March 31, 2008 7:42 PM

My First RPP Experience

So this afternoon, I went to my first RPP appointment. For those of you who do not know this, RPP is the Research Participation Program that gives undergraduate students a chance to participate in some of the research being conducted by graduate students and faculty researchers in the Department of Psychology. Since I am taking Psychology 2 this semester, I am required to participate in research experiments for a total of 5 hours.

I didn’t want to sign up for those experiments that would require putting wires around my head to measure some kind of brain activity, because what can I do if something goes wrong?! So I was trying to find survey-based experiment from the list of available studies online. Finally I decided to give a try on Experiment 73.

The experiment was scheduled in Tolman, and it was specified that the experiment would start right at the hour, not 10 minutes after. Tolman is that strange building that you can never figure out where you are. As I wandered around on the fourth floor, I thought that it would be such a good idea to just let us search for a room that does not even exist and record how long it takes us to figure that out! Anyway, after spending five minutes wandering around on the fourth floor, and I finally found room 4105.

After signing the waiver forms, each of us settled in one of those cubicles. The tasks were easy. We, the experimental subjects, were asked to complete several computerized tasks and questionnaires pertaining to ourselves and our reactions to different situations. The first exercise was basically a self-assessment of my personality. So you know, I had to sit there, read through countless statements and decide upon which one best describes me. The second exercise was to imagine that I am sitting in a classroom and am just notified that I have won the super lottery. Then I was asked to think about other people’s reactions and type down our responses. I didn’t feel like giving complete sentences so I just jotted down words and phrases that came cross my mind. The last part of the experiment was to redo the personality assessment. However, there was a twist – I had to comment on what we think the experimenter is trying to find out! And I started my response with a cliché: “since human behavior and emotions are very complicated, the researcher designs this experiment to …”

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