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The statistic examined in this research is: About 22.4 percent of women aged between 18 to 25 years respond positively to a solicitation approach by a male confederate aged 20 years for their phone numbers on a sunny day compared to 13.9 percent who did so on a cloudy day. This is reported on Jan 29, 2013 in the article “Flirting More Effective on Sunny Days, Study Shows” by the sci-news.com
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Detailed explanation on how the reported statistic was “measured”
The study involved 500 randomly selected young women of ages between 18 and 25 who were approached while walking alone along pedestrian streets in two towns close to the Atlantic coast in France.
The confederates who solicited the women for phone numbers were all undergraduate students selected by 31 women who looked at their photos and gave a rating of between 1 (low level of good physical appearance) and 9 (high level of good physical appearance). Out of 18 volunteers examined by the women, five where recruited, having showed the highest average level of good pysical appearance. These confederates where not informed of the hypothesis of the experiment nor where they told of the objective of the study.
The confederates approached the women and asked for their phone number as well as a request for a drink together later in the day. Both of these had earlier been studied in France and found to be seen by women as a way to solicit for courtship. (Gue´guen, 2007). Confederates who approached these women also asked their age to determine whether they were within the age bracket of the experiment.
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To measure the weather conditions, two assistants collected information on the rating of the sky on a scale of 1 (cloudy) to 9 (sunny) from additional pedestrians not approached by the confederates and in their absence. The study was then conducted by the confederates when the average rating was between 1 and 3 for cloudy days and 7 to 9 for sunny days as per the pedestrian ratings.
The temperature was also taken to be within 18 to 22 oC partially because of the fact that the two towns have a relatively low variation in temperatures in the morning and also because the presence of the sea ensures that temperatures do not vary that much.
My thinking on how behaviors and attitudes where measured
According to the study, 22.4 percent of the women gave a positive response to flirting on a sunny day while 13.9 percent did so on a cloudy day. This leaves out 63.7 percent of the women, who I think are far too many to be unaffected by the weather. I also think the confederates should have been notified of the objective of the study in order to help them moderate their behaviors during their participation so as to focus more on study.
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The study also gave the confederates only 10 seconds to wait for a response which I think is too short. They should also be a little more persistent using broader questions.
In as much as the news story states that 22.4 percent of the women gave a positive response to flirting on a sunny day while 13.9 percent did so on a cloudy day, it says that a people should try their flirting skills on a sunny day. I think they should do that when the other factors which account for 63.7 percent are in play, a fact not mentioned in the news story.
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