Monday, September 27, 2010

Strike A Pose: Part II

OK, I did bad science guys. =( It always pains me to admit when that happens but sometimes your experiment is just frelled from the beginning.

So the way most experiments work is you think doing action A will produce reaction B so you try to create an environment where no actions C, D, or E occur so you can test the validity of your A = B statement. Sometimes though, you don't really understand the whole picture or miss obvious things. And sometimes there are these things called confounding variables that effect both dependent (B) and independent (A) variable creating a false relation between the two.

In terms of my study I was hoping to say that dressing nicely (action A) would boost my mood (reaction B). And it did for the first couple days. Every morning (after I got dressed and looked in the mirror) and every evening at midnight (I decided on midnight as I wouldn't be asleep before then and definitely would still be up for a couple hours after).

So I asked myself a simple question every morning. Do I feel better this morning than yesterday? Yes =1, Same =0, No = -1. And every evening at midnight I asked do I feel better than this morning? Yes =1, Same =0, No = -1.

Below is the bar chart produced from the values recorded.

Oh gawd, it burns my eyes!

It's really messy because I couldn't really think of the best way to record data, but also because there's a clear confounding variable.

I feel worse as the week progresses. Why would this be? Well there's this little thing called Hell that I'm trapped in. I have two major pests due Friday, I have to have Subteam meetings on Thursday and I've got another major pest on Wednesday. I also feel worse as those same days progress. Why? Because at midnight I still have ~4 hours of work before I can go home and sleep for 5 hours.

I like to think that I feel better when I'm wearing nice clothes, but really all I can prove is how much life sucks right now :P

Argh so…. Who wants to participate in an experiment? Automatic disqualifications: going to MIT. Everyone else, welcome to join in!

Simple experiment. Keep dressing as you normally do for a couple days and every morning stand in front of your mirror and ask yourself "Do I feel good, ok, or yucky today." Then after a couple days kick it up a notch! Dress nicely and repeat the abaci. Report back to me in a couple days. Maybe you guys will have a better time.


  1. No worries Nakki, the experiment isn't blown, the test just needs refinement! You're assuming that you can run at a baseline level of interferance from life, but basically nobody can do that. Instead I'd suggest taking into account the events of any given day and estimate a baseline level of stress/feeling bad/whatever for that day. You can do this simply by going for a bit without the nice clothes/talking in the mirror thing, rate your days based on how you feel given how stressful your day was (maybe it was a test day so you rated a 3 instead of a 5, whatever), then when you go back to your dressing-well regimen you can do a comparitive study. Then again, all of this might just make it a job and foul the study too. Not to mention that you're aware of the study and might inadvertantly throw it yourself. But whatever, this is only pseudo-science anyway right?

  2. I find this experiment interesting. Partially, because I moved myself into a business casual attire a few years ago as a grad student, and so I dress nice the majority of the time (including pairing my black Penny Arcade fitted shirts with business dress pants). I love it, I feel good about how I look and it's a nice start to my day.

    However, for this experiment, I wonder if the daily subjective factor is not the best way to experiment. I think it would be more effective to have a mood-checking assessment of some kind (like an online test with a variety of questions) and to take this assessment at the beginning, and then after a week of normal clothing wearing, and then after another week of nice clothing wearing. Perhaps a mid-week assessment as well. Then the stresses would at least be averaged into a multiple day span of time.

    Yeah. I'm a scientist.

    Girls Are Geeks