0755: "Interdisciplinary"

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0755: "Interdisciplinary"

Postby SocialSceneRepairman » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:48 am UTC

Image

Alt-text: "Replace the pendulums with history students and you'll qualify for a grant!"

I fantasize about this course every time I hear the word "culture" from a humanities student.
Last edited by SocialSceneRepairman on Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:49 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby Switch31 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:49 am UTC

Ok? I feel like maybe you had to be there. Although I do remember at my school they had the General Psych students volunteer for all of the random tests that the Psych grad students were running for their theses.
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby The_Wannabe » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:51 am UTC

Have a bit of trouble with the alt-text there?

Also, pendula?
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby DVC » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:52 am UTC

Students' response: sure the lab component was interesting but the lecture course just made no sense.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby smilin' » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:53 am UTC

cool faded background, don't remember that previously

also, what's with yesterday's alt-text?

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby Jack21222 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:57 am UTC

I'd take that class! As the physics student, of course.
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby kp93 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:10 am UTC

I'd take that class! As the pendulum, of course O.o

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:23 am UTC

Who writes this nonsense?
*sigh* I'm just not enjoying xkcd much anymore.
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby kevinchai » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:24 am UTC

This was a good comic at first glance, but the caption and alt-text ruin it.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby heresjohnny » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:25 am UTC

Hmm... I'm a Psychology student, and all my friends are Physics students. Better not show this to them, they might get ideas.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby RockoTDF » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:27 am UTC

Obviously the Psych department at CNU got this out of their system before I went there and majored in psychology.
Just because it is not physics doesn't mean it is not science.
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby llyralei » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:28 am UTC

I love this... I have an inkling my school actually does this, seeing some of the strange interdisciplinary activities/courses/programs going on.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby sje46 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:29 am UTC

Switch31 wrote:Ok? I feel like maybe you had to be there. Although I do remember at my school they had the General Psych students volunteer for all of the random tests that the Psych grad students were running for their theses.

Yeah, a very large proportion, if not the majority, of psychology studies have psych undergrads as the subject pool. I participated in three of them last semester, and have read articles from the fifties that did the same thing. But it's usually not volunteer....it's actually part of your grade.
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby ethereal_fire » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:49 am UTC

I feel like I'm maybe missing a pysch reference, but other than that this is awesome!!!
(Or it could just be my brain at 1 am after watching 2 early 90s comedies that makes me think that...)

As a Human Kinetics major, would my role be to observe and study the physiological responces involved?


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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby Ghona » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:52 am UTC

sje46 wrote:
Switch31 wrote:Ok? I feel like maybe you had to be there. Although I do remember at my school they had the General Psych students volunteer for all of the random tests that the Psych grad students were running for their theses.

Yeah, a very large proportion, if not the majority, of psychology studies have psych undergrads as the subject pool. I participated in three of them last semester, and have read articles from the fifties that did the same thing. But it's usually not volunteer....it's actually part of your grade.

You have to wonder what this type of sampling does to the results.
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby EvilHom3r » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:06 am UTC

Alt-text: "Replace the pendulums with history students and you'll qualify for a grant!"

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby soren121 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:26 am UTC

I'd take that class! As a history student, provided I wouldn't have to learn any history, of course. :lol:
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby sje46 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:29 am UTC

Ghona wrote:
sje46 wrote:
Switch31 wrote:Ok? I feel like maybe you had to be there. Although I do remember at my school they had the General Psych students volunteer for all of the random tests that the Psych grad students were running for their theses.

Yeah, a very large proportion, if not the majority, of psychology studies have psych undergrads as the subject pool. I participated in three of them last semester, and have read articles from the fifties that did the same thing. But it's usually not volunteer....it's actually part of your grade.

You have to wonder what this type of sampling does to the results.

What, convenience sampling? There are obvious disadvantages. There are obvious advantages as well. It really does depend on what the question is. You can't ask questions like "Who will you vote for in the coming election" because that will be very skewed, as college students, young adults, and psychology majors are generally pretty liberal. But if you're testing whether, say, certain colors improve your memory, it really doesn't matter who you use, as long as disproportionate amount isn't color blind (you'd probably ask them to not participate, though).
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby RockoTDF » Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:27 am UTC

sje46 wrote:What, convenience sampling? There are obvious disadvantages. There are obvious advantages as well. It really does depend on what the question is. You can't ask questions like "Who will you vote for in the coming election" because that will be very skewed, as college students, young adults, and psychology majors are generally pretty liberal. But if you're testing whether, say, certain colors improve your memory, it really doesn't matter who you use, as long as disproportionate amount isn't color blind (you'd probably ask them to not participate, though).


