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The Discovering the Scientist Within: Research Methods in Psychology author team—Gary Lewandowski, Natalie Ciarocco, and David Strohmetz—would like to share our sincere thanks for your overwhelming interest in our recently published first edition.


Since publication in December, we've been so delighted to see that our vision to create a text with a student-centric "learning by doing" approach has resonated with so many our of colleagues throughout North America.


Thank you for your reviews, comments, support, and excitement. We hope that you will contact us with any questions! Best wishes in your courses in the upcoming year.



Gary, Natalie and Dave


What's so different about Discovering the Scientist Within?


  • Each design chapter focuses on a single research question, which provides a strong foundation for students’ understanding of the actual design and the entire research process.


  • Each design chapter repeats all steps of the research process, which puts into classroom practice the authors’ own experience-based conclusion that repetition is the key to solidifying research skills—skills that lead to success in the laboratory, in the workplace, and beyond.


  • Book-specific Research in Action activities in LaunchPad Solo put students in the role of the researcher and ask them to make decisions in planning and executing a study from idea to results.

  • The authors have provided the most comprehensive Instructor’s Resource Manual for the research methods course, containing nearly 300 sources to make teaching methods easier and more relatable to students.

Susan Nolan, presenting at the Northwest Conference on Teaching Introductory Psychology, offered some suggestions on diversifying the images in your presentations – and I’d add diversifying name used in your exam questions – to ensure that all students see people and names that are both familiar to them and not familiar to them. I teach on a diverse campus where our students or their parents have come from all over the world. I use my students’ names in exam questions. Last term, I had one student, as she handed in her exam with a big grin said, “This is the first time I’ve ever seen my name on an exam!”


Nolan suggested visiting Wikipedia’s most common surnames page. Choose a name, and then, if you’re looking for a photo to use on a presentation slide, search that name in Google images. Be sure to click on “search tools” and then under “usage rights,” choose “labeled for noncommercial reuse.”


Alternatively, you can use a fake name generator, like, well, Choose the gender you’d like or leave it set to random. Choose your “name set,” such as “Arabic.” Click “Generate.” When I just ran it for Arabic, it generated Hafsah Yakootah Khouri. I can use that name in an exam question, or I can do a Google Images search for an image I can use on a presentation slide. Again, be sure to click on “search tools” and then under “usage rights,” choose “labeled for noncommercial reuse.”

Do you give your students case studies of fictional people? Fake Name Generator is a terrific site for creating a fake person. Not only does it generate names, it will generate an entire fake identify, including address (that’s what the “country” field is for), phone number, birthday, MasterCard number, occupation and company, height, weight, blood type, favorite color.

On April 11, 2016 Richard Ransom, the founder of Hickory Farms, died at the age of 96 (Walsh, 2016).


In a masterful use of the norm of reciprocity Hickory Farms stores offered samples before it was popular to do so. Today it’s commonplace; not so in the 1950s and 1960s.


"The women didn’t bother asking customers if they wanted a taste – they just cut off bite-size pieces and held them out to people, Robert Ransom [Richard’s son] recalled. Shoppers felt obligated to take and eat what they were offered, and after tasting meats and cheeses every few steps around the store, they felt obligated to buy something" (Walsh, 2016).


Does giving a free sample actually make a difference in sales? You bet. Friedman & Rahman (2011) compared four conditions delivered in a fast-food restaurant: no greeting/no gift, greeting/no gift, greeting/free yogurt, greeting/free key chain. The greeting of customers didn’t matter. What had the most impact was giving a customer a free gift, and, no, it didn’t matter what that free gift was. Those who received a free gift (yogurt or key chain) spent 46% more on their purchase than those who did not receive a free gift.


If I were just starting a business like Hickory Farms, I’d give out free samples, too!



Friedman, H. H., & Rahman, A. (2011). Gifts-upon-entry and appreciatory comments: Reciprocity effects in retailing. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 3(3). doi:10.5539/ijms.v3n3p161


Walsh, M. W. (2016, April 16). Richard K. Ransom, founder of Hickory Farms, dies at 96. Retrieved from

Sue Frantz

Guess the Correlation

Posted by Sue Frantz Apr 16, 2016

After introducing students to the concept of correlations, it may help students to see a scatterplot to understand what the correlation coefficient means.


