I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

For the discussion of the sciences. Physics problems, chemistry equations, biology weirdness, it all goes here.

Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

abstractpotato
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:28 pm UTC
Location: California
Contact:

I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby abstractpotato » Mon May 02, 2011 2:56 am UTC

I stumbled across a website that claimed something dubious (and testable!), so of course I constructed a survey to test it.

I can't say what the website claimed or what website it was until I finish the study, for obvious reasons.

Anyway, I need a decent sample size to draw any conclusions. I plan to keep going until I have at least 30 data points each in my control and treatment groups, ideally more to minimize margin of error. I'm roughly half way there right now.

So please help me out by taking the survey. It probably won't take much longer than it took you to read this.

http://abpotato.com/claimtest/

I'll post the results back here when it's done, including raw data (minus spam) for anyone interested.

Update:
The report is now available here: http://abpotato.com/claimtest/report.php. Please tell me if you notice anything wrong with it!
Last edited by abstractpotato on Thu May 05, 2011 3:24 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

dainbramage
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:25 am UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby dainbramage » Mon May 02, 2011 3:13 am UTC

I think your name/the url of your website are going to screw up the results anyhow

User avatar
poxic
Eloquently Prismatic
Posts: 4751
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:28 am UTC
Location: Left coast of Canada

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby poxic » Mon May 02, 2011 3:16 am UTC

Look at me still talking when there's Science to do
When I look out there it makes me GLaD I'm not you
There is research to be done
And experiments to run
On the people who are still alive...

Yeah, your URL was a hint. :wink:
A man who is 'ill-adjusted' to the world is always on the verge of finding himself. One who is adjusted to the world never finds himself, but gets to be a cabinet minister.
- Hermann Hesse, novelist, poet, Nobel laureate (2 Jul 1877-1962)

abstractpotato
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:28 pm UTC
Location: California
Contact:

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby abstractpotato » Mon May 02, 2011 3:25 am UTC

Wow, I didn't even think of my url. That's almost certainly going to confound things.

Hopefully I'll still be able to draw something useful from it.

User avatar
xkcdfan
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:10 am UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby xkcdfan » Mon May 02, 2011 3:51 am UTC

Your test only lists two options for respondents' genders.

abstractpotato
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:28 pm UTC
Location: California
Contact:

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby abstractpotato » Mon May 02, 2011 4:00 am UTC

xkcdfan wrote:Your test only lists two options for respondents' genders.


I considered adding an "other" option, but I figured those who don't consider themselves male or female comprise a very small portion of the population, and I'm probably not going to block by gender anyway. I don't expect it to bias my results.

User avatar
Interactive Civilian
Posts: 468
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:53 am UTC
Location: Bangkok, Krung Thep, Thailand
Contact:

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby Interactive Civilian » Mon May 02, 2011 5:18 am UTC

Both your login name and the URL are going to bias results, I think. Unless that is what you are testing. :?

Don't unspoil the following if you plan on participating but haven't yet...
Spoiler:
My thinking went something like this. "Name the first vegetable you think of" -> Me: "Tomato... wait, that's a fruit. Potato" because I could see it in the URL and from your login name. Don't know why tomato came first, though, but it wasn't a vegetable, so doesn't count. ;)
I (x2+y2-1)3-x2y3=0 science.

User avatar
xkcdfan
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:10 am UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby xkcdfan » Mon May 02, 2011 5:36 am UTC

abstractpotato wrote:
xkcdfan wrote:Your test only lists two options for respondents' genders.


I considered adding an "other" option, but I figured those who don't consider themselves male or female comprise a very small portion of the population, and I'm probably not going to block by gender anyway. I don't expect it to bias my results.

If you're not going to do anything with the gender data, why did you include the dropdown to begin with? All it does is make intersex and genderqueer people go "Oh, our opinions aren't needed. Again." and close the tab.

User avatar
AvatarIII
Posts: 2098
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:28 pm UTC
Location: W.Sussex, UK

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby AvatarIII » Mon May 02, 2011 10:42 am UTC

it doesn't let me get past the demographic page, i put country as UK, and state as does not apply, but it won't let me continue.

edit: never mind, i changed to the other uk choice (the alphabetical one rather than the one near the top) and it worked,
Spoiler:
also, i'm pretty sure the url is going to skew your results.

User avatar
RogerMurdock
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:35 pm UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby RogerMurdock » Mon May 02, 2011 1:30 pm UTC

xkcdfan wrote:
abstractpotato wrote:
xkcdfan wrote:Your test only lists two options for respondents' genders.


I considered adding an "other" option, but I figured those who don't consider themselves male or female comprise a very small portion of the population, and I'm probably not going to block by gender anyway. I don't expect it to bias my results.

