Updates on Method Direction

With regard to the problem I mentioned in my last blog post, an amazing solution has been confirmed. We have elected to sacrifice the stringent replication of the original study in favor of a more flexible option. The plan is to use a loud noise as the US rather than a shock; however, we will also create videos of the demonstrators experiencing the shock US in the case that we become interested in that at a later point. There are pros and cons to going ahead with an auditory, noxious US. A pro is that it is easier for us to create the demonstrator video with an auditory US which could be easily programmed into our current experiment file. A con is that the study is no longer a very close replication of the original article on which we are basing this project.

It remains to be seen how this change in the method would effect the results. One could argue that using an auditory US would not elicit as much of an anticipatory response compared to a shock. Most people (at least those in the SONA pool) have probably not experienced a shock so a shock might be more threatening because of its novelty. At the same time, many of us have watched horror movies which make use of loud, sudden noises to frighten audiences. In the quiet moments preceding those loud ones, we can be sure that audience members would evince signs of psychophysiological arousal caused by their anticipation of the fright. Luckily, the nature of this project would allow us to also use the shock US in the case that our data show very low arousal. If we had the requisite videos, it would be easy to change things up once data collection is under way. That’s the plan and official direction. I can’t wait to get to the fun stuff in these coming weeks!