Unobtrusive Experiments


In Joshua Greene's course, "Social Psychology," students design and run their own original "unobtrusive experiments" as the final project for the class. Students read and conduct background research to get ideas, write a proposal and refine it with the help of the TF, carry out the research, give a presentation on the research, and write up the results.

Unobtrusive methods measure behavior without intruding on a situation. This includes observing public behavior and analyzing content or archival data. Students are given the following ground rules:

  • Don’t interact with the humans!
  • No online chatting
  • No surveys
  • Any observed behavior must be public
  • Any manipulation must be harmless and non-deceptive (e.g., no fake Craigslist ads)
Students submit 2-3 page project proposals for approval by the course instructors. The proposals include background info/theoretical motivation, hypothesis, method, predicted results and implications, and a backup proposal. After their proposals have been approved, they may begin collecting data. Further instructions and examples of previous experiments done by students are provided on the course website. 
See the course syllabus and lecture slides attached. 
syllabus.pdf137 KB
slides.pdf2.48 MB