If you're not going to do anything with the gender data, why did you include the dropdown to begin with? All it does is make intersex and genderqueer people go "Oh, our opinions aren't needed. Again." and close the tab.


I'm all for the rights and fair representation of of transgendered people, but this isn't the time nor the place to start arguing about it.

abstractpotato
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:28 pm UTC
Location: California
Contact:

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby abstractpotato » Mon May 02, 2011 2:04 pm UTC

I said "considered themselves" in regards to gender. Transgendered people usually do consider themselves to be a particular gender, regardless of their biology. So it should only really discriminate against hermaphrodites, and even they can consider themselves one gender or the other.

As far as why it's included at all, it was a bit of a whim, but it has actually turned out to be useful for filtering out spam (used together with IP addresses).

User avatar
KestrelLowing
Posts: 1124
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:57 pm UTC
Location: Michigan

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon May 02, 2011 3:04 pm UTC

Once again spoilered if you haven't done this:
Spoiler:
I also thought of tomato first. Then realized it was a fruit and then put in cucumber. (I think veggie tales was coloring my opinion) I just realized now that's technically a fruit as well. Damn.

User avatar
Shivahn
Posts: 2200
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:17 am UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby Shivahn » Mon May 02, 2011 5:49 pm UTC

RogerMurdock wrote:
xkcdfan wrote:
abstractpotato wrote:
xkcdfan wrote:Your test only lists two options for respondents' genders.


I considered adding an "other" option, but I figured those who don't consider themselves male or female comprise a very small portion of the population, and I'm probably not going to block by gender anyway. I don't expect it to bias my results.

If you're not going to do anything with the gender data, why did you include the dropdown to begin with? All it does is make intersex and genderqueer people go "Oh, our opinions aren't needed. Again." and close the tab.


I'm all for the rights and fair representation of of transgendered people, but this isn't the time nor the place to start arguing about it.


Given that specific people are probably (definitely) refusing to answer because they don't want to go past that page, regardless of rights and fair representation, it's biasing the data unnecessarily.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26767
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby gmalivuk » Mon May 02, 2011 7:50 pm UTC

Shivahn wrote:it's biasing the data unnecessarily.
And it was otherwise going to be such good research!

Spoiler:
Also, tomatoes and cucumbers are totally vegetables, as are peppers. That they are *also* botanically considered to be fruits doesn't change this fact.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

thicknavyrain
ThinkGravyTrain
Posts: 913
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 12:41 pm UTC
Location: The Universe

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby thicknavyrain » Mon May 02, 2011 8:10 pm UTC

Again, do not unspoiler if you haven't done the test:

Spoiler:
I opened up the test, went to the toilet, came back and forgot entirely about the potato thing and put in broccoli...somehow I don't think you accounted for that kind of behaviour.
RoadieRich wrote:Thicknavyrain is appointed Nex Artifex, Author of Death of the second FaiD Assassins' Guild.

Brickman
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 7:25 pm UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby Brickman » Mon May 02, 2011 8:12 pm UTC

I couldn't shake the feeling during the test that it seemed familiar, but the vegetable question was sufficiently unexpected and I was sufficiently unable to think of what it was "supposed" to be about that I decided I must be thinking of something else. Anyways, I went with cucumber and did NOT notice the url or username until the thread mentioned them.

User avatar
Shivahn
Posts: 2200
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:17 am UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby Shivahn » Mon May 02, 2011 9:10 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Shivahn wrote:it's biasing the data unnecessarily.
And it was otherwise going to be such good research!


Haha. Well, it's biasing it more. Though you're right, the badness that comes from that is orders of magnitude less than other structural flaws :P

pizzazz
Posts: 487
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:44 pm UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby pizzazz » Tue May 03, 2011 4:19 pm UTC

Wow, I'm apparently the third person who almost immediately thought
Spoiler:
cucumber
. But I went with
Spoiler:
lettuce
, because I thought of the two simultaneously, and the former is a fruit.

Moose Hole
Posts: 398
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:34 pm UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby Moose Hole » Tue May 03, 2011 4:39 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Screw fruit guys, any part of a plant is a vegetable, including the fruit. Am I the only one who said carrot? I didn't put together the username thing at all.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26767
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 03, 2011 5:02 pm UTC

Yeah, I agree that plant parts are vegetables (unless they're nuts or seeds, I guess). Some vegetables happen to be leaves, some are flowers, some are roots, and yes, some are even fruits.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Turtlewing
Posts: 236
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:22 pm UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby Turtlewing » Tue May 03, 2011 6:51 pm UTC

Moose Hole wrote:
Spoiler:
Screw fruit guys, any part of a plant is a vegetable, including the fruit. Am I the only one who said carrot? I didn't put together the username thing at all.

