Honours Dissertation

by SeventhNadir1 min read14th Dec 201010 comments

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I'm picking a topic for my Psychology Honours dissertation next year and I've got so many options and interests that the overabundance of choice is near paralyzing. So in the interests of crowd sourcing and hopefully writing about something of substance, I'd like to hear suggestions for potential directions I could take. It can be any idea but one that frequently pops up on less wrong and needs further exploration or exposure would be ideal.

Basically feel free to offer suggestions but ideally I want something that (assuming I do it right) would help lay a part of the groundwork required to build up someones rationality.

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If the problem is really that you have such an overabundance of possible topics that you can't possibly choose, then I think it would be helpful for you to list some of them -- along with a sentence or two describing what you'd argue or explore concerning each one. Then people here might be able to tell you what sounds most interesting or potentially fruitful. We don't know your background (psychology is a big field, to put it mildly) or interests -- without some indication of those, this has more the feel of a fishing expedition.

It would be nice to have a "rationality battery" that could be used when measuring the effects of various interventions on folks' epistemic rationality. (E.g., we could use this to see if LW-reading, or various specific rationality exercises, help.)

Any progress toward a rationality battery, such as reviewing the literature on various specific questions and noting that, say, the cognitive reflectiveness test seems to be progress toward the same, would also be useful.

But I don't know to what extent such work has been done already. (Does anyone else reading this?)

They seem to usually go under a name like testing 'critical thinking'; http://www.uwsp.edu/special/wact/WACTConference2007/WarrenCTExams.pdf to name my first Google hit gave 8 commercially available tests of critical thinking, at least of few of which sound good to me eg. Watson-Glaser Might also look at the studies cited in http://images.austhink.com/pdf/Claudia-Alvarez-thesis.pdf

It would be nice to have a "rationality battery" that could be used when measuring the effects of various interventions on folks' epistemic rationality.

How would one give an operational definition of epistemic rationality here?

[-][anonymous]11y 9

"the overabundance of choice is near paralyzing"

Then how about actually writing about that? The inability to cope with too much choice seems like a pretty fertile area for study, still...

How about an overview and evaluation of evidence-based psychology?

I'm picking a topic for my Psychology Honours dissertation next year and I've got so many options and interests that the overabundance of choice is near paralyzing.

It would be easier to provide feedback if you listed a few examples. Otherwise all I can do is throw more options at you and overwhelm you further!

SeventhNadir, are you in Australia? What's an Honours dissertation there? Is it something you do at the end of undergraduate college, or is it a graduate thing? (I apologize for American vocab; I don't know any different).

The reason I'm asking is, I want to take my undergrad thesis to publication sometime in the next two-three semesters. There's room to accommodate a couple psychology questions into a really neat questionnaire, if you're not afraid of being laughed at (I wasn't, and graduated with highest honors).

You surely know about the conjunction problem? Brilliant classic. Anyways, the gist of my idea is there in the comments, but since then I came up with a couple ways to test my hypothesis. I am a bit anxious that someone's already done that. I'll do a literature search later.

Anyways, we should talk more if you're at all interested. Obviously, this suites an undergrad project way better than a graduate one.

SeventhNadir, are you in Australia? What's an Honours dissertation there? Is it something you do at the end of undergraduate college, or is it a graduate thing? (I apologize for American vocab; I don't know any different).

You do it at the end of a university degree. It is technically an undergraduate thing although it is for most intents and purposes a half sized masters by research. The order goes undergrad degree -> honours -> masters -> PhD except you can skip either or both of the middle two depending on preference, who you know and whether you need a scholarship.

I think that something that helped people figure out which environments and which practices help to minimize the mind killing effects of politics would be awesome.