For your first experimental study, you will play the role of researcher, and you will collect data from three different participants (though you will combine your data with other class members, so your final data set will have nearly 140 people!
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1). For your first experimental study, you will play the role of researcher, and you will collect data from
three different participants (though you will combine your data with other class members, so your final
data set will have nearly 140 people!). There are two phases to this study. In the first phase, you will orally
ask participants if they are willing to participate in a research study. In the second phase, participants will
complete a five-part survey. In Part One, participants look at an Instagram page for Emma Wood along
with three photos she is trying to choose between for her new Instagram profile photo. They will also
answer some questions about Emma’s Instagram posts. In Part Two, participants will rate their impressions
of Emma. In Part Three, participants will rate some of their own characteristics using questions adapted
from the Narcissism Personality Inventory (NPI). In Part Four, they will complete demographic questions.
Finally, in Part Five, they will note the nature of the photo options they saw in Part I (are they selfies,
groupies, or professional?).
Note: Items in italics might help you when you start writing Paper II later this
To run this study, use the following steps:
A). Your first task is to approach three different participants (not all at the same time!). They must be
people that you do not know, and cannot be taking a psychology research methods class during the
Spring, 2019 semester, or Fall / Summer semesters, 2018. Please
complete this study
yourself, and use only FIU students as participants (no family / friends – You will use them in a later
replication study toward the end of the summer semester). There are 48 students in our class, so with
each getting data from 3 people, our final sample will be around 140 participants total.
B). Phase I: Informed Consent
1). Informed Consent:
Ask the potential participant if he or she is willing to participate in a study for your research
methods class. You will get their informed consent verbally. Tell them:
“Hello, I am conducting a study for my research methods class. I was wondering if you
would be willing to participate. The study takes about five to ten minutes. There are no risks
to participating, and the main benefit is that I can complete my class assignment. Will you
An oral Yes or No response is fine. If they say no, thank them and find a different participant.
If they say yes, move to the next step (
Phase II – Questionnaire
C). Phase II: “Questionnaire”
1). General Instructions
After getting participant’s oral informed consent, randomly give them
of the three
“Research Study – Florida International University – Spring, 2019” documents. These
documents contain our primary independent and dependent variables for the study. One third
of our research participants will be in the “Selfie” condition, one third will be in the
“Groupie” condition, and one third will be in the “Professional” condition.
Ask participants to follow the instructions at the top of the questionnaire. Tell them to read
EVERYTHING on the Instagram page, as they will answer questions about it later. They can
move through the five “Parts” of this survey at their own pace. Make sure they complete all
questionnaire parts (though they can leave some demographic questions blank if they do not
want to provide the details).
In Part I, participants will look at the Instagram page for a woman named Emma Wood. The
page contains some general information about Emma wanting to update her profile picture
and asking others for advice about which picture to use for the update.
about Emma is identical across all three conditions (but don’t tell participants that!). The
only thing that differs is the type of profile picture listed beside her Instagram page: Selfies,
Groupies, or Professional.
In the Selfie Condition, there are three different pictures of Emma, and all
are selfies. Her facial expressions may differ, but all are self-taken.
In the Groupie Condition, there are also three different pictures, but these
are groupies taken by Emma that include at least one other person.
In the Professional (Other-Taken) Condition, there are also three different
pictures, but these are clearly taken by some unknown other person. They
still feature Emma, but she did not take the picture herself
A quick note for you (the researcher): If you look at the second page of the survey
in the footer, you will see one of the following: “S”, “G”, or “P”, which relate to
the three study conditions – That is, S is for “Selfie”, R is for “Groupie”, and P is
for “Professional”. It’s a nice shorthand so you can tell which survey the
participant completed if something happens to the first page! However, you don’t
need to discuss this internal survey feature in your papers. It’s just FYI
There are three general questions in Part I.
The first question asks the participant to choose the one picture (out of
three) that they think Emma should use in updating her profile. To be
honest, we don’t care which one they choose. The goal here is to present
pictures as either selfies, groupies, or professional. Question 1 simply
ensures that they pay attention to the photos in their own condition
The second question asks participants to guess when Emma last updated
her profile picture. I’ll get to the specific predictions later in this
instruction document, but for now, participants who see the “selfie”
version of the surveys will probably think Emma updates her profile
more frequently than participants who see the “groupie” and
“professional” versions of the survey. Note that they use a ratio scale
here ranging from 0 (never) to 5 (one hour ago). This is ratio because
you can’t get lower than zero (never)!
The third question asks the participants to guess how frequently Emma
posts her thoughts or pictures on Instagram. Again, participants who see
the selfie pictures will probably think she posts more frequently than the
other conditions. Here, we have an interval scale. Although it is a 0 to 5
scale once again, “Rarely” doesn’t necessarily imply “never”. Thus a 0
here doesn’t imply she never posts, just that she rarely posts!
