne A deperdenl neasure are not aware their actions have been neasured? not dissrlise it so that participants behavioral measttres were already suggested as .';;;. ";;;...t:;; "t'o,,obt'utiu"states or dispositions Another aPproach can be to meltal ,f """i1.dr.",".t "*ple's thereby dt.r at the criticalmoment ir an erPeriment'

li"-"

".i""r."" "ni, ".ilticipants with ."i"".i,"*i.n"r,"r.u'observarions that are consisrent

the hl?orhesis. ln rhe cas

.i

.,".frni

"ll questionnaire
Rentove tlrc

.l""r.,,.., <lisguising the clepeneleot variable can be as.straightforvarda filler items within .,ltt"aaing o k"y tluestinlt o' qtl"ttions with some

particiirant suspicion' depetitettt vctriable front tlLe 5itLuxtiotl To reduce (i e'' delivery ofthe indePendent ,on-r. ,"."r..It..r.o-Plete ti\e main Part ofthe study a debrieling ln the course of vari,rble), ciaim that t-he study is ovt', ""<1 then begin asks the Participant lo complete an til. a"b,ienng, for instance, the exPerinlenter

Develop dependent measures based an an atticle you think is interesting Look through a recent issue ol a social psychology iournal or look up a study you admire' neview the description of the dependent variables in the Method section of the article. What makes the measule a good one? ls it comPeJling and involvinSt Clever and unobtrusive? Well written? How could you adapt il for your own the research? Can you think of ways to improve it? Wriie a Paragraph describing why you think it is a strong one. and how you might u5e it original measure,

)3A

[4ca'ut ing

1t\"'hi.t,

ttdDpens: l)cPe tLent \'.Lnnbles

l\'leosuring )\,)utt Happens: Depeudertt \,.itriubies 23 I anything under.70. Sometimes a researcher ir"ill revise some items or I,rite nerv ores and then coneluct a second pilot test (and recalculate internal consistenry) in or.ler to preeale the measure for !rse. !_or a more technicai discussion ofinternal conr^istenq., sr,e Cronb"ch (195I). Before deciding to use any published scale in a research pro,1ecr, you should elanrine its intertral consistency reiiability to be sure it reaches an acceptable level
(such inforrnation is available in the publication introducing tl.te scale or, in the case pLrrchased products, in the test booklet accompanying the copies ofthe rneasur.et.

Develop Cepetident nrcasures linked to an article rclevantto your prciect. Look throlgh the articles you gathered for your own project. Are there dependent rneasures that would fit your project well? Should they be adapted or altered? How might the measures be irnproved for yoLtr purposes? Write a paragraph describing each onginal measure, why you think each is of potential Ltse, or rs a st.ong one, and how you might use it for your own project. Be sure to tndicate how the difterent levels of your jndependent variable will affect each rneasure_

of

Reliability and Dependent Variables


One finai, rrlportant c<lncern [or dependent variables is their reiiability. Whcn psychologists talk about reliability, they ale not refe.ring ro whether a measure can be trusted or whether it is dependable-ttrose chamcteristics refer more to the validity of a construct or a measLlre (se chapter 9). Reliability refers to a measuret clegree of consistency or stability; horvevcr, there ate a fer,v ways il measure can be consistent_ The 6rst is Lhe melsure's consistency across tirDe. Many tlreasures, suci as intelligence (lQ) tests and some personality inventories, asJuane that a person's score at one poiut in time should be approximately the sanle at another point in time, even ifthe interual is quite large, say, scveral nrollths or er,en lougler Social psychologists use these sorts

ofleliabi]itymersLrreslessoftenthirnotherpsychologists,asmostoftheirexperimelis are dcsigrlecl k) creirte son'le change ill respollsc due to the impact of an indcpendent variable olt a dcpendent variable. LIowever, if a social psl,chologist wanted to recruit participilnts h,itil a p.u ticular h.ait-say, shyDess or optimism, for example-then the
of a consrsten! personality measure wo!ld be very important. second rlpe of reliability is often rehted to dependent variables that contain a variery of itenrs all designed to measure the sarne coostruct. Intunol consistcncy rcfers lo how well a collection of similar items are associated with one another. l'echnically speak ing, tlris for rn of reliability is determined by the dcgree of iDtercorrelations amoDg a group of related test items or a collction ofsubtests. lmagine, fcx example, that yor.r were developing a lrew personality scale designed to measure modesr), to identify jndi, viduals who rarely cali atteDtion to theDtselves or theft aciio s. A common appaoach is to \,\,.r-ite a large pool of items and to then pilot test then on a group ofpeople. The initial run ofanalyses involves correlating all lhe responses to the itellls lvith oti anothet_ l.o crearc a.cliable n]easure, ihose items that are highly associated with one anotber (i.e., tapping ioto the sanle construct) are retained, whereas thosc wirh low correlations are dropped. Ihe decisiou to rerain some irems while dropping others usually involves examininB what is called an a/p/ra coelfcient, a nLtmerical indcx of internal consistency reliabiliry. Ac.ording to Rosenthal .nd Rosnorv (1991), a reasonable alpha coelficient for tests used tbr clinical ptLrposes sirould be .85 or higher., levels which indicct the meirsure is dependable. r\[ha leveis for experimental work-inciuding experimenta] social psychology-can be lower and still be used, but I would suggest using care with
use
,A.

A type of reliability ofien found in social psychology expetiments is called irrrcrrl sener reliability, thar is, the degree to which observers agree about what beha.r,ior thev are observing, codiig, or otherwise describing. Earlier, when discussiog unobtrLtsive measures, I cited.esearch byWilson et al. (l984, studies I and 2) where coders observed and recorded participants'puzzle play and facial expressions from behincl a one-way mirror. Inter(,bsewer reljabiliry was obtained in both studles by correlxtjns the oLrservx_ tions ofone observer with those ofthe orher (i.e., a high positive correlation indicated that both observers effecrively saw the same behaviors). The utility ofthis form of reli, abilin. is an error check, a way to ensure that the m.a.uremerrt of depen<ient v:rriables (horv long eatlr pLrzT-le was played with by each participant; the number, strength, and dr.rution of each participant's smiles) is accurate. ktealiy, the obsefr'ed correlntior) betlveen two observers'ratilgs shouJd be above.g0, preferably closer to .90. Let's close with one intpo.tant obseryation allout any dependent variable or other nleasure, one that nicely sets rp the topic of the next chapter. lust because a depenclent variable is rcliable does not mean thit it is valid, that it is trul), measLrring nhat it is srLppose to.apt0re in ternrs ofbehavior, ver.bal report, or psycholoeical construct. An unihir o. poorly constructed tesl wili remain so, anci people taking itlrrore than once will still score bedly on it. Reliability, then, while importanr, is onlv one impot:anr asirect of a nteasure. Researchers musr bc sure that their dependcnt variabies are txpping irlto the intended social phenoolena.

Exercises

Review the "pen" study conducted by Hazel Markus that opens this chapter. aan you thrnk of other everyday choices or objects that reveal how different cLrltural groups dr5play understandings of agency? How would you measure these dependent variables?

2 3 4

List some possible behavjoral dependent variabJes that could represent the quantifi, able dimensions noted in this chapter (e.g., frequency, duration, speed, proxlrnity)

You are planning a study on people's willingness to donate blood to a local biooci bank. ldentify some overt behavioral, behavioroid, and unobtrusive measures for the

st!dy.
Rcview the section discussing unobtrusive measures an.l then walk around your campus to jdentify physical evidence pointing to possible erosion and accretion
measures.