Lab 2.


The topic of this lab is measuring the relationship between objectivity and creativity.

You can watch an overview video

An important part of experimental psychology is the area of psychological testing and measurement (also called psychometrics).  As one might imagine, there are many potential issues that can arise when measuring such things as attitudes, beliefs, and opinions.  Such measurements are inherently more complicated than measuring purely objective things such as weights of objects or their lengths.  As a result, the evolution of a psychological test is usually a long and involved process.

The present laboratory experiment is designed to investigate how two psychological tests are related to each other.  The first, The Inventory of Student Explanation Preferences, or ISEP (Hergenhahn, 1962), is designed to measure an objectivity-subjectivity dimension.  A high score supposedly indicates a tendency toward subjectivity and perhaps a mild rejection of the scientific method of acquiring knowledge.  A low score supposedly indicates the acceptance of more objective explanations of various phenomena and perhaps a more favorable attitude toward science.  The second test is an extremely crude measure of creativity in which a participant lists as many things as he or she can think of doing with a coat hanger.  The participant is given three minutes to make the list.  The number of items in the list constitutes the participant’s creativity score.

Phase 1 — Collecting Data

Participants:  You will need to obtain 4 participants (preferably other college students, but not necessarily psychology majors).


  • Download the materials packethere attached as a file
  • The materials packet contains a data summary sheet, a copy of The Inventory of Student Explanation Preferences(ISEP) along with four answer sheets (one for each of your participants) and a scoring key.  Also included are four sheets labeled “Coat Hanger Test” (again, one for each participant).


  1. Give two of your participants the ISEP first and the Coat Hanger Test second.  Reverse the order for the other two participants (this is called counterbalancing).
  2. Give the participant the ISEP answer sheet.  Ask him/her to complete the information at the top of the page.
  3. Read the instructions on the first page of the ISEP to your participant.  If he/she has no questions, give the participant the test page and allow him/her to begin.  Remind the participant that he/she must answer every question.
  4. Next, give the participant one of the sheets labeled “Coat Hanger Test” and read the following instructions:
    • “I want you to list as many different uses of a coat hanger as you can think of.  The hanger can be arranged any way you wish.  You will have three minutes to make your list.  Ready?  Begin.”
  5. Use a stopwatch (or a timer on your phone) to determine the three minute time limit.  Be sure to stop your participant at exactly three minutes.
  6. Be sure to thank your participants for volunteering to participate in your experiment.

Data preparation:

  1. Use the ISEP scoring key (in the materials packet) to score the ISEP.  Each item (1-20) will have a weighted number assigned to it.  The scoring key tells you how to assign these weights.  For example, if the participant chooses “a” on Item 1, he/she is given 4 points for Item 1.  If he/she chooses “c”, he/she gets 1 point for Item 1.  Do this for each item.  The participant’s total score is found by adding all of the weights for Items 1-20.
  2. The score on the “Coat Hanger Test” is merely the number of items contained in the participant’s list.  In scoring the test, be sure to look carefully for “chained” answers.  An answer would be chained if the participant said a coat hanger could be used to hang shirts, pants, coats, etc.  Chained answers should be counted as one response; that is, a coat hanger can be used to hang clothes.

Please scan and upload a copy of your completed summary sheet in the “Assignments” tab on Canvas.  You should only be submitting one page.  This portion of Lab 2 is worth 10 points.

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