Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Testing…testing…one, two, three.

Four. Five.


A million and thirty.

Sixteen, actually, is the number of people I have tested so far. Sixteen people means sixteen hours, not counting setting up and dismantling equipment, waiting around for participants who arrive 30 minutes late, scheduling and rescheduling testing sessions, or responding to students who ‘are really intrested in this experiment and really want to participate but their are no more timeslots, so can you please tell me if your going to post more timeslots...’

And definitely, most definitely, not counting data analysis.

Sixteen is only the wee little snowflake on the tip of the iceberg.

This experiment has already taught me many things. It’s taught me that 2pm is synonymous with both 1:30pm and 2:30pm. It’s taught me that musically-untrained undergraduates are incapable of tapping out simple, familiar rhythms of the music they are listening to. It’s taught me that students like to be told that they were given misleading information about the purpose of a study. It makes them laugh.

And it’s taught me that first years at this uni, despite their reputation, are really a bunch of pretty nice kids. What else can you say about people who finish off an hour-long experiment with a 20-minute working memory task – a task that involves simultaneously solving streams of math equations and remembering lists of letters and that, I’ll tell you right now, having done the thing several times myself, is one huge bucketful of laughs – turn around and say, “That was fun. This has been my favourite experiment of all.”

Yep, great kids. I like ‘em a lot. But not so much that I still want to be running this experiment this time next year. So it would be cool if they turned up a bit more often. And totally awesome if they gave me useable data from time to time. Statistically significant data...? Please?

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