The experiment showed that when the parents became emotionless, the babies who were at risk showed less positive emotion compared to the infants who were not at risk. Comparing pooled results from as few as 10 non-experts to results from expert coders showed a high correlation between the two groups, demonstrating that small groups of student can effectively gain similar outcomes to the coders who have gone through extensive training.
"These non-experts won't necessarily be able to do more than just observe and record what they see, but if used judiciously, they can be an excellent resource for researchers. Understanding the perspectives of non-experts can also teach us more about the concepts we are studying," Messinger says.
The use of non-experts greatly simplifies the process of finding people who can assign ratings for tests such as these. The process usually involves training coders using manuals "hundreds of pages thick" about measuring facial expressions. Then those people have to be trained in reliability and have to be tested, before they are even allowed to see tapes according to Dr. Messinger.
When asked about the future of this kind of research method, Dr. Messinger stated "We hope people begin to appreciate the utility and the appeal of non-expert ratings, and we are excited about the full range of psychological constructs that these ratings could potentially inform."
|Contact: Marie Guma-Diaz|
University of Miami