And the next step is...


At first glance, Chapter 2 seems pretty bland. I mean we've heard enough about research methods as we progressed through those endless high school science classes. But the chapter goes into more detail beyond the common scientific research model. It explains the different factors that could actually affect a well designed experiment, such as common myths that participants fall to (full moon and increased theft, anyone?) and assigning and selecting the participants.
One interesting factor that we often overlook in designing experiments is the Nocebo Effect. Normally, we're all aware of the placebo effect (pills that don't actually do anything are given to patients to see if they can partially recover from psychological effects).
The nocebo effect is an "evil twin" of sorts, as the book explains the effect as harm resulting from the expectation of harm. Once again, everything is psychological. For example, someone who's allergic to roses might sneeze when given a fake rose. Someone convinced that an electric current is passing through them will report the signs of a headache (examples taken from the textbook).
It's important to consider the psychological factors, especially the preset biases and expectations we often have in our minds, when designing scientific experiments/surveys. Overlooking any of these factors could result in error in data and wrong conclusions of human behavior.


It's is strange at first, but easy to believe that the preconceptions that one has will cause things to happen in physical form. Sneezing at a fake rose, that in reality should have no effect, is a great example of this. It just shows the mind's power over the rest of the body and that the way we think can affect us in amazing ways.

The nocebo effect is one that I find true for myself, as I am usually an anxious person. If something has the potential to give someone nausea, I often overreact and constantly monitor myself to make sure I'm not feeling nauseous. It's crazy to think that the mind can convince the body of something, just by the suggestion of thought. It makes one wonder if that could be used in a positive way, to think yourself out of a fear, or something of the sort.

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This page contains a single entry by yuxxx810 published on January 22, 2012 1:57 PM.

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