Taking Research Out into the Wild
Research findings are almost exclusively based on American undergraduates and other WEIRD subjects (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic), impeding progress in research and development for the non-WEIRD. This session will show how web-based testing makes it possible to study larger and more diverse samples in the wild. Hear about three experimental platforms led by teams at the University of Michigan, MIT, Harvard, and Massachusetts General Hospital that work
on questions related to computer science, linguistics, neurodevelopmental genetics, and psychology. Learn about the benefits and difficulties of such large-scale online testing, participants’ curiosity to learn about themselves, and about findings in various research fields that would not have been found if it wasn’t for studying people outside the lab.
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Additional Supporting Materials
- What happens when scientists build on WEIRD findings from the lab, and why might you want to conduct large-scale online experiments for your own work?
- Who are the participants in online experiments, what motivates them and how can you encourage volunteers from every demographic? Are people online really *less* WEIRD?
- How does science and technology change when it becomes less WEIRD, and what are some practical examples of discoveries made through large-scale online testing?
Katharina Reinecke, Assistant Professor, School of Information, University of Michigan