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Dynamic Process Tracing Environment User Discussion

The ins and outs of two DPTE studies

I just completed two studies using DPTE and thought others in the community might benefit from an account of my experiences.

The first study I completed relied on undergraduates recruited through the Purdue Psychology department’s undergraduate subject pool. My colleagues (Chris Agnew and Robert Kulzick) and I are examining whether the sequence of information people receive about potential military conflicts influences their willingness to express support for those conflicts. The point of the research is to explore differences in predictions about the dynamics of public opinion offered by rational choice and heuristic judgment theories. Briefly, rational choice theories suggest that varying the order of information people receive about potential conflicts should not make a difference to their judgments. The content of what people see or read should matter most. In contrast, Khaneman and Tversky’s work suggests that people are likely to be sensitive to information order effects.

This study ran smoothly. A number of respondents who used either the Chrome or Safari web browsers reported having trouble with the DPTE website. Those that used either Firefox or Internet Explorer were able to complete the study successfully.

The second study I completed used subjects recruited from Mechanical Turk forĀ  research on the effects of cues about counterterrorism on anxieties about future terrorism. Once again, the study ran smoothly. We got responses from 50 people in roughly four days (we paid volunteers .25 cents for a 13 question survey). We told those that volunteered to complete the study using either Firefox or Internet Explorer and got no complaints about the DPTE website not working. We did not successfully get responses to all the questions we asked, but it looks like the problem was on our end: a number of the questions we fielded did not have values associated with the response choices and we did not end the study properly. It would have been nice to get the study done properly the first time, but if all of my mistakes only cost $12.50 I’ll be way ahead of the game.