Mindset: we’ve got data
In the past weeks since I wrote about the Mindset Project I’ve been working on, I’ve discovered why I chose to do physics research. Mostly, the things we study are inanimate, experiments that are highly repeatable, don’t require dozens of experimenters, don’t talk back and don’t require any protocol for dealing with live subjects, etc. But today, we had a major breakthrough, which you can see in the photo below.
Going into this project I really had no idea how hard it is to carry out a psychological research study. We’ve had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get to this point, and seem to constantly be working to deal with lots of vagaries of scheduling 30 researchers and 100 subjects, on the top of all the normal business of the spring. But today, we finally pulled together our small team of 15 researchers who had been trained to go to the middle school and survey 15 6th grade school boys.
A couple of highlights:
- Once you get out in the field, you learn a ton about how to carry out research. Almost from the moment we started researching subjects, we realized how difficult it is to keep our researchers blind to their subjects, little oddities with coding data and ways to streamline the whole process.
- Humans throw a wrench into everything. When one researcher was interviewing a student, and said “wow, you did really well at that, you must be smart!,” the subject said “Is that in the script?” totally calling us out on our treatment in the experiment. Oops.
So the race is on to survey our remaining 80 or so subjects before the end of the semester. I think we can do it.