How many minutes per day do you spend texting your friends? Do you think that your time spent texting might interrupt your daily activities, such as studying?
This very short summary in Scientific American Mind captures several quick results, and includes a moderator. Here are some of the results summarized in the piece:
Boys and girls send about the same number of texts every day, but girls are more likely to become compulsive texters.
Teenage girls who compulsively text see a steeper decline in their grades than their compulsive male counterparts.
a) How do you think the researchers decided who was a "compulsive texter"? If you were conducting this research, how would you conceptually define this variable? How would you operationally define this variable?
b) Sketch two simple graphs, one of each result: "boys and girls send about the same number of texts every day, but girls are more likely to become compulsive texters."
c) Now, sketch a small moderator table, similar to Table 8.6, that depicts: "Teenage girls who compulsively text see a steeper decline in their grades than their compulsive male counterparts." What is the bivariate relationship they are focusing on? What is the moderator variable?
d) Write a sentence of this form: ____ moderates the relationship between ______ and ______.
e) Why do you think gender moderates the relationship between texting and grades? Note--you might be tempted to say that gender is a moderator because girls text more or because girls get worse grades. But a moderator is not about the absolute level of texting (or the absolute level of grades); a moderator changes the relationship between the two. You should be thinking about what makes girls' grades more vulnerable to texting interruptions. What are your theories? (Click on the story to find out the researchers' theory)
Now, here's another moderator, this time with the researchers' explanation::
Compulsive texting also appears to affect girls' mental health more than boys,' perhaps because girls are more prone to text about negative feelings and to ruminate on those feelings.
f) Sketch another small moderator table, similar to Table 8.6, that depicts this relationship. Write a sentence of this form: ____ moderates the relationship between ______ and ______.
g) Does the researchers' explanation for the moderator make sense to you? Why or why not?