December 21, 2020 8 Comments

CNCS2020 – Round 2

In response to our call for CNCS2020, we have now received 5 research proposals. Here we have posted these proposals in order for the CNCS2020 participants to be able to have access to all of them in 1 page. In the next stage of our assignment, we want the participants to review each other’s ideas and send us their comments about each project or comment under the blog post here.

These proposals are not perfect. But that is what makes this exercise worthwhile. They have good ideas in them and we are interested in having discussions about each proposal within the CNCS2020 participants.

There are some grammatical and writing errors in each case. If you see any problem, communicate your feedbacks about them to the group members. This is a great opportunity to help each other improve your writing.

Question 1

Is it possible to have a crowd of individual decision makers that exploits the positive benefits of social influence, while minimising its bad side effects?

Group 2: Sara daniali, Sara tarvand, Zahra mafi, Mahbod nouri, Motahare delbari, Fateme fotouhi, Nastaran bahadorani, Mohammadreza ganji arjenaki

Hypothesis: This study is designed to assess the hypothesis that consultation, very different answers, large data, and lack of previous default answers for decision-makers lead individuals  to the right answer.

Method: In this experiment, we ask 1050 participants to estimate the number of candies in a jar photo full of candy while we already know the correct answer. To motivate accurate estimates, the closest answer would earn a prize. After that, we will divide participants into 5 separate equal groups as described below. And each group will be divided into 10 equal subgroups.

Table 1

Then we calculate the average of the correct answers in each group, and finally, we would compare them with the control group (except group 1 that should compare with group 2 due to having one variable), and the Z test will be used for comparing averages of the two groups.

Prediction: If consultation, very different answers, large data, and lack of previous default answers for decision-makers lead individuals to the right answer, and we compare the average correct answers of the control group with the groups that have these variables. In that case, we should find the higher accuracy in these groups.

Question 2

How can we test the Attribution Theory empirically?

Group 3: Ehsan Ahmadi, Mohaddeseh Allami, Fatemeh Qorbani, Mahdi Rafiyan, Navid Davar, Zahra Hajrezaei

The study of attributing attitudes based on Kelley’s Covariation theory in 1967. In three different patterns of this theory, how external and internal causes show their role in attitudes, preferences, and thus understanding and attributing these components in people?


Based on Kelley’s theory of covariation in 1967, we want to examine “attribution of attitude” in the case of an innovative task. Theory explanation:

According to theory, we can determine whether a person would likely make a personal (internal), stimulus (external), or circumstantial attribution by assessing the levels of consensus, distinctiveness, and consistency in a given situation:

Low Consensus, Low Distinctiveness, High Consistency = Personal Attribution

High Consensus, High Distinctiveness, High Consistency = Stimulus Attribution

High Consensus, Low Distinctiveness, Low Consistency = Circumstance Attribution

So, in summary, we hypothesise that the subjects based on different situations according to the three patterns proposed in Kelley’s theory provide different answers based on three independent variables of Consistency, Consensus, and Distinctiveness that by comparing the results in the control group, can be a model provided based on external and internal causes in the issue of “attribution of attitude”.

Brief method

This study is based on the questionnaire given to the subjects during the game [What game?].

It implemented in 2 steps:

Step 1: pre-task: in this part, the subject entered the training part in the training part subject acquainted with the game and type of it, did an experimental game, and at the end, he would be asked questions. This part is necessary for assuring that the subject understood the game and can identify three factors include Consensus, Distinctiveness, and Consistency in servants’ behavior.

Step2: main task: the game is played in two different restaurants (2modes). The difference between them is that the servants of one of the restaurants were dictated to be polite and courteous, but in the other one, the servants have freedom in their types of behavior with customers. Each mode has three parts that each part is the pattern mentioned in the table, and they are independent and have no dependency on each other, and the subject can do each part with a gap. The subject (as a customer) entered one of these parts by his own choice. So, they start interacting with servants; First, he ordered food, After that, he watched the servant’s behavior with other customers and then quieted the restaurant. These steps are repeated five times (as 5 days in-game), and at each round of the game(at the end of any section of each mode), the subject should answer our questions. Based on the answers, the servant’s behavior on the customer’s opinion in terms of the servant’s internal or external behavior can be concluded.

All of the steps mentioned above are repeated in the other two sections, and at the end of the game, we have six answers from each subject.

Variables: 3 independent variables include Consensus, Distinctiveness, and Consistency and the dependent variable is the kind of attribution which have three conditions: based on the internal stimulus or external stimulus or both of them. These variables have no permutation with each other.

Variables’ quantification: the three patterns mentioned above are measured qualitatively, but they can be measured quantitatively. So, for instance, The servants with high consistency must have 5 “good behavior” in interaction with six customers. For the other two reasons also we would quantify like this.

The control group: our control group is the other restaurant servants who have freedom in their behavior with customers.

