Posted: September 4th, 2022


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Problem: There is a positive correlation between the volume of cream consumed per capita in the US and the rate of drowning deaths in the US. The two variables in this scenario are: (1) volume of ice cream consumed, and (2) rate of drowning deaths.

How can we turn this correlational study, which cannot prove causation (i.e. a positive correlation doesn’t prove that consuming ice cream directly contributes to drowning) into an experiment, a process by which we can gain a better understanding of causation.

For our experiment, we will be testing the hypothesis that consuming ice cream makes people more likely to drown. In your response to this discussion question address each of the following questions:

(1) Describe the independent variable will you use. What so-called “third variables” might there be, other than ice cream consumption, that could possibly increase the rates of drowning?

(2) Describe the dependent variable(s) will you use and how it/they will be measured.

(3) Decide whether we need to include any groups other than an experimental group and a control group.

(4) Describe what process subjects will go through in each of the groups.

(5) Describe how you will select human subjects and assign them to groups for this study. What ethical concerns regarding human subjects might you run into in your study?

(6) An experiment would also include collecting data and running statistical analysis on the data to determine if our results are statistically significant, but I will not ask you discuss these processes as they are a bit advanced for an introductory psychology course. What do you think the outcome of this study might be, and what do you think “statistically significant” means as it relates to the results of an experiment?

Reviewing the Research Methods Primer document located in the chapter 2 folder on the content tab here in the courseroom should be helpful if you’re having difficulty understanding the basic concepts and terms involved.

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