And plus, how terribly elitist of us people who study vision to suggest that college freshmen have "different" visual systems than the masses....

Kidding aside though, there are many studies that use paid subjects, and since said participants are usually from intro level courses, you can't really say that the majority of those in psychology studies are psych majors.
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby salbrech » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:12 am UTC

sje46 wrote:. But if you're testing whether, say, certain colors improve your memory, it really doesn't matter who you use, as long as disproportionate amount isn't color blind (you'd probably ask them to not participate, though).


That's still only the returns to memory on "people who have a good enough memory to be pursuing higher education in the first place". Which is why I guess they try to use freshmen, as nearly anyone can get into college now a days. The overuse of college students in samples is a major problem with a lot of papers, which is why the papers you see in journals typically don't use them (well economic and statistical journals at least).

Of course, we're talking about grad students. There's a difference between "Publishable" and "Graduatable" papers

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby faunablues » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:44 am UTC

I recently started an "interprofessional" course at my school. The situation is this comic would be preferable.
I think it's a "you had to be there" sort of thing. These types of programs always seem to sound great on paper, à la the Enlightenment, world peace, and whatnot. At least at my school it's like having something interdisciplinary makes them cutting edge (which is reflected in the media =/), while in real life the students dread the course because it has little bearing on reality/practicality... at least hitting psych students with pendulums would be fun.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby Kola_Bear » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:45 am UTC

I studied psychology and mathematics. should i try and hit myself?

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby Furious_Angel » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:48 am UTC

sje46 wrote:
Switch31 wrote:Ok? I feel like maybe you had to be there. Although I do remember at my school they had the General Psych students volunteer for all of the random tests that the Psych grad students were running for their theses.

Yeah, a very large proportion, if not the majority, of psychology studies have psych undergrads as the subject pool. I participated in three of them last semester, and have read articles from the fifties that did the same thing. But it's usually not volunteer....it's actually part of your grade.


It can't be part of the grade because of rules concerning ethics/morals. It will usually be extra credit, and then also alternative for extra credit will be offered so that no one is forced to participate.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby Al-pocalypse » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:07 am UTC

This reminds me of what I've read about Richard Feynman's lectures:

In the large lecture auditorium the students would walk in to be greeted by a large cannon ball hung from the ceiling by a long rope. At the start of the lecture Richard Feynman would walk in, and take the cannon ball pendulum up to the edge of the room where he would stand with his back to the wall and hold the cannon ball up to the tip of his nose. He would then release it and let it swing accross the room and return, he would stand there against the wall without flinching as the cannon ball swung back to within quarter of an inch of his nose again. He would then state "I believe entirely in the things that I will teach you" before going on to lecture on the strage world of quantum mechanics.
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby gordysc » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:49 am UTC

Kola_Bear wrote:I studied psychology and mathematics. should i try and hit myself?


Yes, but use a TI 89 to do it.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby snowyowl » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:21 am UTC

Al-pocalypse wrote:This reminds me of what I've read about Richard Feynman's lectures:

In the large lecture auditorium the students would walk in to be greeted by a large cannon ball hung from the ceiling by a long rope. At the start of the lecture Richard Feynman would walk in, and take the cannon ball pendulum up to the edge of the room where he would stand with his back to the wall and hold the cannon ball up to the tip of his nose. He would then release it and let it swing accross the room and return, he would stand there against the wall without flinching as the cannon ball swung back to within quarter of an inch of his nose again. He would then state "I believe entirely in the things that I will teach you" before going on to lecture on the strage world of quantum mechanics.


