You are not using a standards compliant browser. Because of this you may notice minor glitches in the rendering of this page. Please upgrade to a compliant browser for optimal viewing:
Internet Explorer 7
Safari (Mac and PC)
Post Archive
2019 (0)2012 (3)2011 (73)
December (1)

Robot Insects
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
November (6)October (5)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Women's Intuition
Friday, October 21, 2011

Thinking with your Fingers
Monday, October 17, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On Souls and Confections...?
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
September (7)

On Souls...?
Thursday, September 29, 2011

Beware the False Consensus Effect!
Saturday, September 24, 2011

Your Preferences - Preliminary Results
Thursday, September 22, 2011

Popularity Survey - DO IT FOR SCIENCE!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Zietsch's Response to PZ, Laden and Scicurious.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Personality of Cities
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Discussion #1 - Walking Speed and City Size
Sunday, September 4, 2011
August (6)

People who Doodle Learn Faster = Bullshit
Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good News Everyone!
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Got the Time? Part II
Saturday, August 20, 2011

Got the time?
Sunday, August 14, 2011

Can Randomness Predict the Future?
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The House of Psycasm
Sunday, August 7, 2011
July (7)June (6)May (8)

Part 1: Do We Have Freewill?
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Open Letter: A follow-up
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This is a lie, she said.
Sunday, May 22, 2011

MSPaint is mightier than the Sword
Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Art of Indecision
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Skeptical Checklist 1.1
Friday, May 13, 2011

The Skeptical Checklist 1.0
Sunday, May 8, 2011

Of Chimps, Children and Post-Grads...
Monday, May 2, 2011
April (5)March (5)February (7)January (10)

Magical Thinking: Voodoo, Prayer, Black Cats, and You
Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Art of Character Creation
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Video Game Morality: Actions inside the box?
Friday, January 21, 2011

Psychobabble goes live!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Trolley Problem: Who cares?
Sunday, January 16, 2011

Podcast delay and misc. Drugs!?
Saturday, January 15, 2011

My very own Natural Disaster
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A window into your Genetics and Mate Preference?
Sunday, January 9, 2011

Oh sorry, I totally phased out there...
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Porn: A force of Mutual Benefits
Sunday, January 2, 2011
2010 (35)
December (7)

Statistical Pwnage
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why you should care...
Thursday, December 16, 2010

The paper of Influence
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sharing: Part I - Emotions
Sunday, December 12, 2010

No-one cuts deeper than a Science Blogger.
Thursday, December 9, 2010

Me Meme [Ohh, links now]
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Half Full, or Half Empty? Well, That Depends on the Shape of the Glass.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
November (11)

What Your Voice Says About You
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Babushka Blog: A Meta-Blog on ResearchBlogging.
Sunday, November 28, 2010

An Announcement:
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Willful Self-Deception is Bliss
Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dance, Blogger, Dance!
Friday, November 19, 2010

The Science of Marriage
Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Moon and Antarctica
Thursday, November 11, 2010

Available: One Mentee. Good Condition.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Again we are limited by our puny human-ness
Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blogging Carnival - What is Psychopathology?: Origins
Friday, November 5, 2010

*sigh* Psi: A Rebuttal
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
October (12)

The Science of Mind-Reading
Thursday, October 28, 2010

How not to think yourself smart...
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Welcome to Assassins' League
Sunday, October 24, 2010

TODO LATER. A story of procrastination and forgiveness.
Thursday, October 21, 2010

A man and his words.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Little kids, little minds...
Sunday, October 17, 2010

Smoking (maybemightcould) is Good.
Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to stop the Apocalpyse
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to trick yourself creative
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Siesta - It sounds like Fiesta, but isn't.
Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Dread Pirate Rift
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Being Blonde. Natural or otherwise...
Sunday, October 3, 2010
September (5)
Rate This Post
Total votes: 1
Blogger Profile


Psycasm is the exploration of the world psychological. Every day phenomenon explained and manipulated to one's own advantage. Written by a slightly overambitious undergrad, Psycasm aims at exploring a whole range of social and cognitive processes in order to best understand how our minds, and those mechanisms that drive them, work.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

Post Tags

Blog RSS Feed
RSS Add to My Yahoo Add to Google
Thursday, September 30, 2010

The other day I ran my very first experiment. Here, in the company of the Bona Fide scientists, I'm sure someone will understand it's significance. However, I'm not entirely sure how the learning process of science between more tangible biologicial disciplines and psychology vary. And so, just for interests sake, and for every person interested in becoming a Psychologist, a scientist or a student of science I'll put to paper my experience.

Undergrad Psychology is a fairly dry affair - it would be a fair comparison to say that Psychology is more like High School Modern History and/or Sociology than it is like one of the other sciences. I took chemistry in High School and at least once a week we were mixing something up, setting something on fire, or trying to turn lead into gold. Whereas in the social sciences we learned about what other people had been doing and were told to commit it to memory.

Psychology is a little bit like that. We cover hundreds of classic studies and contemporary findings, we write research reports, we read, we talk - and it's interesting. But we don't really cover the science of psychology. Since I began my studies I have conducted 2 or 3 'studies' that might generously be called science. It's just not practical to have a couple hundred undergrads coming up with hypotheses and testing them on the same population. Coupled with the fact that maybe, maybe 10 - 15% of the student body actually want to be come research psychologists there's not much demand (everyone wants to a be a clinician? Why?).

So I head-hunted. A tutor doing his PhD asked for confederates to work for him - so I put my hand up right away. His supervisor was the Head of School (and one of the most interesting and charismatic lecturers on staff to boot). I thought 'I can't pass this up'. So I did a semester of work for him as a conspirator who's role it was to lie to subjects in order to elicit a variety of responses.

That finished and I introduced myself to his supervisor - who fortunately had heard of me, if only in passing - and asked for some Research Assistant (RA) work. After a little bit of too-ing and fro-ing I ended up spending my whole mid-year break coding behaviour from long-lost videos for him. It was boring work and cost me three weeks of holidays.

Then, soon after, the Professor sent me an email saying 'So and so and I have an Idea. We'd like you to run an experiment'. Holy flip'. I expected to be a data bitch for a while to come - doing the grunt work appropriate for an untrained undergrad. So I went to the meeting and I took the lead on an experiment. It was investigating the effects of depletion of executive function on interpersonal behaviour - those are dry terms but I assure you'll laugh when I describe the full experiment (when it's completed). And so, as a lowly undergrad, I was doing for free what honours students are expected to do over a whole year (minus the honours course work).

And so I had my first subjects the other day. As I'm sure all the real scientist here can attest - nothing works the way it's supposed to first time. I spent two days setting it up, trying to figure out novel programmes that I'd never used before, recruiting participants, etc, etc. They came in and the blasted the experiment - we had underestimated the efficacy of our manipulations and they saw through the DV (because if you know a little bit about this Prof's work, you could figure out the trick pretty easily). But it was good - and these were things that even the Prof didn't expect.

So now it's back to the drawing board for some minor changes. It should be fully operational by next week. And yet I'm still a little lost as to what to do. I imagine in Biological sciences it's a bit different, you probably do lab work (as a student) every week cutting stuff open, or creating life in petri dishes, and whatnot. In psychology it's the cake at the end of the party - not until honour do you usually get to do this stuff.

I guess I've lost my experimental virginity now, and it's just like normal virginity. You know what's supposed to happen the first time... but you get it wrong, things don't happen as smoothly as you would like, and you know that next time things will be better; and when you hand them $10 for their involvement, you feel as though someone, somehow, has been cheated - but you're not entirely sure why...


This post has been viewed: 809 time(s)

Blog Comments

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
Rate Post:

Like 0 Dislike
"You know what's supposed to happen the first time... but you get it wrong"
Awesome quote!  Sounds like you had an interesting time.  It's always fun working the bugs out before you get it right.  It's actually really similar in our science.  Except we spend 6 months screwing things up and the finally realize our pipettes are contaminated or something.

Jason Goldman
Rate Post:

Like 0 Dislike
Welcome to the club :-)

Rate Post:

Like 0 Dislike

"And yet I'm still a little lost as to what to do. I imagine in Biological sciences it's a bit different, you probably do lab work (as a student) every week cutting stuff open, or creating life in petri dishes, and whatnot..."


Excellent ,very funny. and I echo jason, well aboard!

Rate Post:

Like 0 Dislike

It's nice to be welcomed to such a club. I'll keep everyone posted on the process. I'll also try and figure out what the etiquette is on reporting the nature of experiments is, I'd hate to reveal something in the public domain that I shouldn't have.

What are your thoughts?

Mike Lisieski

Guest Comment

In general, I think, one shouldn't talk about anything in any detail until one has cleared it with the person whose job depends on it eventually being published.My lab head always says that psychological research moves to slow for anybody to steal your ideas, though.Best of luck, though, and congratulations!

Dr Becca, Ph.D.
Rate Post:

Like 2 Dislike

"and when you hand them $10 for their involvement,..."

This is exactly what losing my "normal" virginity was like, too.

Rate Post:

Like 0 Dislike

In clinical sciences (medicine) the troubles come when the patients decide to do whatever they want with the experimental medication, or do not know what other medications (that obviously interfere with what you are looking for!) they are taking.

About the revealing of the protocol...yeah, I would wait either until the paper is written/submitted or would ask the PI before, even more if it's an innovative protocol.

Add Comment?
Comments are closed 2 weeks after initial post.