Discussion 4: APA Formating

PSY3211 – Research Methods and Data Analysis in Psychology


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This interactive group discussion assignment is based on topics covered in your Chapter 14 (Smith and Davis) material.


The paragraph below (in bold) contains the method section from a real research paper. For this discussion post, you’re going to do two things:

1) In your post initial post, I want you to paraphrase this paragraph using your own words and no more than 5 sentences. Since you have to use your own words, you can look at the posts created by your group members, but you will have to make your own using your own words. In your post, be sure to explain what the independent variable is, how many groups there were, what participants did in those groups, and what the dependent variable was and how they measured it. This will prepare you for how to paraphrase in your article critique paper! It’s okay if your post is not perfect, because your group members are going to help you out! HINT: the amount of time that specific stimuli are presented or the specific items presented in the task are not important information to include.

Don’t forget to include at least one in-text citation. The excerpt is from an article titled Absolut Memory Distortions: Alcohol Placebos Influence the Misinformation Effect, by Seema L Assefi and Maryanne Garry, January, 2003.

Paragraph to paraphrase: 

“Subjects were told that the experiment was about alcohol’s influence on preferred learning modes (visual and verbal). The actual purpose of the study was to see how perceived alcohol consumption might influence how they misremember information. They sat in a room set up as a bar, spacing themselves apart from one another. A volunteer in the group chose an envelope that ostensibly assigned the group’s drink condition (tonic, vodka and tonic). The envelopes were rigged so that half the time they said tonic, and half the time they said vodka and tonic. Regard- less of what the envelope said, all subjects were served plain tonic. To convince subjects that the “alcoholic” drinks contained alcohol, we followed successful procedures from past research using the balanced placebo design (Rohsenow & Marlatt, 1981). For example, subjects were weighed and told that the amount of alcohol they would receive was proportional to their weight. “Alcoholic drinks” were poured from Absolut® Vodka bottles and prepared in plain view of subjects. Drink glasses were rimmed with vodka-soaked limes, and submerged in vodka to smell like alcohol. While they watched an action movie, subjects spaced their drinks over 13 min, and then watched the movie for an additional 6 min. At the end of the 19 min, subjects viewed a slide sequence of a man shoplifting items in a bookstore (see Loftus, 1991). They then read a narrative that contained misinformation about items that were in the images in the slide show. There were eight critical items: a candle, notebook, stapler, textbook, sweatshirt, magazine, elevator, and towel. We prepared two versions of the slide sequence that showed the same critical items but with different characteristics (e.g., white candle vs. yellow candle). Each slide was presented for 2.5 s. After working on filler-task puzzles for 12 min, subjects read a 541 -word narrative, which contained misinformation about four of the critical items and neutral information about the other four. There were four narratives that differed in their descriptions of the critical items, and slide and narrative combinations were counterbalanced across subjects (e.g., a subject who saw a white candle read about either a “yellow candle” or a “candle,” depending on the condition that subject was in, and a subject who saw a yellow candle read about either a “white candle” or a “candle”).

Finally, after working on puzzles for 3 min more, subjects took a 19-item forced-choice test in which they indicated the details they remembered seeing in the slide sequence. For each item they chose between the correct event detail and the suggested detail. Furthermore, subjects were asked to rate their confidence that their answers were correct, using a scale from 1 (not confident at all) to 5 (very confident). The purpose of this is to see if reading the narrative with misinformation about the slide sequence they saw influenced their recollection of the video. The instructions minimized demand characteristics by emphasizing the importance of basing answers on the event, not the narrative that they read afterward (Lindsay, 1990). Afterward, subjects were fully debriefed and told that none of them actually consumed any alcohol.”

2) Post a reply to a group member in which you provide at least one edit or correction to their paraphrased paragraph. This could be an APA style correction, a grammatical correction, or simply a comment/suggestion about ways to improve their writing style or paraphrasing. Alternatively, you could also comment on whether you believe their paragraph is paraphrased correctly (that is, is their paragraph too similar to the original paper? If so, provide suggestions for how to fix it). Even if you believe that the paragraphs your group members posted are really good, there is always room for improvement!

It is okay if the comments between members contain some overlap, but try to discuss things that have not been brought up previously. 


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The independent variable is whether or not they were led to believe they were drinking alcohol. Participants were divided into two groups in which each group was led to believe that they were drinking either tonic or vodka and tonic. Subjects then watched an action movie while drinking then watched a slideshow for which they were given a narrative that contained deceiving information about items in the slideshow. Then right after completing a few puzzles, they read something that had misleading information about one-half of the items and neutral about the other half. The dependent variable was whether or not they remembered the items correctly and they measured it by having the subjects take a “19-item forced-choice test in which they indicated the details they remembered seeing in the slide sequence” (Assefi & Garry, 2003) and their certainty that their answers were right.