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Shira Gabriel and Ariana F. Young (2011) conducted a study to test various hypotheses. This paper will focus on mainly one hypothesis which is the Narrative Collective-Assimilation Hypothesis. The Narrative Collective-Assimilation Hypothesis states that individuals have a strong desire to belong to a group of people and assimilate to different characteristics when they feel lonely or even to fit in with their collective. This study was conducted using 140 undergraduate students from the University at Buffalo, 72 of them men and 68 of them women. The way the groups were assigned was based on a Collective and Relational Self-Construal Scale that students had taken earlier in the semester.
This study used an experimental research method because it had an independent variable being manipulated and a dependent variable being measured. The dependent variable in this experiment was the participants responded to the different books. One of the independent variables in the study was the type of book that was given to the participants. It had two levels: they were given either Twilight (Meyer, 2005) or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling, 1999). The participants were told to read certain chapters for each book. For Twilight, they were told to read Chapter 13 which is the chapter when the vampire Edward portrays to Bella what it resembles to be a vampire. Those who read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone were told to read chapter 7 which is the chapter in which Harry and his friends are placed into specific “houses.” Participants were allowed to advance to the next part of the experiment after they had finished reading their assigned chapter or after they read for a total of 30 minutes.
After the participants completed their readings or a certain amount of time elapsed, they were able to move on to the next part of the experiment. The participants were then instructed to complete an Implicit Association Test also known as IAT. This test was used to evaluate the participants identification with either vampires or wizards. The participants completed two blocks each composed of 40 trials. In the first block they had to categorize “me” words, “wizard” words, “not me” words, and “vampire” words. “Me” and “wizard” words used the same response key while “not me” and “vampire” words used a different response key. During the second block the participants just had to respond as swiftly and precisely as they could. The researchers predicted that those participants that read the Harry Potter chapters would respond faster to the “me” and “wizard” words while those who read Twilight would respond quicker to the “me” and “vampire” words. After the two blocks, the researchers administered a measure of collective assimilation which they decided to call “Twilight/Harry Potter Narrative Collective-Assimilation Scale.” This involved asking three rare questions meant to measure the collective assimilation of both Harry Potter and Twilight. The final procedure in the study involved having participants complete a Transportation Scale which measured the participants experience of being caught up in a story. The data for this study was collected in person.
The narrative-collective hypothesis was confirmed by the results of this study. The participants who read the assigned Twilight chapter identified themselves as vampires while those participants that read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone identified themselves as wizards.
In general this study was accurately set up and performed to test the three different given hypothesis about narrative collective-assimilation. In the world of psychology, the word valid means that an experiment or study is measuring what it’s supposed to be measuring. This study conducted by Shira Gabriel and Ariana F. Young can be said to be valid because it is in fact measuring what it’s supposed to. The researchers wanted to examine how participants reacted and responded after reading certain books. Therefore, the researchers had participants read a specific chapter from a specific book and then measure how they reacted to certain words that had to deal with the book they were reading.
The ethicalness of the study was indisputable. All of the participants were aware and informed of what they were doing and the methods that would be used in the study. At no point during the study were any of the participants exposed to any physical, emotional, or psychological harm. No participants suffered any consequential damages due to the passive nature of the experiment.
There was indeed one major methodological problem observed in this study which was the sample of individuals that was obtained. This study was conducted using only undergraduate college students. Researchers tend to use college students in their studies because of how convenient and uncomplicated it is. However, college students are not representative of the entire human population nor account for the rest of the human population. How can researchers genuinely deduct specific claims and theories from such an unrepresentative sample of individuals about pretty much all human conduct? It may be likely that highschool students or college graduates would have reacted differently if the study would have been conducted on them. If researchers would’ve used a more varied sample of individuals they may have gotten different results on narrative collective-assimilation.
The findings in the study were accurately interpreted by the researchers. The results demonstrated that those participants who read Harry Potter related with wizards while the participants that read Twilight related to vampires. The researchers adequately interpreted this as the narrative collective-assimilation has a strong association to the need for humans to belong to a certain group rather than carrying on through life by themselves. This interpretation based on the findings makes sense on the grounds that the participants identified with the certain book they were given rather than straying away from it. The participants undoubtedly accommodated with the collective identity of the book they were reading. Just like in real life, individuals have a strong inclination to be in groups based on their need for human connection.
In a 2011 experimental research study conducted by Shira Gabriel and Ariana F. Young 140 college students were used to test the narrative collective-assimilation hypothesis. The participants in this study were assigned to one of two books based on an examination they completed earlier in the semester. After the participants finished reading a specific chapter in their assigned book, the researchers had the participants categorize different words that had to do with the books they had read. The researchers also administered rare questions to measure the assimilation between the participants that read Twilight and the participants that read Harry Potter. Participants who read the chapter in Harry Potter identified themselves as wizards and the participants who read the chapter in Twilight identified themselves as vampires. Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that the narrative collective-assimilation hypothesis has a direct and strong connection with the desire for individuals to belong to groups.
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