Then one time somebody jumped on the roof at exactly the wrong moment...
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby GoldenGryffin » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:38 am UTC

snowyowl wrote:
Al-pocalypse wrote:This reminds me of what I've read about Richard Feynman's lectures:

In the large lecture auditorium the students would walk in to be greeted by a large cannon ball hung from the ceiling by a long rope. At the start of the lecture Richard Feynman would walk in, and take the cannon ball pendulum up to the edge of the room where he would stand with his back to the wall and hold the cannon ball up to the tip of his nose. He would then release it and let it swing accross the room and return, he would stand there against the wall without flinching as the cannon ball swung back to within quarter of an inch of his nose again. He would then state "I believe entirely in the things that I will teach you" before going on to lecture on the strage world of quantum mechanics.


Then one time somebody jumped on the roof at exactly the wrong moment...


Isn't the point that he would not need to believe in them because they are true? Strikes me as a somewhat odd statement.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby theflatworm » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:00 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:Who writes this nonsense?
*sigh* I'm just not enjoying xkcd much anymore.


I see your 'who writes this nonsense' and raise you a 'doesn't even seem to be trying these days,' though this one is actually better than most of the recently posted, uninspirated tripe that shares the same site with the latter-day works of unmittigated genius.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby eviloatmeal » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:48 am UTC

... then add the debate team as a panel of "judges" to egg the crowd on, and you have yourself a reality show!
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby squareroot » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:51 am UTC

Hmm, put that in a vacuum, and make the rope very flexible. I can guarantee the physicist won't like then... assuming he pushes it just the slighest, it would smack him upside the head. I'm guessing Feynmann was careful to hold it still.
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby glasnt » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:51 am UTC

mm.. cuttlefish....

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby sje46 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:52 am UTC

RockoTDF wrote:
sje46 wrote:What, convenience sampling? There are obvious disadvantages. There are obvious advantages as well. It really does depend on what the question is. You can't ask questions like "Who will you vote for in the coming election" because that will be very skewed, as college students, young adults, and psychology majors are generally pretty liberal. But if you're testing whether, say, certain colors improve your memory, it really doesn't matter who you use, as long as disproportionate amount isn't color blind (you'd probably ask them to not participate, though).


And plus, how terribly elitist of us people who study vision to suggest that college freshmen have "different" visual systems than the masses....

Kidding aside though, there are many studies that use paid subjects, and since said participants are usually from intro level courses, you can't really say that the majority of those in psychology studies are psych majors.

Maybe not the majority. I haven't read nearly enough studies to say with any certainty. But still a good portion. Maybe it's only a good portion in certain types of studies. Like sociological, and not fMRI. And you're right, not majors, but people taking intro psych classes. Most of which are majors.
salbrech wrote:
sje46 wrote:. But if you're testing whether, say, certain colors improve your memory, it really doesn't matter who you use, as long as disproportionate amount isn't color blind (you'd probably ask them to not participate, though).


That's still only the returns to memory on "people who have a good enough memory to be pursuing higher education in the first place". Which is why I guess they try to use freshmen, as nearly anyone can get into college now a days. The overuse of college students in samples is a major problem with a lot of papers, which is why the papers you see in journals typically don't use them (well economic and statistical journals at least).

Of course, we're talking about grad students. There's a difference between "Publishable" and "Graduatable" papers
I'm not talking grad students...I'm talking about papers published in Science, (a REALLY hard journal to get published in). I haven't read too many papers, but more than a few had grad students. And yeah, there's a problem with selection, but it's very difficult to get a perfect sample of the population. You actually have to compensate people to go into your study, so can't you argue that poor people are overrepresented? Maybe people with nothing to do that day are overrepresentated (and not, say, people who pack their days with activities?) With the memory example, it's granted that the students will have high than average short term memory. But they're testing the differences between the control and experimental values, not the mean short term memory score for the population as a whole. As in, they're only interested in how much it changes. Even if it isn't generalizable to the general public, it does support the theory that certain colors improve your memory (which, btw, is a bullcrap theory I just made up). It doesn't not support it.
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sje46 wrote:
Switch31 wrote:Ok? I feel like maybe you had to be there. Although I do remember at my school they had the General Psych students volunteer for all of the random tests that the Psych grad students were running for their theses.

Yeah, a very large proportion, if not the majority, of psychology studies have psych undergrads as the subject pool. I participated in three of them last semester, and have read articles from the fifties that did the same thing. But it's usually not volunteer....it's actually part of your grade.


It can't be part of the grade because of rules concerning ethics/morals. It will usually be extra credit, and then also alternative for extra credit will be offered so that no one is forced to participate.

Not true. We actually had a member of the IRB board come in and talk about this. They have to compensate you somehow, and the usual method is through grades (as opposed to, say, free pizza, which some universities at least did, in the past). It can't be too much of your grade though...I think it's usually around 10% for my classes. And they have to provide an alternate option if you really don't want to do a study. Usually this involves writing a response, or something. Most students go with participating in the study. But yeah, it is certainly allowed, and commonly used.
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby symple » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:15 am UTC

I like this comic! Not sure about the caption. But I like it. Also I'm worried the pendulums might hurt the psych students. Would be pretty fun to be the pendulum though. :-)

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby Plasma Man » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:39 am UTC

It's not stated that the body of the pendulum is rigid, it could be a giant foam ball or something similar. It looks like fun, anyway.
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby VladTepes » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:48 am UTC

My intro to psych class also required us to participate as subjects, with a research paper as an alternative no one would choose.

Northwestern has an Integrated Science Program that attempts to create interdisciplinary scientists in a 3-year honors bachelor. I started it back in '95 before dropping out like half the students. It was just too much to keep straight, going from geophysics to biochemistry to physical chemistry. I ended up in CS, though I do sometimes wish I had stuck it out.

After getting sick of the software consulting gig and stumbling into some amazing volunteer projects, I've gone into another interdisciplinary program, a Master of Disaster Management. The University of Copenhagen considers it part of the School of Global Health, with teachers from anthropology, sociology, epidemiology, sanitation engineering, etc. It's a partner program with Lund University, which specializes in risk assessment and analysis and fire safety engineering. As contrived as some of these interdisciplinary programs can be, there are some real benefits to broad over deep.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby Badion » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:55 am UTC

BAD RANDALL! Do not pick on the humanities people like that!
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby DougBTX » Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:03 pm UTC

GoldenGryffin wrote:
snowyowl wrote:
Al-pocalypse wrote:"I believe entirely in the things that I will teach you"


Isn't the point that he would not need to believe in them because they are true? Strikes me as a somewhat odd statement.


I think you're referring to the idea that X exists, regardless of whether you believe in it or not. So, you don't need to believe in gravity for it to keep you on the Earth's surface, but you still can believe in it if you want to.

It stays true regardless of your belief, and believing in this which are true seems like a good plan. Note that you can believe that things exist which don't exist, it's just that someone might call you on it and you'll have a hard time proving it exists. But then some things can be true, but you don't know how to prove them, and they stay true regardless of your belief, or your meta-ability to prove your beliefs, and then we all get sucked into a giant worm hole.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby SimonLMorris » Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:14 pm UTC

Sent this to a colleague working in Biophysics, who sent it in turn to colleague in Psychology, who returned the following link:

http://www.open2.net/sciencetechnologynature/worldaroundus/pulfricheffect.html

We are now going to seek funding to put this into our third year Physics labs.

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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby aleflamedyud » Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:53 pm UTC

Good going Randall! After seeing my uni's listing of "interdisciplinary" courses and noticing its near-total lack of any sciences, I wish to enroll immediately in PHYSICS 347: The Effect of Meso-Scale Object Collisions on Young Homo Sapiens Sapiens of the Liberal Arts and Social Pseudo-Sciences.
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Re: "Interdisciplinary" discussion (#755)

Postby rcox1 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:00 pm UTC

Al-pocalypse wrote:This reminds me of what I've read about Richard Feynman's lectures:

In the large lecture auditorium the students would walk in to be greeted by a large cannon ball hung from the ceiling by a long rope. At the start of the lecture Richard Feynman would walk in, and take the cannon ball pendulum up to the edge of the room where he would stand with his back to the wall and hold the cannon ball up to the tip of his nose.

When I read the comic, this is what i thought of, and why it would not make a bad interdisciplinary thing. The physics of it is conservation of energy and the force of gravity. Most people do not understand this completely, and it is the dickens to teach kids that all objects fall at the same rate. In any case,the study of how people react to the cannonball coming at them, could be useful. And, just to be clear, I like laughing at the pseudosciences as much as anyone.


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