Experimental Psychology is a required course for psychology majors at Texas A&M University–Texarkana. This course is designed to familiarize students with the typical methods and techniques employed in psychological research. I believe that to fully understand research one must experience it, so I incorporated an in-class experiment designed to provide students with a firsthand account of how to conduct research in psychology. In this experiment, students were to use a two-point discrimination test to determine which body parts were most sensitive to touch. In spring 2013, I replaced the two-point threshold study with a Mythbusters module. This module begins with students critiquing an episode of Mythbusters that tests whether there is a difference between men and women with regard to pain tolerance. After discussing the study's strengths and limitations, the class develops a new-and-improved version of the study, which is conducted using a sample of friends and family. Following data analysis, the students write a manuscript of the study. The following case describes this research module in detail and how it is used to demonstrate a variety of aspects related to empirically based psychological research.
A Quasi-Experimental Study: Using Mythbusters to Understand Research in Psychology