Give students an example of correlation. For example, Cornell, (2013) found a correlation of .32 between the number of dropouts from 289 Virginia high schools and student perceptions of teasing and bullying. At this website, enter .32 in the “r” box and enter 200 in the “n” box (289 of course would be better, but the site limits the number of data points to 200.  Press enter. In pairs or small groups, ask students to describe the graph, and then ask a volunteer to share their description. (Students may explain that the number of dropouts is plotted along the x axis and the student perceptions of teasing and bullying are plotted along the y axis. As perceptions increase, so do number of dropouts.)


Explain that Cornell, (2013) also found a correlation of .46 between the percent of students who qualify for free and reduced price meals and academic failure rate. Ask students to predict what will happen to the points on the scatterplot when you enter .46 into the “r” box. Again, ask students to explain what the scatterplot means to a partner, and then ask for a volunteer to share their description.


Give one last example from Cornell, (2013). They found a correlation of -.42 between the percent of students who qualify for free and reduced price meals and the size of the high school. Ask students to predict what will happen to the points on the scatterplot when you enter -.42 into the “r” box. Again, ask students to explain what the scatterplot means to a partner, and then ask for a volunteer to share their description.   


Finally, ask students to predict what will happen to the data points when you enter 1 in the “r” box.


Now that students have a handle on what is happening in scatterplots, invite students (perhaps as an assignment), to visit Here, players try to guess the correlation based on the scatterplot. You get three lives. If your guess is off by more than .1, you lose a life. If your guesses are good, you earn lives and coins. The data collected are used for research; you can read about that on the “About” page. Unfortunately, the site only gives scatterplots for positive correlations.


Cornell, D., Gregory, A., Huang, F., & Fan, X. (2013). Perceived prevalence of teasing and bullying predicts high school dropout rates. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(1), 138-149. doi:10.1037/a0030416

Winston Moseley died on March 28, 2016 at the age of 81. His obituary appeared in the New York Times on April 4th. Moseley was the catalyst for an event that everyone who has taken Intro Psych since the mid-1960s remembers, but I’m not surprised if you don’t recognize his name. The event is known for the victim, not the killer. In 1964, Winston Moseley murdered Kitty Genovese.


“His life behind bars had been relatively eventful. Mr. Moseley was condemned to die in the electric chair, but in 1967, two years after New York State abolished most capital punishments, he won an appeal that reduced his sentence to an indeterminate life term. While at Attica Correctional Facility, in 1968, he escaped while on a hospital visit to Buffalo, raped a woman and held hostages at gunpoint before being recaptured. He joined in the 1971 Attica uprising; earned a college degree [bachelor’s in sociology] in 1977; and was rejected 18 times at parole hearings, the last time in 2015.”


The obituary explains that this would have been just another murder among the 635 others that year in New York City had it not been for a front-page New York Times article published two weeks later. The story’s angle was apathy – that 38 people witnessed the whole thing yet did nothing. But that’s not quite what happened.


“None saw the attack in its entirety. Only a few had glimpsed parts of it, or recognized the cries for help. Many thought they had heard lovers or drunks quarreling. There were two attacks, not three. And afterward, two people did call the police. A 70-year-old woman ventured out and cradled the dying victim in her arms until they arrived. Ms. Genovese died on the way to a hospital.”


For more, see last month's blog post on Kitty Genovese.

Patty Duke, who portrayed a young Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker in the play and later in the movie, died on March 29, 2016. Her obituary in The Telegraph discussed her less-than-pleasant relationship with her guardians. For example, “For 18 months before the audition for the Broadway production of The Miracle Worker, the Rosses spent some time each day treating their protegée as if she were deaf and blind, banging pots and pans behind her until she no longer reacted and making her do household chores blindfold.”


This is quite an example of habituation. “[S]ome time each day” for a year and a half Duke’s guardians made sudden, loud noises. Sure enough, she eventually would not respond to those sounds.


If you have the time, you can do a quick classroom demonstration. Start the demonstration by asking students to write down something, like the names of five friends. As students look down to write, slam a book on a table. Ask students, “Raise your hand if you jumped.” Briefly tell your students who Helen Keller was and show a short clip from The Miracle Worker. Now ask your students to consider the challenges faced by Patty Duke playing someone who is both deaf and blind. “If you were Patty Duke, what could you do to prepare for this role so that you wouldn’t respond to sudden, loud noises?” After students share their ideas, reveal how Duke’s guardians prepared her.