Third International Conference on the Teaching of Psychology
Mohammad Reza Keyhani
School of Rehabilitation Sciences,
Iran Medical Sciences University,
Tehran, Iran


Teaching statistical concepts and analysis has become a nightmare for those involved in this discipline. Every teacher according to his/her experience has pinpointed some causes and suggested some remedies for statisticophobia epidemics.

Two of these suggestions which are getting popularity and acceptance are (i) integrating statistics with research methodology and (ii) adopting problem based learning (PBL) approach in teaching. What I want to pinpoint is that students hardly establish a necessary relationship with the data provided to them, no matter which method is used, as it is not their problem to ponder. Evolutionary psychology (EP) has been applied to the study of many fields, including economics, psychiatry, politics, human behavior, sex differences, etc. It is a way of generating testable (and thus falsifiable) hypotheses about the structure of the mind. Then why not use it in the process of teaching research methodology and statistics? We can call it Theory Based Learning (TBL).It is a method of education very similar to PBL. In PBL method a problem is presented to the students, it acts as a trigger to raise questions in the students' mind. Then, students list the questions and seek their solutions. Similarly in TBL, a theory is raised and testable hypotheses are deduced, then students collect the relevant data for statistical analysis. Using EP theories and generating hypotheses, students willingly participate in data gathering and data analysis. But which theory should be raised? Beauty is something that everyone is concerned with. Everyone appreciate it and wants to be beautiful, especially our young students. It is related to physical attractiveness (PA) which is a fundamental EP concept in human survival and students are also eager to see how the PA generated hypotheses are confirmed. For example, consider the omnipresent variables in almost all statistical methods text books, "gender", "age", "height", and "weight". Let's see how EP can do wonders just by adding "ideal weight" variable to the above list. State a theory or theories of gender related concerns to physical attractiveness, and with student participation generate as much hypotheses as you can. Now construct body mass index (BMI) and ideal body mass (IBMI). Relate BMI to physical attractiveness and difference of BMI and IBMI to concerns of physical attractiveness see if:

1: Females are more concerned with their weight and wish to be thinner.

2: Males are indifferent or wish to be heavier (unless they are too fat) as they want to show that they are strong!

Adding "age" to the above hypotheses helps you to formulate new ones which every student is willing to analyze and pay enough attention to.

You can also find pictures of female line drawing with different BMI and waist to hip (WHR) ratio in free online research articles to use, in case you intend to proceed further. More ever these articles are great help to your students to write a research article while using their own data.

Your "statistics and research methodology" classes will become beautiful and more attractive!!!

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