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back to article iPhones 'excellent for doing experiments on their owners'

Fears among Reg readers that iPhones will be used to conduct psychological experiments on Apple worshipping owners will surely intensify this morning thanks to a pronouncement by brain boffins. Fortunately we're not talking about Cupertino agents sending subliminal messages to punters - we mean actual scientists conducting …

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Random samples?

Giving a random group of people iPhones and asking them them to conduct a survey using said iPhone could well yield different results to asking a group of iPhone *owners* to conduct the same survey.

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@Eponymous Cowherd I have to agree here

When one is conducting this type of survey where the researchers wish to be able to draw *general* conclusions about Homo Sap it is by definition essential to ensure that the population you are measuring is not heavily skewed in one direction or the other. If I were to guess I would say that the population of iPhone owners is at the very least skewed towards higher income groups and very likely culturally skewed in other ways and this is almost certainly the case with owners of high-end smartphones in general. Another example of a fine candidate for the Ignoble Prize.

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Demographics

@Arctic Fox:

Oddly, Android would make a better platform for this as the rage of handsets, from budget models like the Orange San Francisco, to premium models like the Samsung Galaxy S2, give access to a much wider demographic.

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Happy

@Eponymous Cowherd RE "Demographics"

Likely right if we are talking about the Android os as a whole. Certainly if you were to include the San Francisco and the like (though you would probably have to go outside Android and include RIM's Blackberries to cover the ram-raiding graphic!) one could argue that the "working classes" had been included. Indeed one could if one was feeling mischievous have a lot of fun with the social/class demographics here. How about "The worker's flag is deepest orange" or, even better, the hymn of the upwardly mobile fanboi, "The working class can kiss my arse, I've got my iPhone5 at last"!

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Black Helicopters

Apples Cut?

How long before Apple asks for the cut of 30% of the data. I imagine having psych profiles of your customer base would be very tempting for them.

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Nowt so queer as folk

> there are well over 100million iPhones in the world so there must be some variety in the group.

No, not really. What you have is a group who have all reacted in exactly the same way to exactly the same stimulus, i.e. they bought the product after seeing the advertisement. Even if you could conduct an experiment on all the smartphone users in all the world ("she walks into mine") you'd still only be analysing the responses of a self-selecting group.

It's not much different from all the "research" that was done on subjects during the 50s and 60s. Most of that research was applied to people who had answered "experimental subjects wanted, pays $10" advertisements posted on college notice boards. That resulted in whole fields of trick-cyclery that tried to generalise ordinary peoples' behaviour from observing 19 year-old middle-class american students.

You'd think they'd have learned from that, but apparently not ...

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Haven't learned, you say? Why sure they have!

They've learned as much as anyone could hope to ask for about the concealment, revision, and disposal of inconvenient data, and a great deal also about which methods are all but guaranteed to produce data supporting whatever assertion they were going to make anyway.

Oh but that wasn't what you meant, was it? My goodness. I'll just retrieve my outerwear from the cloakroom, shall I?

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Trollface

Uh-huh

And what do they intend to use when they need to test the upper end of the intelligence spectrum?

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Not properly equipped

If they had any wit, they'd have found something worthwhile to do with their professional lives, eh? Or at least found a more reliable sinecure, one that doesn't involve scrambling for grants all the time.

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Re : Jedit

"And what do they intend to use when they need to test the upper end of the intelligence spectrum?"

The ability to leave the bluudy thing alone for ten minutes.

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Countries are not identical though

So you'd have a variety of responses given in varying pubs, coffee shops, restaurants, tea house, hence the featureless white room. In the uk I postulate that the accelerometer would be needed to discount real ale induced sway affected results.

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Mushroom

A self selected gullible < 0.1% sample of world Population is representative?

I don't think so.

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'Mobe' was supposed to have been "struck from the lexicon"

But the damn word keeps cropping up again. Please cancel my subscription etc. etc.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/09/mobe_poll_result/

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Pirate

Apparently, you missed the revolution

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/01/mobe_liberated/

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Boffin

Can somebody please explain...

Trick-cyclists.

I know they are psychiatrist but, having searched the net many times for etymology, always get the same circular references to "rhyming slang" of some form, some claim English, others Australian.

But I for one can't think of any construction to get there. So does anyone know?

Please?

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Anonymous Coward

I'm about as not-Cockney as they come...

I'm about as not-Cockney as they come, but I'd guess the construction is:

Pych-iatrist

Bike-iatrist

Trick-Cyclist (playing on both the rhyme between Psych and Bike, then a spoonerism to swap the I and A sounds).

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Gimp

Probing what?

"Trick-cyclists plan mass fanboi brain probes"

Fanboi?

Brain?

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Joke

Why don't they...

Just ask Apple for the data?

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Facepalm

"scientists at Royal Holloway University suggest that data gathered by iPhone is scientifically valid"

It sure is valid if they're researching the set of people who are "iPhone users who respond to surveys".

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Joke

Results are in.

1) People really like the flavour of grass.

2) Wool coats are "in".

3) When confronted by a dog, people huddle together and move away from it en masse.

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Ba-a-a-a-a-ah

humbug.

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Facepalm

Lemmings ALWAYS cooperate...er...follow.

Shouldn't be any surprise.

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Why single out iPhones in the report? Surely you could replace 'iPhone' with 'smart phone' and get a much broader base group for your study. If you pick just one type of phone you're going to get the an sample that reflects the type of person attracted to that type of phone. For example with iPhones you get a huge number of people who follow trends compared to what is represented in society.

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Re: they bought the product after seeing the advertisement

I beg to differ : they bought the product because it was Apple / trendy / their mates did

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