ALESS Lab

Experiments Ideas (Background Papers)

The suggested questions below are examples of how each background paper can lead to further questions, experiments, and more knowledge. Please choose a background paper which is interesting to you. You don’t have to read the whole paper from beginning to end – read the abstract and examine the figures and tables.

Think about how you could extend this research by, for example, 1) trying to do a similar experiment (do you get comparable results?); 2) change the subject (eg type of plant/animal; area investigated); 3) change the dependent variable (measure a different outcome); 4) change an independent variable. Make sure your new research is logically connected to the background paper.

  Topic Area Possible research question Background Paper Link
Biology: Ecology/plants 生物学:生態学/植物 How do temperature and salinity affect germination?  Jamila et al. ‘Germination responses…’ (2009)Blaylock ‘Soil salinity, salt tolerance, and growth…’ (1994)
Psychology: Environment/colour 心理学:環境/色 How does colour affect people’s physical and mental states and abilities?What effects on mood etc might different room colour have? Kuller et al. ‘Color, Arousal, and Performance…’ (2008)Yildirim 2011 Colour of rooms 
Psychology: Environment/colour 心理学:環境/色 Does colour have meaningful associations (eg red = negative, green = positive)?  Moller et al. ‘Basic hue-meaning associations’ (2009)
Psychology: Visual perception 心理学:視覚認識 How accurately can people judge the centre of two-dimensional shapes? Is it the same for everyone? Baud-Bovy ‘The visual localization of the centre of triangles…’ (2004) 
Psychology: Visual illusions 心理学:視覚の幻想 How does a person’s posture or orientation affect the way they see a visual illusion?  Clement and Eckardt ‘Influence of the gravitational vertical…’ (2005)Lopez 2009 Gravity and perceptionYamamoto and Yamamoto 2006 Effects of the gravitational vertical
6  Food science: Preservatives食品科学:防腐剤 How effectively do different substances preserve food?  Ergun and Ergun ‘Maintaining quality…’ (2009)
7  Food science: Preservatives食品科学:防腐剤  Are there differences between human and machine-generated random sequences?  Griffiths ‘Probability, algorithmic complexity and subjective randomness.’ (n.d.)Wagenaar ‘Random Sequences…’ (1972)
 Physics: Refraction物理学:屈折  Do density and temperature affect the refractive index of a solution, mixture or substance?  Rioboo et al. ‘Concentration and temperature dependence…’ (2009)Lombardi et al. ‘Measuring variable refractive indices…’ (2010)
 Physics: Bubbles and foam物理学:気泡と泡立ち  What affects the generation and decay of bubbles? Fisher ‘Physics of beer foam’ (2004)Shafer and Zare ‘Through a beer glass darkly’ (1991) 
10   Detergents and textiles洗浄剤と織物  How do detergents perform in different conditions? Cameron ‘Laundering in cold water…’ (2007) 
11   Properties of textiles織物の特性  Do different textiles (eg natural and synthetic fibres) have different thermal characteristics?Do different combinations or ways of layering textiles affect their effectiveness as insulators? Frydrych et al ‘Comparative analysis of the thermal insulation properties of fabrics…’ (2002)Matsusiak ‘Thermal insulation properties of multilayer textiles’ (2006) 
12  Physics: buoyancy and density物理学:浮力と密度   Can bubbles sink ships? How do bubbles affect buoyancy?  Hueschen ‘ Can bubbles sink ships’ (2010)
13  Materials and packing原料と包装 How do cardboard boxes buckle and break?   Biancolini and Brutti ‘Numerical and experimental investigation of corrugated board packages’ (2003)Thakkar et al ‘Experimental and numerical investigation of creasing in corrugated paperboard’ (2008)
14  Physics: Coefficient of restitution物理学:復元の係数  How differently do various balls bounce?  Farkas and Ramsier ‘Measurement of COR made easy’ (2006)
15  Textiles and dyes織物と染料  How does temperature affect dyeing? How well do different materials dye?  Jun et al ‘Effects of pressure and temperature on dyeing…’ (2005)
16  Materials testing物質の検査  How does the tensile strength of various materials compare?  Carr ‘Tensile testing…’ (2006)
17  Physics: Granules物理学:粒子の動き  What affects the formation of patterns in vibrated granules? How does shape and size affect the way that granular materials segregate? How does vibration affect the behaviour of mixtures of different sized particles? Jaeger 2000 Does the granular matterRosato et al ‘Why the Brazil nuts are on top…’ (1987)Jaegar et al ‘Granular solids, liquids, and gasses’ (1996) 
18  Psychology: Perception of time心理学:時間の認知  Does perception of time change with age/gender/musical ability etc? Wittmann et al. ‘The relation between the experience of time and psychological distress in patients with hematological malignancies’ (2006)Carstensen 2006 Influence of a sense of time 
19  Biology: Plant growth & sound生物学:植物の成長と音の関係  Does sound influence the growth of plants?  Creath 2004 Measuring effects of music using a seed germination bioassay
20  Physics: Modeling impacts物理学:物体が落下する際の衝撃 What happens to the impact pattern of a metal ball when sand size or ball size is changed?   Lohse 2004 Impact on soft sand – void collapse and jet formation
