Day’s Verse:
Enoch walked with God; he was not, for God took him.
Genesis 5:24

Snow BackhoeIncredible news: our social psychology project produced a statistically significant result! We hypothesized that students who rated their high school social lives low would use college to affect a greater increase in social life satisfaction than students who rated their high school experiences high. So people who were unhappy with their high school social lives used college as a chance to fix that problem, while people who were happy in high school should stay the same.

We found that there was strong correlation (-0.75) between high school satisfaction (from low to high on the X-axis) and college satisfaction (from low to high on the Y-axis). We also found a P-value of 6.16×10-9 for the relationship between high school satisfaction and college satisfaction. That means that low-satisfaction people in high school increased their social life satisfaction a lot (raw score = 15 points) while the high-satisfaction people in high school actually decreased a bit when they came to college (raw score = -2). I explain these results this way:

(1) High school students who did not enjoy their social lives were probably ostracized for being too mature (what 14-year-old hangs out with somebody who acts like a 25-year old?) or very immature/socially inept. When those groups came to college, however, the mature students fit in – I found a study that says the more mature a student is in college, the better she succeeds in her social life. So they fit in and feel better. The immature ones benefit from the overall increased maturity too, because now that their peers have all matured, the social misfits will not experience so much teasing or harrassment. Their peers’ behavior change would make them feel more socially accepted.
(2) Students who rated their high school lives highly may have gone down because they had too high of expectations for college. After all, if they were so successful in high school, they would expect at least that much success in college – but then, when they failed to accomplish their goals, those students would feel less happy than they did in high school. The low-satisfaction students, meanwhile, probably had more modest goals that would be accomplished easily, leaving them very satisfied with their college social lives. Also, it is possilbe that the students who were socially satisfied in high school tried to use the same friend-making techniques that worked back in high school. But because the audience matured, those immature techniques wouldn’t work as well, and those students would feel unsuccessful.

Those are my thoughts, but does anybody have any other explanations? I’m open to ideas – we’re writing the results & discussion now, so clever thinking is on our side.

Our professor commented that our results were so significant, we could try to get the results published. Now that would be a feather in this TC major’s cap! I’ll look into it… after the chaos of this term has ended.

3 thoughts on “Rapids in the River of Time

  1. Well Mr. umm, so you’ve decided to escalate things eh? Well you picked the wrong person to post about. The odds that that would have happened are zero. Not too mention the fact that the IP address of that comment came from WPI and that person you posted as does not go to WPI. Nice try and nice story, but you’re still an ass. I’ll make you a deal though.

    Why don’t we get together and settle this by trial through combat?

  2. it’s *E*ffect “a greater increase…”

    And 10 to the minus 9th seems small, are you sure about that number? (Not that I know anything about P-values.)

  3. We all have our foibles in word usage. Grant me mine. (That error did, however, get culled out of our paper.)

    It is small. We can’t be sure of anything at this point, but it seems from what we’ve done that it is actually statistically significant. At least, our professor seemed to think it was somewhat valid when she was helping us do the T-test and correlation tests. The biggest question would be the validity of our survey, since it all hinges on that. And on the subjects’ self-reporting.

    Next term I’ll be seriously looking into the possibility of publishing, and if I do I’m expecting to have to run at least one more experiment to verify the results. We’ll see what happens.

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