Spoiler:
I chose "carrot" but my thought process was "orange! Crap that a fruit, Tomatoe! wait same problem. Carrot, right? yeah carrots are roots, roots are vegetables."

EricH
Posts: 259
Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 3:41 am UTC
Location: Maryland

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby EricH » Tue May 03, 2011 7:24 pm UTC

Moose Hole wrote:
Spoiler:
Screw fruit guys, any part of a plant is a vegetable, including the fruit. Am I the only one who said carrot? I didn't put together the username thing at all.

Spoiler:
You're not the only one. Carrot was the first thing I thought of, making me wonder what hypothesis we could possibly be testing.
[/quote]
Pseudomammal wrote:Biology is funny. Not "ha-ha" funny, "lowest bidder engineering" funny.

User avatar
mikecoulter
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:04 pm UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby mikecoulter » Tue May 03, 2011 9:55 pm UTC

EricH wrote:
Moose Hole wrote:
Spoiler:
Screw fruit guys, any part of a plant is a vegetable, including the fruit. Am I the only one who said carrot? I didn't put together the username thing at all.

Spoiler:
You're not the only one. Carrot was the first thing I thought of, making me wonder what hypothesis we could possibly be testing.
[/quote]

Spoiler:
Me too! That's rather odd... I sense wizardry.

ajd007
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:18 am UTC
Location: Providence, RI

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby ajd007 » Tue May 03, 2011 10:14 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Did no one else think of asparagus? I don't know why, but that was the first thing that popped into my head. I haven't even eaten any asparagus in years.

User avatar
TaintedDeity
Posts: 4003
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:22 pm UTC
Location: England;

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby TaintedDeity » Tue May 03, 2011 10:21 pm UTC

RogerMurdock wrote:I'm all for the rights and fair representation of of transgendered people, but this isn't the time nor the place to start arguing about it.
Fuck that. If this shit isn't pointed out wherever it happens it'll continue happening.

As for the survey:
Spoiler:
I've heard from a variety of sources that a carrot is the most returned answer to "think of a vegetable". but I'm not sure how true that is.
Ⓞⓞ◯

User avatar
Tass
Posts: 1909
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:21 pm UTC
Location: Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen.

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby Tass » Wed May 04, 2011 9:00 am UTC

When I filled out the first page with "Denmark" "--does not apply--" "no" and "male" it wouldn't let me continue, saying that all fields had to be filled out.

User avatar
AvatarIII
Posts: 2098
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:28 pm UTC
Location: W.Sussex, UK

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby AvatarIII » Wed May 04, 2011 9:16 am UTC

Tass wrote:When I filled out the first page with "Denmark" "--does not apply--" "no" and "male" it wouldn't let me continue, saying that all fields had to be filled out.


i had the same problem, try state to "-select-"

User avatar
scarecrovv
It's pronounced 'double u'
Posts: 674
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:09 pm UTC
Location: California

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby scarecrovv » Wed May 04, 2011 7:01 pm UTC

ajd007 wrote:
Spoiler:
Did no one else think of asparagus? I don't know why, but that was the first thing that popped into my head. I haven't even eaten any asparagus in years.

Spoiler:
I also thought of asparagus first. I don't know why.

edit: Perhaps the study is intended to see if people try to find patterns in their answers when everybody thinks of random vegetables. The "study" is just a distraction, and this thread is the point.

User avatar
xkcdfan
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:10 am UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby xkcdfan » Wed May 04, 2011 11:52 pm UTC

TaintedDeity wrote:
RogerMurdock wrote:I'm all for the rights and fair representation of of transgendered people, but this isn't the time nor the place to start arguing about it.
Fuck that. If this shit isn't pointed out wherever it happens it'll continue happening.

+1. Sitting down and waiting for the proper time to speak up hasn't ever worked.

As for the survey:
Spoiler:
I've heard from a variety of sources that a carrot is the most returned answer to "think of a vegetable". but I'm not sure how true that is.

Spoiler:
Carrot is what I picked. If that's the hypothesis, what did the number six have to do with anything?

User avatar
TaintedDeity
Posts: 4003
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:22 pm UTC
Location: England;

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby TaintedDeity » Thu May 05, 2011 12:08 am UTC

Spoiler:
Where did you get the number six from? I see no sixes...
Ⓞⓞ◯

User avatar
scarecrovv
It's pronounced 'double u'
Posts: 674
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:09 pm UTC
Location: California

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby scarecrovv » Thu May 05, 2011 2:21 am UTC

TaintedDeity wrote:
Spoiler:
Where did you get the number six from? I see no sixes...

