Design- The Independent Variable (IV) is whether participants are presented with the picture of the ‘attractive’ person or the ‘unattractive’ person before being asked to rate them on 5 different personality traits. The Dependent Variable (DV) is the overall rating by the participants given to the pictures.
Participants were asked to rate them out of ten with the lowest being one and the highest being 10 before the scores were averaged out to give each picture a total out of 30 for each participant. A repeat measures design was used for this investigation so that fewer participants were needed and also so that individual differences could be eliminated due to the fact that each participant is looking at both pictures of the attractive and the unattractive picture and rating them.
This type of design was also easier and more efficient to use due to the fact that individuals were efficiently assigned to Condition 1 and Condition 2, Condition 1 were given the ‘attractive picture’ first to rate on personality traits and then the ‘unattractive’ picture whereas in Condition 2 participants were given the ‘unattractive’ picture first to rate followed by the ‘attractive’ picture.
Participants were allocated to each condition randomly using opportunity sampling, as they came through the door each individual was asked to pick a slip of paper from a hat, 10 of these slips were marked with ‘1’ and 10 with ‘2’ on them, corresponding with Condition 1 and Condition 2 of the investigation. The 10 participants that chose a slip of paper with ‘1’ were assigned to Condition 1 (‘attractive’ picture then ‘unattractive’ picture) and the participants that chose ‘2’ were assigned to Condition 2 (‘unattractive’ picture first then ‘attractive’ picture).
Each Condition sat at opposite ends of the room so that each Condition was not sat near each other meaning that they would not be influenced by the others Condition or try to guess the aim of the Investigation as participants would see the picture that they would be getting next and compare it to the one they have currently and could possibly guess the aim of the experiment. One extraneous variable that could possibly have affected the DV is the fact that everyone has their own perceptions on what is attractive and not attractive, in an effort to control this, the pictures were sourced from www. whoshotornot.
com whereby thousands of people rate pictures on attractiveness and as a result this would eliminate experimental bias. To help control this further, 5 highly rated pictures and 5 of the lowest rated pictures were handed out to 10 people to rate on a scale of 1 to 10, one being the lowest and 10 being the highest, the results of this determined which ‘attractive’ and which ‘unattractive’ picture were used in the investigation. Another extraneous variable is that of skin colour/ethnicity. Skin colour could highly affect the ratings given by participants as they may be prejudice towards someone who is a different skin colour to themselves.
Also participants may find that different skin colours are more attractive due to each individuals perception of attractiveness, to ensure this extraneous variable is monitored pictures of similar aged similar skin toned individuals were chosen in order to eliminate prejudice and possible racism. One ethical issue raised by the investigation was informed consent. Before the investigation started, participants were verbally asked if they would like to take part in the study and if they gave their consent then their results would be used for analysis.
They were also told of how they had the right to withdraw at any time during the investigation either before, during or after and that their results would be destroyed and not used to make judgements. Copies of the verbal consent speech, brief and debrief can be found in the Appendix. Another ethical issue is the right to withdraw. All participants had the right to withdraw at any time during the investigation and were informed of this all the way throughout the investigation. They were told of how they could withdraw in the brief, in the instructions given before starting the investigation and then in the debrief.
They were told that any answers given during the investigation were completely confidential and that they would be got rid of effectively so that no other participants or any other individuals saw these answers. The response sheets that were used in this investigation were designed by having one picture of either the ‘attractive’ or the ‘unattractive’ person followed by 5 personality traits underneath and the numbers 1 to 10 listed, there was a key saying that 1 was the lowest and 10 was the highest and participants were asked to circle which number they thought best reflected the personality trait of the individual.
It was also important to debrief participants after the experiment and ensure that the participants understood about the purpose of the investgation and why it was carried out. This was dealt with by reading out a brief to start with to ensure that participants understood what they had to do without giving away the aim of the investigation. After the experiment a debrief was read out explaining the theory behind the investigation and how they helped etc. Copies of the brief and debrief can be found in the Appendix.
Participants -The target population for this investigation was Year 12 and 13 students in sixth form at Skipton Girls High School, Skipton, North Yorkshire. 10 Year 12 and 13 participants were used, all of these aged between 16 and 18 years. The sampling method that was used was opportunity sampling, as it was easier to find participants of those year groups, and also those that did not or do not study A Level Psychology. Participants fitting this description were asked if they would like to take part in a short investigation and if they said yes were asked to come to the room S1 at a certain time.
By using this sampling method however it was quite difficult to find participants as they firstly had to be free at the time stated and secondly had to not study Psychology, this lowered my chances of possible participants. Apparatus/Materials- The selection of materials were chosen previously based on a hand out of 5 attractive people and 5 unattractive people given to 10 individuals, 5 individuals getting the 5 attractive pictures and 5 getting the pictures of 5 unattractive people to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 of attractiveness, one being the lowest and 10 being the highest.
The results of this short exercise were then averaged out and the most attractive picture and the least attractive picture were then chosen to be used in my investigation. As a result of doing this experimenter bias is eliminated due to the fact that individuals with nothing to do with the investigation carried out this exercise. The pictures used in the investigation are featured in the Appendix. The adjectives chosen were based on previous research into the ‘halo effect’ regarding attractive people.
The adjectives chosen were successful, trustworthy, sociable, reliable and happy. In the investigation a stopwatch on a Sony Ericsson W810i was used to give the participants the set amount of time allocated for the investigation, the allocated time was 1 minute for all participants to complete the task. This was done so that results were based upon first impressions and not what participants thought after having time to think about and decide upon the personality traits for each individual picture.
Response sheets were also used where participants circled their answers. Procedure- Participants were approached in West Bank and asked if they would like to participate in a small investigation to aid some psychology coursework, they were given the choice to either accept or decline my invitation to come to S1 on Friday 7th November and were asked to verbally state that they consented to participating. The experiment took place on Friday 7th November in S1, West Bank of Skipton Girl’s High School, Skipton during lunchtime.
A notice was put on the door so that no-one interrupted during the investigation was taking place. The experimenter entered the room at 12am and waited for participants to arrive, as they walked through the door they were asked to pick a slip of paper from a hat and depending on whether they picked a ‘1’ or a ‘2’ were to sit at either the left or the right side of the room. Once seated, participants were read out the brief explaining what was required of each participant and stating that they could leave at any time if they wished to withdraw.
After ensuring that nobody had any questions, wanted to leave the investigation and that all participants again gave verbal consent to partake in this investigation, the response sheets were given out upside down so that nobody saw what was on it. The standardised instructions were read out after the brief which clearly explained what each participant had to do and how long they had to finish the task given to them, participants were asked again whether they wanted to continue with the task.
They were given 1 minute to rate the picture they had been given on five different adjectives (successful, trustworthy, sociable, reliable and happy) based on a scale of 1- 10 (one being the lowest and 10 being the highest). After timing a minute on the Sony Ericsson W810i stopwatch, participants were asked to put down their pens and turn over their pieces of paper. These pieces of paper were then carefully collected in and the second picture was given to Condition 1 and 2 and each were timed for another minute in order to rate the new picture on attractive-ness.
After another minute was timed on the Sony Ericsson W810i stopwatch participants were again asked to put down there pens and turn over their pieces of paper. They were then asked again if they would like to withdraw from the investigation and their results be discarded. After everyone agreed they wanted their results to remain as part of the investigation the pieces of paper were collected in ensuring that the 2 Conditions were kept separated.
The debrief was then read out to all participants and the aim of the investigation was revealed. Participants had one last chance to ask any questions they may have or to withdraw at this point and when everyone agreed they didn’t want their results discarding, the experimenter thanked participants for their time and said they could leave. The experimenter then left the room at approximately 12:15am. On the way out the sign was taken off the door.