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Are Extroverts Ruining Surverys? ATS Take Heed

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posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 12:40 PM
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As the surveys from the ATS admin is going strong, I thought it would be interesting to bring up a new study, which says that extroverts answer questions more enthusiastically than introverts do. It may not come as a surprise, but I don't think many of us are aware of it.

As the source article says:

Extroverts' penchant for hyperbole might be getting in the way of scientists' efforts to paint an objective view of the world.


Just to entice further reading of this interesting article, I would like to insert a couple of paragraphs that will give you the gist of the article. Even if it sounds interesting or not.


It didn't matter whether extroverts were rating characteristics about themselves, about others, or even just a picture — across the board, extroverts endorse more extreme responses, said study researcher Donna McMillan, a psychologist at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.

The findings matter because scientists, particularly psychologists, use surveys to assess a wide variety of topics, including human behavior and emotions. Extroverts' penchant for hyperbole might be getting in the way of scientists' efforts to paint an objective view of the world.


Source: Are Extroverts Ruining Psychologists' Surveys?

Let's take the ATS Survey Results: UFOs and Extraterrestrials as an example.

Not to instigate a new conflict between the two sides of "skeptics and believers", but is it reasonable to say that believers are more enthusiastic than skeptics? Let's say it is, what implications would that have for the outcome of the survey? Wouldn't that give a warped view of how the ATS community as a whole regards the subject of UFOs and ET's?

Let me ask you a question, what implications do you think this will have for future surveys? Do we have to take special considerations when interpreting the results of a particular survey in the future?




posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 12:53 PM
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I'm an introvert and I tend to avoid extreme responses in surveys. Maybe being a libra has something to do with that as well. I can't say for sure haha.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 12:53 PM
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I don't really consider the social sciences truly objective. There's not only this, but the fact that you can determine what outcome you want the research to have by using biased samples.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by midniteracerx
I'm an introvert and I tend to avoid extreme responses in surveys. Maybe being a libra has something to do with that as well. I can't say for sure haha.


Well, I don't know if your starsign has got anything to do with it. But I consider myself a bit of an introvert myself, and I rarely choose either of the extremes in a particular survey.



Originally posted by 547000
I don't really consider the social sciences truly objective. There's not only this, but the fact that you can determine what outcome you want the research to have by using biased samples.


That is true. There are examples where you have two surveys asking in principle the same questions, but by different articulations and sentence structuring achieving different results. But both the person being asked and the ones creating the surveys are biased either way. You can't avoid it.

But this isn't necessarily just about bias, but extroverts and introverts. It's my preconceived question in the OP that suggests that "believers" of UFOs and ETs tend to be more extrovert than skeptics. And I think in that particular example, we have a warped result due to the enthusiasm and hyperbole exhibited by the believers.
edit on 19/8/11 by Droogie because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 01:14 PM
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Thats an interesting question, but I don't think introversion/extroversion has anything to do with skepticism. I guess we'd need a survey to find out. Personally, I am a believer in UFOs and ETs becaues of personal experience.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 01:15 PM
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Isn't everyone on ATS an introvert. There is a reason we're all lurking and posting on an internet forum.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 01:23 PM
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Originally posted by midniteracerx
Thats an interesting question, but I don't think introversion/extroversion has anything to do with skepticism. I guess we'd need a survey to find out. Personally, I am a believer in UFOs and ETs becaues of personal experience.


You might be right about that. I brought it up as an example to spur debate, I'm aware that it might have been a poor example.


Originally posted by ararisq
Isn't everyone on ATS an introvert. There is a reason we're all lurking and posting on an internet forum.


I would say that was a huge generalisation and assumption, and in practice I wouldn't think anyone could answer that question.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 01:24 PM
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Internet surveys and polls are of limited value. They are not in the least scientific. You've pointed out one of many reasons why. A meaningful poll or survey uses a well-defined random sample that is statistically valid. Even then there is a good chance it is wrong. Most surveys are run at the 95% confidence level, which means one out of twenty such surveys will not be accurate by definition. You CAN run at a 99% confidence level, meaning only one in one hundred surveys will be wrong, but you must use a larger sample, which is more expensive to do. In the US, polling about 1200 people is sufficient for the entire population.