Spoiler:
Oooooh. I think one of us is a control. 6 was plastered all over my survey. Every question (except for the veggie one), was about the number 6.

abstractpotato
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:28 pm UTC
Location: California
Contact:

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby abstractpotato » Thu May 05, 2011 3:20 am UTC

Thanks to everyone who helped!

I have a draft of the report up here:
http://abpotato.com/claimtest/report.php

I welcome criticism if I've done something incorrect.

User avatar
phlip
Restorer of Worlds
Posts: 7572
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:56 am UTC
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby phlip » Thu May 05, 2011 3:30 am UTC

Spoiler:
I too had heard the "carrot" thing... the idea being that you ask a bunch of quick simple maths problems, and have them answer as quickly as possible... so they're ready to answer with the first thing that comes to mind, when you ask the last question, and they're not thinking about that topic... and then you ask "Name an X" and you end up with the first thing that comes to mind when you mention "X". That is, the maths isn't priming them to pick a particular option... it's trying to dampen any priming there may be from other sources.

Lore is that "Name a vegetable" will get "carrot", "Name a fruit" will get "apple", "Name a tool" will get either "hammer" or "screwdriver", "Name a number from 1 to 10" will get "7" (for this one your padding questions should be, say, spelling, or something else not number-related).

In my experience, they do work surprisingly often. Not 100%, but often.
Last edited by phlip on Thu May 05, 2011 3:39 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
[he/him/his]

Wodashin
Posts: 488
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:54 am UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby Wodashin » Thu May 05, 2011 3:31 am UTC

Spoiler:
The important thing is the the treatment nearly eliminates the thought of corn.
Last edited by Wodashin on Thu May 05, 2011 11:15 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
314man
Posts: 119
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:03 pm UTC
Location: Ontario

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby 314man » Thu May 05, 2011 5:36 am UTC

Am I the only one that thought of this when I saw the title?

Spoiler:
Image

Brickman
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 7:25 pm UTC

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby Brickman » Thu May 05, 2011 3:56 pm UTC

Heh, I'd bet money that the proportion of people who'd pick apple were it fruit would be higher than 70%.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26767
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby gmalivuk » Thu May 05, 2011 6:15 pm UTC

xkcdfan wrote:If you're not going to do anything with the gender data, why did you include the dropdown to begin with?
Presumably because, if there *had* been significant differences by gender, they would have done something with it. Which is essentially cherry-picking, but probably forgivable in this sort of preliminary "research".

(But you're right about it discouraging those who don't apply either label. Kind of like how if my country weren't on a list of possibilities, I would rather not continue than choose something that wasn't accurate.)
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Yakk
Poster with most posts but no title.
Posts: 11128
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
Location: E pur si muove

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby Yakk » Thu May 05, 2011 6:46 pm UTC

Doesn't everyone start answering randomly and/or perversely once the survey asks a question that doesn't have a "correct" answer among the choices?

I mean, if they are going to get bad data, might as well make the data really bad.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
Velifer
Posts: 1132
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:05 pm UTC
Location: 40ºN, 83ºW

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby Velifer » Thu May 05, 2011 7:11 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Which is essentially cherry-picking, but probably forgivable in this sort of preliminary "research".

Right. Next time you dichotomize a continuous variable, don't tell people about it beforehand. Put up a question like "On a scale of 1 to 10, how MALE are you?" That won't have ANY negative impact on your response rate! (On a big phone survey I was working with, the number of non-completes became huge when a question about sexual orientation was included. Sometimes, you lose less by losing the outliers.)

Tukey used a regression fit that trimmed out the middle third of responses. This mitigates some measurement error (and measurement error on self-reported data is notorious). You get whipped on sample size and power, but if the effect is real, it will survive. This approach makes many things cleaner, simpler, and easier to gain understanding from, and that's the whole point.

Dichotomization is in general a Bad IdeaTM, but when you have an overwhelmingly bimodal distribution or nonlinearity with other variables it's accepted.

Don't worry too much, someone will always bitch about not being included in whatever categories you use, or they'll be pissed off about being lumped in the "other" category with people who aren't just like them.
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies have nothing to lose but their chains -Marx

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26767
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: I'm doing science, and I need test subjects.

Postby gmalivuk » Thu May 05, 2011 7:55 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Which is essentially cherry-picking, but probably forgivable in this sort of preliminary "research".

Right. Next time you dichotomize a continuous variable, don't tell people about it beforehand.
No, cherry-picking by choosing not to mention negative results (i.e. the lack of any gender-based differences).
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)


Return to “Science”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests