Calling People Numbers Is Just Mean

| Learning | January 26, 2015

(I’m a TA, answering students’ queries about lab report writing in psychology.)

Student: “Okay, I’ve got the mean age 22.5. What else do I need to describe about the participants?”

Me: “What other information do you have from your questionnaires?”

Student: “Um, gender and ethnicity. Oh, I can report those… So they had a mean gender of 1.6 and a mean ethnicity of 1.3.”

Me: “What?!”

Student: “A mean ethnicity of 1.3.”

Me: “Are you sure about that?”

Student: “Yeah, look, the mean is 1.3.”

Me: “So, if you’d never met me and I wrote you a letter saying that my ethnicity was 1.3, you wouldn’t find that a bit weird?”

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