The key here is that the people polled must be a true random sample of the population studied. In surveying support for preseidential candidates, for example, the pool for the poll is "likely voters." Why? Because non-voters are of little consequence. Internt polls are all "opt-in" polls where people self-select to take the poll or survey.

Ron Paul is a good example. In the recent ATS poll Ron Paul handily won. There were 17,783 votes, but 12,865 were from non-members. That means less than 5,000 votes were from ATS members themselves. Yet there are over 100,000 active ATS members. The site has gained almost 40,000 new members in the last year and over 3,000 in the last thirty days.

So what happened? What always happens with a Ron Paul poll. A few Ron Paul supporters spread the word and Ron Paul supporters from throughout the Internet hopped on over here to vote in the poll. 72% of the voters weren't even ATS members! So what does that poll tell you? Nothing. Less than 5% of the active ATS members even bothered to vote.

The poll, and others like them, are totally bogus.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 01:27 PM
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Originally posted by Droogie
Not to instigate a new conflict between the two sides of "skeptics and believers", but is it reasonable to say that believers are more enthusiastic than skeptics?


Is it your understanding that believers are extroverts and skeptics are introverts? I've never heard that before, are you guessing or is there something out there that brought you to this conclusion?

I'm an extrovert, but I don't see how being an E versus I could affect an ATS poll since they're basically just multiple choice questions. I can see how it might affect verbal polls maybe.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 01:34 PM
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reply to post by schuyler
 


I have to agree with what you are saying. You point out very relevant fallacies regarding polls and surveys in general. They are instrisically biased. But the study is interesting nonetheless due to difference between the two personality types, and it points out a new angle on how to look at polls and surveys.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 01:45 PM
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Originally posted by SavedOne
Is it your understanding that believers are extroverts and skeptics are introverts?


It's not really my understanding, but when I wrote the OP I thought it was a reasonable assumption and therefore a good example. In retrospect, I realize that it was an example begging for criticism. But if one looks away from what it is, a preconceived, and maybe biased example, I think it would be possible to discuss the article on a common ground, but from an example that isn't perfect.

If you have a better suggestion, I'd appreciate it.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 02:17 PM
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reply to post by Droogie
 


This is an interesting hypothesis, that introverts might score questions "less extreme" . There are so many vaariables to account for in a poll though, not the least of which is the original impetus (as well as who is funding it and why), the way the questions are phrased, and the assumptions of the pollsters themselves. I usually score quite high on introverted scales and yet I know from personal experience that I will score certian questions to the extreme end (sometimes just because the old 1-5 scale seems pointless in the 2-4 range sometimes as to how it might relate to the question). Also, I m far from convinced that skeptics and beleivers relates on a one to one ratio to introvert/extrovert respectively. There are mnay enthusiasitic skeptics and introverted believers. However there could still be merit to the idea, which tickles my fancy somewhat as if it turns out to have any real grounding in reality then most polls to date are suspect (within and to the statistical community itself). Since the introvert/extrovert scale is originally Jungian, I wonder if we migh also consider the other 3 value pairs in his theory of personality - i.e. intuitive/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling, Perceptive/Judgmental. Come to think of it, why not have an accross the board Myers-Brigg test on ATS members?



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 02:34 PM
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reply to post by 547000
 


As someone who has performed psychological studies and have a published article I want to make it clear that one of the most important things we strive for is an unbiased study. We attempt to have as random sample as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always possible as most studies are performed using Intro to Psychology students, which is a very narrow demographic. In terms of the tests and surveys themselves, numerous studies are performed to check their reliability and validity. In other words before any study is performed using these tests as a measure, one must first spend time determining whether or not these tests are measuring what you want them to measure, and whether or not it is biased one way or another. Then you have to publish a peer-reviewed article regarding your test, so then others can verify your results. In short if your test isn't measuring what you claim it measures or if it is biased you will be called out on it. For an example for how intense this become I suggest looking into the work that goes into the MMPI. It even has a scale designed to determine whether or not someone is lying about their answers.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 02:44 PM
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Reminds me of the time I ran for class president, but "School Sucks" got more votes than me


Not really, but you know what i mean. Polls will always be skewed. I do think that polls on ATS are more 'realistic' than one would expect, but this is just based on the above average intelligence of the users.