Prediction for what expected to be found
We are expecting that the subject’s answers are agreeing with our theory. Especially, in the dictated restaurant we expect to get Stimulus Attribution answers rather than the other restaurant; what we expect is the subjects consider Consensus, Distinctiveness, and Consistency to realize that maybe the servant’s behavior is based on (for eg.) management force or in general, external factor.

Group 4. Mahya Sanati, Aref Mahjoob, Arezoo Saeedi, Amir Khodadadi, Morteza Mirjalili, Karo Kamangir,Maryam Taghikhani, Saeid Yavari


Null Hypothesis: Our intervention didn’t [?] make any difference in other’s attribute of attitude.

Alternative hypothesis: Our intervention made [?] a difference in other’s attribute of attitude.

Brief method:  We are going to give two essays to two groups of participants. One stating that Gholam Hassan is a vegetarian and the other one stating the opposite. After that we randomly choose a person and say that Gholam Hassan has lied since he’s in love with Mina, he wanted to get her attention and try to manipulate others’ choice.

1) Behavioral direction: By giving two essays

2) Choice:  Trying to manipulate choice by saying that Gholam Hassan has lied.

Sample size:Sample size required to estimate the community average:

n = (z * s / d)^2

The sample size required to estimate the population ratio:

n = ((z^2) *(1-p)*p)/(d^2)

Question 3

From laboratory experiments we know that people cooperate more when they know (or think) that their behaviour is being observed by others. How can we design a field study to test this hypothesis in the real world?

Group 5: Amirhossein Najibi, Iman Kiani, Zakie Hasanzadeh, Mehrnaz Moradi, Mohsen Bani,

Are people really more cooperative when they know they’re being watched? 

Based on the existing literature, we hypothesized that observation can improve cooperation in a team where participants have to complete a task in competition with other teams. 

To test our hypothesis, we will randomly choose a scientific event (e.g., CNCS2020) in which the participants are divided into multiple groups and are occasionally required to complete a task such as drawing a concept map. The event must be held in an online environment. Then, the students are grouped into 12 nine-participant clusters (6 control and 6 experiment groups). Then, they will be given a task to read 3 articles and draw a concept map based on these 3 articles. They should cooperate and share their ideas about the articles to come up with an acceptable concept map. Both control and experiment groups will go through a 3-day no-observation period as pre-test, followed by a 3-day period of manipulation (professor added to Telegram group) in the experiment group. After the concept maps are submitted, chat histories will be used to extract and use the following as independent variables:

1. The number of cooperative participants 

2. Total number of text or voice messages that are relevant to the task in each group.

These un-processed data will be initially used to calculate and quantify coordination (a set of tasks in which there’s a specific time order or their performance rely on each other) and collaboration (a set of tasks that happen independently in time) using digraph theory and matrix algebra. The mathematics for this method is explained in more details in this paper. These values will be then compared between the groups while being adjusted for average participants’ age and sex.

We expect to see a significantly enhanced cooperation in groups with observation.

Inclusion criteria

All subjects without any specific mental disorder are initially included.

Exclusion criteria

All groups whose co-operation is significantly different in comparison to the opposing group will be excluded from the final analysis.

Group 6. Tarannom Taghavi,Sadaf Rahmani,Sajedeh Aghababaei,Negar Moradi,Rojina Rashidi Ahmadi, Fatemeh Kakaei,Elham Ramezannezhad,Mohammad Faraji Esfankareh

A number of studies have shown that simple cues of being observed can change the behavior of people and enhance prosocial behavior in humans, but the question still remains: Why do these cues change our behavior? Is it because of the simple feeling of “being watched”? Or is it linked to other higher cognitive abilities like “being judged” or “being responsible”? To clarify this question, we categorized the cues into two main groups:

1.Direct Observation (Physical presence of the observer)

2.Indirect Observation (Absence of physical observer)

2.A Simple photo of “eyes”

2.B An announcement, stating “This place is equipped with CCTV”

We think that the simple photo of “watching eyes“ will change behavior as well as others, but since we merely have the simple act of “being watched”, the change of behavior in this case is going to be smaller than what we might observe in the other groups.

To see if there is any difference between the effects of these different observation cues on human behavior, we designed the following experiment:

In tennis courts, people who play with the ball machines are supposed to gather up the tennis balls from the court at the end of their practice. We want to see if this cooperative behavior changes when people feel like they are being watched.

We assume there are 5 different courts in one tennis club which people can use at the same time. 3 different clubs in the same region and with the same membership fee will be selected.

Sample Size estimate: 43

Sample Size estimate Formula : µ_x =µ and _x =σ / √n

Sampling  Method: Stratified Sampling

●               Baseline:

For the first 2 weeks of the study, we will separate each court from the others so that people playing in different courts aren’t able to see each other. The percentage of the balls gathered, will be recorded and used as the “level of cooperation” in this study. We must choose 43 people that have the same “baseline” level of cooperation.