21  Chemistry/Nutrition: Tooth enamel and soft drinks化学/栄養学:歯のエナメルとソフトドリンク Which soft drinks lead to most serious dental erosion?   Jain 2007 Commercial soft drinks – pH and in vitro dissolution of enamel
22  Psychology: Human behaviour and crowds心理学:人間行動と群集心理 Is behaviour contagious? How do animals and people react to certain behaviour in others? Does changing the number of people looking up at a building influence the number of passers-by who look up?  Milgram 1969 Crowd size 
23  Psychology: Choice blindness心理学:チョイス・ブラインドネス  How do people react when they choose something, but the thing they chose is changed? Do they even notice?  Johansson 2005 Failure to detect mismatches
24  Physics: Antibubbles 物理:アンチバブル  What are the optimum conditions for the formation and maintenance of antibubbles?  Kim and Vogel ‘Antibubbles- factors that affect their stability’ (2006)Weiss ‘The rise of antibubbles’ (2004)
25  Physics and food 物理:食品  What is the most effective way to dunk a biscuit for the longest time without it breaking? Fisher ‘Physics takes the biscuit’ (1999) 
26  Psychology of reasoning: Logic推論の心理学:論理  Does people’s ability to test the same logical proposition change with the content, for example changing numbers and colours to shapes or social rules?  Wason 1968 Reasoning about a rule
27  Physics: Supercooling 物理:過冷却  How does previous treatment of water affect its freezing or supercooling?  Nitsch ‘Thermal analysis study on water freezing and supercooling’ (2009)
28  Biology: Nutrition and behaviour 生物学:栄養摂取と行動の関係  How does eating or missing breakfast affect people’s abilities?  Cooper ‘Breakfast consumption and cognitive function in adolescent schoolchildren’ (2011)
29  Human biology & behaviour ヒューマンバイオロジーと人間の行動  How does stress affect ability to perform spatial tasks?  Richardson ‘Influence of acute stress on spatial tasks in humans’ (2011)
30  Human sensory perception 人間の知覚  How do different groups of people perceive and describe tactile, taste-related, and other sensations (such as ‘creaminess’)?  Antmann et al. ‘Exploring and explaining creaminess’ (2011)
31  Food science & environment 食物科学と環境  How does humidity affect the textural quality of biscuits?  Mandala et al ‘Textural effects of humidity on biscuits’ (2006)
32  Physics: Capillarity物理:毛管現象  What factors affect capillary flow in different materials?  Deegan et al ‘Capillary flow as the cause of ring stains from dried liquid drops’ (1997)
33  Environment & plant biology 環境と植物生理学  How does acid rain affect plant germination and growth? For mature plants, what are the effects on foliage?  Fan and Wang ‘Effects of simulated acid rain on germination, foliar damage…’ (2000)
34  Plant biology & flight植物生理学と種子分散  Some plants disperse airborne seeds. What forms do such seeds have, and what are the flight characteristics of such seeds?  Sipe and Linnerooth (1995)McCutchen ‘The spinning rotation of Ash and Tulip tree samaras’ (1977)
35  Biodiversity 生物多様性  How do the social and architectural characteristics of neighborhoods influence urban biodiversity?  Kinzig et al ‘The characteristics of human socioeconomic status and cultural diversoty on urban patterns of biodiversity’ (2005)
36  Biodiversity 生物多様性  What kind of plant and animal species are present within a particular area? What kind of factors are affecting them and their ecosystem?  Sugimura et al ‘Population trend, habitat change and conservation of the unique wildlife species on Amami Island, Japan’ (2005)
37  Psychology: Contagious behaviour心理学:伝染行  Is behaviour contagious? How do people react to certain behaviour (such as yawning) in others?  Anderson et al ‘Contagious yawning by chimpanzees’ (2004)
38 Vision and perceptionビジョンと知覚   How do conditions (such as brightness) affect ability to perceive colour? Kelber and Lind ‘Limits of colour vision in dim light’ (2010)Kelber et al 2002 Scotopic colour vision in nocturnal hawkmoths 
39  Human behaviour人間行動  Does exposure to light affect sleep quality, mood, or working ability?  Hubalek 2010 Light and sleepWang 2011 Sunlight and work place
40  Human perception & environment人間の知覚·環境  Do temperature and humidity affect human judgements of air quality? Fang et al (1998) Impact of temperature and humidity on perception of indoor air quality 
41  Human behaviour人間行動  How are activities like walking and noticing hazards and warnings affected by use of portable music devices/mobile phones?  Walker 2012 The effects of personal music devices on pedestrian behaviour
42  Human behaviour人間行動  Are some shapes/ratios more attractive than others?  Raghubir and Greenleaf 2006 Proportions of rectangles and preference
43  Vision and perceptionビジョンと知覚  Colour is often used to attract attention and convey messages (on labels, road signs etc); how does colour affect the perceptions of warning labels? What factors might affect the design, noticing, and perception of effective warnings?  Braun et al 1995 The influence of color on warning label perceptions

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