In Part II, participants will give their general impressions of Emma Wood (the Instagram
user). There are ten questions about Emma that participants will complete, all of which use an
interval scale of 0 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree). Note that this is also interval. A
0 does not imply “zero disagreement”, but rather “strong disagreement”. These questions ask
about how smart participants thought Emma was, if the participant thinks Emma seems smart,
happy, generous, self-absorbed, helpful, shy, selfish, down-to-earth, narcissistic, and
egotistical. Although you can look at any (or all) of these questions (ALL are dependent
variables), when you write Paper II (which focuses on the methods and results for this study),
you will only look at a few of them in detail. Here, I am most interested in the questions about
whether participants think Emma is self-absorbed (item #4), selfish (item #7), narcissistic
(item #9), and egotistical (item #10). For all four, I think participants will rate Emma as more
self-absorbed, selfish, narcissistic, and egotistical in the selfie condition than in the groupie
and professional conditions. Of course, we might also expect participants in the selfie
condition to see Emma as less generous (item #3) and less down-to-earth (item #8) than
participants in the other conditions.
If you are working on Paper II, just remember that EACH
of these ten questions (ten dependent variables) will have its own hypothesis. The general
prediction here is that exposure to the selfie photos will prime participants to see Emma as
more narcissistic than participants shown groupie or professional photos.
In Part III, participants will rate several statements related to themselves. This includes 10 of
40 items that came directly from the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI). These include
statements like, “I have a natural talent for influencing people”, “I am essentially a modest
person”, “I try not to be a show off”, etc.
To be honest, I doubt we will look at these questions
in our analyses for Paper II, but they present a chance to explore some interesting secondary
hypotheses, as they relate the possible narcissism of the actual participant. For example,
research shows that people who score high on the NPI tend to post more selfies!
In Part IV, participants will complete demographic questions. Most of these items are easy to
complete without violating the participant’s privacy, but they will know they can leave blank
any question(s) they feel uncomfortable answering.
Finally, in Part V, we ask participants to choose which description BEST describes the three
Emma photos they saw in Part I the photos were selfies, groupies, or professional. Note: this a
nominal, or category-based, scale where they are asked to choose one. This is a manipulation
check for the study, so we can make sure they paid attention to the nature of the pictures
D). Once participants have completed the questionnaire, debrief them regarding the study. That is, tell
them about the selfie / narcissism link and your main hypothesis. Read them the following:
“Thank you for participating in our study. The purpose of the study is to determine whether
selfies impact the impressions that people form about an Instagram user. Prior research shows a
link between narcissism and selfies such that narcissists tend to post more selfies than non-
narcissists, but does this translate to the impressions that outside observers make about Instagram
users? That is, if an Instagram user posts a lot of selfies, do others view the user as narcissistic?
To test the impact of selfies on impression formation, all participants saw the same written
information about a fictional Instagram user named Emma Wood, who wanted advice about
which photo (out of three) she should use to update her profile picture. However, we altered the
nature of the pictures that accompanied Emma’s Instagram page so they were “selfie”, “groupie”,
or “professional”. Participants in the “Selfie” condition saw three “selfie” photos of Emma
(photos she took of herself). Participants in the “Groupie” condition saw three self-taken photos
of Emma that included at least one other person in the picture. Participants in the “Professional”
condition saw three photos of Emma taken by someone other than Emma. All participants then
completed the same survey questions about Emma and themselves. The only difference between
the conditions was whether the three photos of Emma were selfies, groupies, or professional.
In general, we predict that participants will rate a fictional Instagram user (Emma) as more
narcissistic if “selfies” accompany her Instagram account than if “groupies” or “professional”
photos accompany her account. More specifically, we predict that if participants are exposed to
selfie photos, then they will believe that an Instagram user 1). updates her profile picture more
frequently, 2). posts to her social media accounts more often, and 3). seems more self-absorbed,
selfish, narcissistic, and egotistical, compared to participants exposed to either groupie or
professional photos, though these latter two conditions should not differ from each other in their
Instagram user ratings.
We will test these hypotheses in our methods course this semester. Thank you for participating!”
Methods Students: Note that the underlined portion paragraph above will be helpful when you write Paper
I! In fact, you can use that underlined paragraph in your first paper if you like (just copy and paste it into
your hypotheses). However, the predictions ARE NOT INCLUDED in your minimum page count. That is,
you can copy/paste the predictions, but they do not count in the page minimum!
2). Hold onto the completed questionnaires, as you will use them in an upcoming lab. You will enter data
into SPSS and analyze it during your lab. Important note: Each student researcher is responsible for
collecting data from three participants (one participant for each study condition – S, G and O). However,
we will combine survey data from ALL students in your lab section, so your final sample will include at
least 140 or so participants.
In your papers (especially Paper II), you will use this total set of research
participants (at least 140), NOT just the three that you collected yourself. Don’t even discuss “Three
participants”, as that is not correct. Discuss ALL participants in your papers
3). One last note: Pay close attention to these instructions!
You can use them as the basis for Paper II later
this semester when you discuss your methods section. That being said, these instructions are too long for a
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