Langston, Research Methods Laboratory, Exercise 1 -- Hypotheses
Part 1:  Ideal Hypotheses

Devise a hypothesis based on each phenomenon below (like “If aliens are abducting people, then...”).  Next, assess your hypothesis in terms of the ideal hypothesis.  What sorts of tests would be required?  What outcomes would be inconsistent?  Are you making any untested assumptions?

1.  Facilitated communication allows autistic people to communicate.

2.  Psychics can predict the future.

Part 2:  Logic of hypothesis testing

A.  You do it.  Work out valid ways to test the hypotheses below.  Why are they useful?

1.  If it's a swan, then it's white.

2.  If children see famous personalities smoking, then they will be more likely to smoke.

3.  If children are exposed to alcohol in the womb, then they will have developmental difficulties.

4.  If a parent reads to their child, then the child will do better in school.

5.  If a person suffers an unpredictable loss, then that person will become depressed.

B.  I do it.  Is each test proposed below valid?  Why or why not?

1.  H:  If the room is painted red, then people will be aroused.

a.  I find some people who are aroused, and look to see if the room is red.

b.  I find some people who aren't aroused, and look to see if the room isn't red.

2.  H:  If a person suffers damage to their hippocampus, then their memory will be impaired.

a.  I find someone with a damaged hippocampus, and look for poor memory.

b.  I find someone whose hippocampus is not damaged, and look for good memory.

3.  H:  If a person studies to music, then that person will learn less.

a.  I get some people who learned a lot, and see if they didn't study to music.

b.  I get some people who didn't study to music, and see if they learned a lot.

Research Methods Lab Exercise 1
Will Langston

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