Field of Science

New Experiment: That Kind of Person

I just got back reviews on one of the pronoun papers. Although the paper already had seven experiments, they want two more. The worst part about it is that they are right.

Luckily, the experiment they asked for can be done online. It takes about 5 minutes. Native English speakers preferred (though I look at all data).

That Kind of Person (takes about 5 minutes)

My target is to post the results for this and the seven previous experiments in 2 weeks ... if I get enough participants quickly. Thank you in advance to everyone who participates.


The Phytophactor said...

Likely bias #1: readers of science blogs are more likely to be well educated, literate. Bias #2: takers of this "test" are more likely to have the newest version of whatever reader is needed to view the darned thing, i.e., this well-educated, literate potential test subject was blocked by their software inadequacies. To whom is "their" refering?

GamesWithWords said...

@Phytophactor. Participant bias is something we look at pretty carefully. We've actually looked at our participant bias pretty carefully in the past, and it is a whole lot less biased than your typical psych study. (Consider what my alternative is: running experiments with MIT undergraduates!) Only about 10% of my participants come directly through this blog (though how much word-of-mouth ultimately starts with this blog, I can't say ... though it would be interesting to know ... maybe we should run a study!).

As far as newest version .... I actually use a very old version of Flash. This particular experiment is written for Flash Player 7 (Adobe is currently on Flash Player 10, I believe) and ActionScript 2 (which is now getting quite dated ... Adobe on ActionScript 3). I do this on purpose so that people don't have to be that up-to-date.

BUT it's possible that Adobe still asks you to download the new player, or maybe your browser does. Has anyone else had an "update flash" message?

In any case, I think we're going to move over to doing most of the future experiments using dynamically-created HTML pages, which then should run regardless of your system. That's still under discussion, though. We'll see. There is always a lot of inertia.

Tom Jeanne said...

Just took it. It was interesting to see how several factors affect perception of the pronoun referent: stature of person (senator vs page), the particular verb used, and stereotypical gender roles (e.g. teacher)--even though you stated that both people were male, some people might be more inclined to view "he" in child vs. teacher to be more likely to refer to the child, especially as the child was displaying poor behavior, a more stereotypical male role.

Not sure if it was intentional, but you used the wrong verb in one of the phrases: "The parent complemented [complimented] the child". Very different meanings, but in the absence of context indicating otherwise, most people would assume you meant "complimented".

GamesWithWords said...

@Tom: I've debated about "complemented". It's not a type-o. I actually do mean "complemented". I suspect you are right, though, and most people interpret it as "complimented". In any case, I used "complemented" in the first 7 experiments, so I can't change it now. If I return to these verbs in future work (i.e., a different paper), I don't think I'll use complemented again.