Field of Science

Experimental Lab-ratting

It's starting to approach the time of year when PhD student's need results. Especially those who work on big human-based projects which need human subjects to fill in questionnaires and act as data points. And in the Economics and Law faculties, they are willing to spend a decent part of their budget on funding such studies, given they don't have to buy much else.

It's also the time of year when I start running out of money...

So today saw me heading over to the Law faculty to carry out an experiment in decision making. Not to bore you with the details but it involved being put in an anonymous pair (i.e I didn't know who I was paired with) and being labelled either A or B. B then answered twelve IQ questions and A was given £1 for each correct question. Here's the catch, before the questions were answered, A had to decide how much to pay B for each correct answer given.

Some A's opted for very generous amounts. One person (who either has very rich parents, a very kind heart, or was determined to screw with the experiment statistics) even gave their B the whole sum of £1 for each correct answer.

I was a B.

Apparently there are some people in this world who think that 'fair' means giving someone THIRTY PENCE PER CORRECT QUESTION while walking away with sixty pence yourself for doing bugger all.

I was very, very tempted to deliberately get the answers wrong when I saw that '30' scribbled down on my sheet of paper. But I've been trained to do exams so many times I don't think I ever could purposefully answer questions wrong and, well, I kind of need the money. I mean that was why I was there. Principles of fair behaviour are all very well, but £8.50 (£3 for participating, £3.50 for my questions and £2 for guessing the number of answers I got correct) is £8.50. It would have been hard walking away with just a fiver, although kind of funny to know that whoever-it-was was only getting three pounds for being a tight-fisted... yeah.

Anonymous partner would have ended up with around £12 and can probably work out from this that I got all my answers correct. I hope they're feeling just a little guilty. Or at the very least I hope they have six kids and a mortgage or something.


Anyway now I have to go plate out 54 samples. I'm being an experimental lab-rat again on Friday and I've been promised a tenner for that one so yay, I can eat this week :D


Luke said...

What happened to the other 10p?

Lab Rat said...

It got rounded down as the experimenter was running out of change :p