The effect of the emotion of guilt on how a decision maker focuses on a problem was investigated in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making (January 2007). A total of 155 volunteer students participated in the experiment, where each was randomly assigned to one of three emotional states (guilt, anger, or neutral) through a reading/writing task. Immediately after the task, the students were presented with a decision problem (e.g., whether or not to spend money on repairing a very old car). The researchers found that a higher proportion of students in the guilty-state group chose not to repair the car than those in the neutral-state and anger-state groups.
a. Identify the population, sample, and variables measured for this study.
b. Identify the data collection method used.
c. What inference was made by the researcher?
d. In later chapters you will learn that the reliability of an inference is related to the size of the sample used. In addition to sample size, what factors might affect the reliability of the inference drawn in this study?