• Abby Flyer

Updated: Jan 5, 2020


It feels like forever ago since that awkward first day of class, when you were just getting to know everyone. Now, after only two months, you find yourself head-over-heels for one of your classmates. You’re not sure what it is, but every time you see her, a mixtape of silly love songs starts playing in your head in a limitless loop. There’s only so many times that you can hum the chorus of “Accidentally in Love” and tap out the beat to “What I Like About You” before you have to ask yourself what’s going on!

Okay, so obviously you’re experiencing attraction towards your classmate. But what causes attraction to occur between two people? Psychology offers a recipe with three key ingredients: proximity, physical attractiveness, and similarity.

Proximity is just simply being in the same place as someone for large amounts of time. Proximity stimulates attraction through the mere exposure effect. Basically, this fancy phrase means that the more we spend time with people or things, the more we like them. Have you ever been iffy about a shirt but ended up loving it after wearing it a few times? The same thing can happen with people. One reason you’ve begun to develop an attraction towards your classmate is just because you see her in school for six hours every day.

Though a lot of people don’t want to seem “shallow,” it’s a proven fact that physical attractiveness plays a key role in attraction. First impressions are more often than not based on physical appearance, so it doesn’t hurt that you noticed on the first day that your classmate was pretty cute. Physically attractive people are also judged to be more successful and happier through the halo effect: people see one good quality (like appearance) in a person and assume that that person possesses a number of other good qualities as well.

Finally, despite the old adage “opposites attract,” it’s been shown that similarity increases attraction. When people share interests and beliefs, it gives them common ground for conversation. While you don’t want to be with someone who’s a mirror image of you, you don’t want someone who disagrees with you on everything and never wants to partake in your favorite activities with you. It’s no wonder that you found yourself falling for her even harder when she told you that she, too, listens to Paramore and watches Game of Thrones.

So keep singing those silly love songs! For all you know, she might be wondering the same thing and humming the same tunes about you.

#abbyflyer #study #attraction #proximity #mereexposureeffect #haloeffect #similarity

  • Yena Kim

Updated: Jan 5, 2020


You're sitting in class, but your teacher suddenly tells one half of the students to wear this ugly, stinky sweater for an entire month while the other half doesn't have to. Unsurprisingly, you turn out to be sitting with the unlucky kids. In hopes of not being fatally humiliated by your peers, you ask your teacher for the purpose of this "exercise." Your teacher gives you a smile and says that it's all for her research. Anyone who refuses to participate will be given a failing grade. Ouch!

There's no doubt that something about your teacher's strange study is a wee bit off. Do you know what the best kind of research design is? An ethical kind.

The American Psychological Association, also known as the APA, is the nation's largest organization of psychologists. They established ethical guidelines for respecting the worth of humans and animals in research. Before collecting any data, researchers are required to propose their study to the institutional review board (IRB), which ultimates give you the green light before doing anything.

Here are some things you should do to make sure your research design doesn't cause too much harm:

1. Don't force people to do things they don't want to do.

Some may not have a problem with wearing an ugly sweater all day, but participation should be voluntary if you don't want people to be grumpy.

2. Informed consent is key.

Before making any kind of decision, it's best to know what you're getting yourself into. "Tricking" participants is possible, but it can't be too extreme. Participants should give their consent after a decent rundown on the study's procedure and goal.

3. Protect your participants' privacy.

Identities and actions of your participants should be protected at all times. Anonymity is when you do not collect any information that may be tracked back to a particular person (e.g., names, phone numbers, email addresses).

Sometimes, a researcher may need to obtain this kind of information for certain studies, such as interviews. Confidentiality must be kept by not sharing personal information after collecting it.

Anonymity is when you don't collect, and confidentiality is when you don't share.

4. Don't put people at risk.

Thinking about asking your participants to violently chase each other around the school for two hours straight? Well, think again. Temporary discomfort is normally okay, but you want to avoid giving any long-term mental or physical harm.

5. Share the truth.

Debriefing is when you explain the real purpose of your study and your results to your participants after completion. A thorough debriefing is especially important if your study involves deception.

#yenakim #research #study #methods

  • Brain Stamp Staff

Updated: Jan 5, 2020


It's the week before prom, and disaster has struck: Your best friend accidentally bought the same dress as you, and now you only have a couple of days left to track down a new one.

You're scrolling through websites and making frantic calls to every dress store in the county. You begin to panic as store after store tells you that they have sold out already. Tears stream down your cheeks as you stare longingly at a black and white polaroid photograph of your date. With only a shred of hope left in your barely beating heart, you stumble upon the Macy's Spring Clearance Sale.

You desperately look for the dress of your dreams, but all that's left is a single sleeveless chiffon gown, available in only four colors: Poppin' Purple, Zazzy Azure, Ostentatious Orange, and Red. It all comes down to one defining factor: which color will turn the most heads when you strut into the old gymnasium with your hot date on your arm?

There's one way to find out, and that's through a well-devised experiment.

Research is a systematic investigation to solve problems. Psychologists sometimes use experiments to create controlled environments for establishing causation. When carrying out your experiment, everything is driven by a hypothesis, which is an educated guess about what might happen. For example, a hypothesis for our prom dress experiment might be that wearing the Red dress will turn the most heads at the dance because red is found to enhance attraction.

Clearly, one thing will cause a change in the other thing. When referring to these two "things," we use the terms independent and dependent variable. As you try on each color of the dress, you are manipulating the independent variable because you are in control of the colors you test. Later on, you will be counting the number of double takes you get, boogying throughout the night. You'll have to go to a lot of proms, but the number you get from testing out each dress color is your dependent variable because this number depends on your independent variable.

Everything sounds perfect, right? WRONG! You can't be sure of your results if they're affected by confounding variables, which are external factors that might mess up your causal relationship. You can't fairly judge Ostentatious Orange against Poppin' Purple if your hair looks different and you're wearing different shoes between trials! It's going to be a stressful night, because in order to make sure all of the other variables are constant, you'll have to wear all four dresses on the same night and change in the bathroom between slow dances.

Finally, the day arrives and you successfully carry out your experiment. While your date thought you looked fabulous in every color, you were able to observe that one of the dresses stood out the most on the dance floor...

Surprise, surprise: It was Zazzy Azure!

#study #research #methods #independentvariable #dependentvariable #confoundingvariable #hypothesis