Monday, March 19, 2012

Better advice on PowerPoint

Although I've enjoyed reading Tufte's rants against Powerpoint, he offers little in the way of advice and even less in the way of empirically supported advice. That's why I was happy to find these seven Powerpoint tips based on empirical evidence in a recent issue of gradPsych. I'd make one amendment to the point that says "use graphs, not tables" because there's some evidence that tables, though less appealing, actually get the message across better sometimes.

And here's an eighth point: you don't have to use Powerpoint.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Want to do social research without getting off your couch?

Amazon Mechanical Turk is the answer. If you're unfamiliar with Mechanical Turk (or MTurk for short), it's a web-based survey tool that allows you get participants for pennies. which means if you want to do a survey on whether the population at large really likes chocolate or vanilla ice cream more you can get a sample large enough to figure this out, it will end up costing you about as much as a can of Coke. As long as your survey (or psychological experiment) can be administered online, you can run your experiment on MTurk, so you can do implicit association tests too. Because of small earnings, it's not surprising that many Mechanical Turk workers are from India and this (somewhat dated) blog post looks at the demographics of the people who actually take surveys on MTurk. It's interesting to see the contrasts and similarities between the Indian turkers and the American ones.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Flourishing vs. Languishing

One of the few nice things about the graduate school search process is that you end up having to assess your potential advisor through more than just their publications. For instance, I've been looking on YouTube and other sites for videos by my two potential advisors, and here's one of them, Corey Keyes, talking about his research on the difference between languishing and flourishing among those without mental illness: