Week 8: Make Observations

We’ve got data!

First, as we always mention, feel free to sign up for our leaderboard or more if you’d like to help us out or get some bragging rights for participating. But just voting or commenting on our posts is more than enough, and you can do that without signing up! If you’re just joining us, we’ve got the whole summer’s work archived for you to look through and get up to speed, or jump in now anyway.

This week, we can share the raw data from your experiment for you to explore! You’ll get the chance to make some first observations, and be sure to leave a comment with anything cool you find.


So, what did we collect?

After less than a day, we had 40 people complete your study, 20 who were told to remember the words by repeating them out loud and 20 who were told to repeat the words in their heads. Hopefully this gives us some insight into how inner speech works!

CLICK HERE if you want to see everything we collected in a handy spreadsheet; then you can come back here to learn more and add your thoughts.


We’ve got a couple of graphs to get you started!

First, here’s our main effect. How well did participants seem to remember the pictures in each condition?


What about the picture categories? Did participants remember one set better than others?


Next, what if we separate the results by gender?


Finally, how much would a participant’s age relate to their performance in the study?


Of course, we have so much more we can look at! If you want to take it further, here’s all of our data in a spreadsheet again. Everything we collected is listed there, and you can find things like what strategies the participants used, whether or not they say they really followed their condition’s requirements, basic demographic info, and more!

When looking at the graphs or the spreadsheet, try to think about how they connect to our original research question! In addition to whatever neat patterns you might find, what do these data say about internal language?


Now, let’s talk a little bit about why we want to look at our data like this.

Scientists often start by making observations about the general pattern of the data through visual representations. Rather than doing too much number crunching, it’s useful to get a more general idea of what might be happening.

We have to be careful, though, that making observations in this way doesn’t lead us to conclusions we shouldn’t reach. At what point should we be convinced that an effect we think we can see is real and not just our minds making things up? That’s what the math part is for (which we’ll get into next week)! Once they have an idea of what is happening in the data and need to make final conclusions, researchers can do statistical analyses and tests. That way, everyone can agree on what the experiment can tell us objectively rather than through opinions and just what our eyes see!

We have to use visual observations and our intuitions about experimental results together with statistical analysis to make sound conclusions.


So, here’s your job for the week: before we do the stats, what do you see in the data? What questions seem to be answered, and which aren’t? Is there anything you find confusing or surprising?

In the comments section below, tell us about it! What should we be thinking about from our first look at this data? Is there anything cool? Be the scientist and make some observations!

Next week, we’ll go over what we might be looking for when we start doing our statistical analysis, and what that will look like!

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One thought on “Week 8: Make Observations

  1. I think these early results are really interesting! It doesn’t look like there was much of a difference between any of the factors that were looked at. However, I did notice that it seems like the participants had an easier time remembering the “animals” and “fruits/vegetables” sets than they did the “objects” set. I wonder if this apparent trend is actually statistically significant, and if so, if it could be due to our greater connection to animals and food than to objects. Also, I was surprised to see the age and gender categories have a seemingly small range in outcomes, and I am interested to see if there is a significant difference in any of those identifying factors as well. There were also many similarities in the memorization strategies participants said they tried to use, regardless of their inner/outer voice instructions, which I found fascinating and could potentially account for the almost equal-looking results from the 2 groups.

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