I spoke last week with a reporter in London about the Experiment-Driven Life, Edison, Think, Try, Learn, and plenty of important issues around doing self-experimentation. Along the way she asked me what one group experiment would I like to see done if I had a large number of participants. I thought I'd put it to you:
What group experiment would you most love to see performed?
The domain she was interested in was health, but I'd love to hear any of your ideas. The experiment would need to have quantitative measures (at least one) and control and test groups. If you want to get more detailed, here are the questions in the forthcoming Create Group Experiment page from Edison (see tooltips for info):
- Experiment Title
- Experiment Details
- Requirements to Join
- Instructions for Participants
- Measurements: For each measurement list:
For me, ones near the top would revolve around debunking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoscience. I think these are ineffectual and dangerous. But in the spirit of true citizen science I'd really like to actually test them. A few possibilities:
- Prayer and health
- Fortune Telling, psychics, and precognition
- Traditional Chinese medicine, herbalism, and Ayurvedic Medicine
- Superstitions, such as bad luck resulting from a black cat walking in front of you or breaking a mirror
In the psychology realm I found these possibilities at The Top 10 Psychology Studies of 2010:
- 1) How to Break Bad Habits: The most effective strategy for breaking a bad habit is vigilant monitoring - focusing your attention on the unwanted behavior to make sure you don't engage in it. In other words, thinking to yourself "Don't do it!" and watching out for slipups.
- 2) How to Make Everything Seem Easier: our tactile experience - the sensations associated with the things we touch, might have this same power. For instance, we associate smoothness and roughness with ease and difficulty.
- 4) How to Be Happier: Savoring is a way of increasing and prolonging our positive experiences. Create plans for how to inject more savoring into each day.
- 5) How to Have More Willpower. Our capacity for self-control is surprisingly like a muscle that can be strengthened by regular exercise. Work your willpower muscle regularly, engaging in simple actions that require small amounts of self-control (like sitting up straight or making your bed each day).
- 7) How to Feel More Powerful: the relationship between power and posing works in both directions. In other words, holding powerful poses can actually make you more powerful. If you want more power - not just the appearance of power, but the genuine feeling of power - then spread your limbs wide, stand up straight, and lean into the conversation. Carry yourself like the guy in charge, and in a matter of minutes your body will start to feel it, and you will start to believe it.
- How much sleep is enough? Do you feel better when you sleep 8, 9, etc hours? How different is this in other people?
- Have you "developed a relationship" with an infectious disease? For example, do you get a cold at the same time every year - or, do your illnesses have a cyclical effect, changing from summer to winter?
- If you go out in the rain, will you get a cold?
- Is chicken soup an effective remedy for colds?
- Is eastern medicine or herbal medicine effective?