Tags: methodology/statistics, science/technology, depression, research methods, validity, 00 to 05 mins
Access: The Colbert Report
Summary: In this clip, Stephen Colbert critiques a research study that claims late night television causes depression. Methodologically, Colbert first points out rather than having humans watch late night television and then assessing levels of depression, the scientists exposed hamsters to dim lighting at night and then examined the rodents' brains and behaviors. Thus, despite headlines promoting the link between television and depression, all the scientists actually discovered is that low light affects hamsters. After revealing this methodological weakness, Colbert puts human viewers at ease by letting us know that people are immune to his underhanded plot to drive hamsters to suicide. Thus inadvertently, Colbert reveals the importance of validity to scientific methodology. We must always be careful what findings we extrapolate from studies by asking ourselves, does this study actually measure what it is supposed to measure?
Submitted By: Jason T. Eastman
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