In the ATS polls, there are always those 2% responses, where you think, "What.. on...earth... were you thinking", but it has nothing to do with introverts/extroverts in my opinion



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 02:58 PM
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reply to post by Xcalibur254
 


I've been through vailidity and reliability when working with surveys myself, it's not always an easy task. But it's a good rule of thumb to be aware of these factors and keep them in mind beforehand of creating the survey.

reply to post by dyllels
 


It might not have anything to do with extroverts or introverts, but it's very possible. The reason I chose the example in the OP, I didn't extract it from the air, but I thought it was a valid example for that specific subject. That may be my biased opinion because of my experiences with the A&U subforums. But there you go, even my example was biased from the start. It's not that easy to avoid, except on a friday night.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 03:01 PM
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Quite an interesting take on things.

In doing human research which involves asking questions, it's difficult to get a "pure" sample. Introverts tend to give shorter answers unless you gain their trust and get them in a chatty mode. Extroverts and people motivated by rewards will give you more data, but they're also likely to tell you what they THINK you want them to say.

It's a real problem in doing anthropological research. That's why we tend to go for interview based data -- if you keep folks talking long enough, you get a clearer picture of their opinions and you can sneak around the subject theme a number of ways. The problem then is you have to transcribe and correctly interpret it.

Not. Easy. Research. Every one of us who has had to do the transcription thing just hates it.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 03:18 PM
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Originally posted by Byrd
Quite an interesting take on things.

In doing human research which involves asking questions, it's difficult to get a "pure" sample. Introverts tend to give shorter answers unless you gain their trust and get them in a chatty mode. Extroverts and people motivated by rewards will give you more data, but they're also likely to tell you what they THINK you want them to say.

It's a real problem in doing anthropological research. That's why we tend to go for interview based data -- if you keep folks talking long enough, you get a clearer picture of their opinions and you can sneak around the subject theme a number of ways. The problem then is you have to transcribe and correctly interpret it.

Not. Easy. Research. Every one of us who has had to do the transcription thing just hates it.


It's no question that a qualitative method would be impossible for a site as large as ATS to keep a track of, even a combined qualitative/quantitative method would be an enormous task and require resources beyond this world. And I think everyone understands that you have to go by the numbers.

But that's why it's so important to scrutinize every survey and its results, and the new study (re:OP) provides a new facet to be aware of when looking at either qualitative/quantitative methods. Extroverts will warp the results of the poll, and it's important to be aware of when you're faced the task of interpreting the results. Either as the creator or the reader.

But it gets even more interesting when you think about who is the one that influences the result. Isn't the introvert as much to blame as the extrovert?
edit on 19/8/11 by Droogie because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 03:23 PM
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Originally posted by Droogie
It might not have anything to do with extroverts or introverts, but it's very possible. The reason I chose the example in the OP, I didn't extract it from the air, but I thought it was a valid example for that specific subject. That may be my biased opinion because of my experiences with the A&U subforums. But there you go, even my example was biased from the start. It's not that easy to avoid, except on a friday night.


Aah, I see what you are saying. Now you making me think on a Friday night as well


So do you think that results in polls are therefore inundated by people trying to voice their opinions, while the hardcore experts sit back and wait for the results? Thus skewing the data?
Sorry, just trying to wrap my head around this



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 03:33 PM
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Originally posted by dyllels
Aah, I see what you are saying. Now you making me think on a Friday night as well


So do you think that results in polls are therefore inundated by people trying to voice their opinions, while the hardcore experts sit back and wait for the results? Thus skewing the data?
Sorry, just trying to wrap my head around this


Well, in a way that's what I'm saying. But in my made-up example the "experts" participate in the survey, only that they are introverts, and they do not go for any of the extremes provided in the survey. The extroverts (believers) are very enthusiastic in their answers and they go for the extremes (e.i. very possible/very unlikely). That's the gist of my biased example, although there is no animosity behind it.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 03:34 PM
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I am so sick and tired of continual ATS Survy spam in my inbox.

I think I will start now to just skew the survey results.

may aswell have some fun.




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