●               Manipulation:

After that, we’ll introduce different manipulations to different courts for another 2 weeks:

A. For the 1st and 2nd court, we’ll remove the separating walls .Our Subject in 1st court will play alone with the ball machine. In the 2nd court there’ll be 2 people playing. The 2nd court is our “Observer”

B. In the 3rd court, we’ll keep the separating walls, but add a photo of a watching eye near the ball machine.

C. In the 4th court, we’ll keep the separating walls, but add an announcement near the ball machine, stating “This place is equipped with CCTV”. (without using any pictures)

●               Placebo :

For each manipulation introduced in our task, we will have a placebo as well :

A.     Separating walls will be removed, but the neighbor court will be empty.

B.     We will use a photo of a flower placed near the ball machine.

C.     We will have a piece of paper announcing “A camera had been found” placed near the ball machine.

●               Post-test :

All the Separating walls will be back and everyone will train normally as in the baseline situation. This will also go on for 2 weeks.

In each step of the experiment, baseline, manipulation, placebo and post-test, “cooperation level” will be measured using the percentage of the balls that have been returned. By comparing the “cooperation level” in these 4 steps for each person, we can see how effective a specific type of manipulation is. We guess, there will be an enhancement of cooperation in all 3 types of manipulation. But least of all will be group b, since the subject will not experience any other direct feeling of judgment or fear other than simply “being watched”


  • Ehsan Ahmadi

    In response to the first critique:
    We have three independent variables called distinctiveness, consensus, and consistency, which will take the values high and low. We are not going to define 6 independent variables called high consistency, low consistency, and so on.


  • Sadaf Rahmani

    @Bahador Bahrami, lt’s question 1, Group 2 😅


  • Bahador Bahrami

    @sadaf Rahmani: There is no group 1. Could you clarify whose proposal review is posted? Thank you


  • sadaf rahmani

    1. The time required to reach a consensus is not mentioned
    2. It is better to have a moderator in each group to report; in case of lack of consensus among the group or bias towards the opinion of a member of the group.
    3. in Group5, subjects may lose their attention since 100 images is too many and the impact of data is no longer measured.
    4. We suggest that Group 4 be divided into two groups;
    Group A: showing Outliers more than average mostly
    Group B: showing Outliers less than average mostly
    5.As it seems to be some outliers in collected data, comparing the average of predictions with the correct answer may be illusive.
    For a suggestion, we think variance of data should also be considered.

    Peer Review Of GROUP 2 Proposal


  • Amirhossein Najibi

    Group 4,
    Thank you very much for the time and effort you have spent on designing a method.
    First of all, I want to mention that writing too little is as much undesireable in scientific writing as writing too much. Therefor I want to point out that you need to clarify more and elaborate on your method in order to avoid any ambiguity. secondly, one big challange of this method of testing attitude attribution lies in how you want to write down the scenario in a way that you can confirm the pro/anti direction of the statements without the existence of other confounding variables( style of writing, emotional words, directing sentences). MOREOVER, one very disturbing point in your design is that it lacks novelty and creativity, It seems like you have simply just copied the example in Dr.Bahrami’s post that was supposed to be used for educational puproses and added a sample size estimation formula to it. It is very obvious that a big deal of what we are seeking here is for the participants to find their own spark of innovation and learn to think critically and creative. Finally, the mere statement that “GholamHassan was lying” is false because it disrupts the process of attribution. A correct alternative would be saying that he did not lie but rather did not make a decision based on free will and was driven towards this by an external force( Mina’s love).


  • Bahador Bahrami

    @Zahra Mafi: which group’s work is this comment about?


  • Ehsan Ahmadi

    Comment on the proposal of group 5
    1. Active participants are defined as independent variables while they depend on the presence or absence of a professor in the group. Also, a dependent variable is not defined.
    2. Incorrect placement of the pre-test: The pre-test phase is included in the main test because the first three days of the test are considered pre-test, while the original one-week period, for example, must be given a two-day period. Do the full test title and then move on to the main test.
    3. Members of a group may show a high level of activity and complete the project in the first 3 days. As a result, the test will not be performed.
    4. There is no suitable criterion for the activity of individuals in groups because the number of messages in the group depends on many other factors; Such as the shyness of people who cause fewer messages or the type of message people give (some send a message after each sentence and some convey their entire conversation in one message). There is also a problem with the number of group voice messages. We suggest that the number of words or the number of seconds of voice messages is selected as the criterion.
    5. Another crucial independent variable that is not considered seems to be “Time.” According to empirical observations, the closer we get to the deadline, the more motivated people and their activities will be.
    6. There seem to be other independent variables as well. The “successful group” will consist of members with dissimilar abilities; For example, a group should include a leader, an analyst, an idea maker, etc. so that there is no problem somewhere. If a group is without a person with high management power, the members’ activities will definitely not be purposeful and may not even take place at all, while a good leader can persuade the members to work without the presence of a professor.


  • Zahra Mafi

    comments on group 3 proposal
    1.Why are the three variables of Low Consensus, Low Distinctiveness, Low Consistency not considered?
    2.Pay more attention to punctuation.For example, it should be a dot instead of question mark at the end of the first Paragraph.


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