Monday, June 4, 2012

Social psychology study of the day: noticing people on the street

Atlantic Cities describes a study in which a female student either gave an "air gaze" (looked without seeing), acknowledged, or acknowledged and smiled at, 282 randomly chosen passers-by on a university campus. A researcher then came by afterwards and asked about how connected people felt. Good fun.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Atlantic Cities emphasizes that the next study should look at contextual variation. I would say the next study should vary characteristics of the person giving the signals (and, what is not unrelated, have more than one person giving the signals). Perhaps we will see a Dan Hamermesh study on whether beautiful people do a better or worse job of generating feelings of social connection sometime soon ...

Also, while the summary is explicit that the subjects were randomly chosen, it is not clear that the treatments were; this matters.

Bonus statistics question: is the sample size in this study one or 282?

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