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This is a question Pointless Experiments

Pavlov's Frog writes: I once spent 20 minutes with my eyes closed to see what it was like being blind. I smashed my knee on the kitchen cupboard, and decided I'd be better off deaf as you can still watch television.

(, Thu 24 Jul 2008, 12:00)
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For my psychology degree...
...we had to do a final year project worth a large percentage of our final degree mark. My experiment, entitled "Emotion and ego-depletion: Self-regulatory resource and the exaggeration and suppression of anger." aimed to see whether controlling emotions (specifically anger) had a deleterious effect on other cognitive functions.

This involved a year's worth of planning the experiment, creating the manipulation conditions, literature reviews, meetings with my tutor (the excellently named 'Doctor Ulrich von Hecker'), test runs before I even started my experiment proper. The experiment itself involved 25 hours of sitting in a cupboard-sized room asking unwashed, hungover first years to listen to recorded message telling them how rubbish psychology is (in order to try and make them angry)and then measuring their performance on a few carefully designed tests of self-regulation. Apparently the ethics board thought this was all dubious, and so I had to then play these freshers Bill Withers' 'Lovely Day' in order to ensure that they left in a more positive frame of mind...Finally I had to statistically analyse my results and write 10k words on the whole study, pay £20 to have it bound, and try not to kill myself out of deadline-stress.

So why was this pointelss? Well I found absolutely zero effect at all- every single result was statistically insignificant and I couldn't even make out a vague pattern to my results (some of them even went in the opposite direction to what I had predicted). A year's work on an incredibly dull subject for no reason at all.

Sorry, no hummus here.
(, Fri 25 Jul 2008, 18:44, 2 replies)
finding no significant effect
... is a perfectly good result.
(, Fri 25 Jul 2008, 18:57, closed)
I am aware of that
but it's a hell of a let down when you have spent so much time on the bloody thing.
(, Fri 25 Jul 2008, 19:04, closed)

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