Experimental Game summary

For our game we decided to test people’s matchmaking abilities under pressure against a component. It is known that for many types of task or actions people perform faster and better under pressure than they do without. In order to test this hypothesis we devised a game consisting of cards with different symbols on them and numbers. They were divided in to two decks. One deck contained 16 cards 4 pairs of 4 symbols. The second contained 16 cards 4 symbols but two numbers each. So for example there are four square cards, but they have a set where 2 have a one on it and the other have a #2 on them.

What this effectively did is make the possibility of finding a match under the cards twice as unlikely for the second deck as the first. This deck is the deck given to the main test subject. In order to establish a control we had them perform 3 rounds of matchings timed. From here we got their times, their average match rate per second and then total average match rate per second.

After this we brought in a second player. They were to compete across a long table to see who is faster. Over the distance of the table the numbers on the second deck are not visible, both players believe themselves to have the same deck and equal playing field. Of course this is not the case. We begin timing, the player with the first deck always would finish fist due to the difficulty level. At the point their time is noted and the remaining cards on the second subject (our main subject) is also marked. Upon finishing we could then work out the split in times and record the average match rate per card prior to loosing and after loosing.

The results were mixed and simply based on how much enthusiasm a subject displayed greatly influenced the result and how competitive they were before and after. While all the data was recorded and all averages calculated I believe it not worth it to compile against standard deviations and such. This is because of a flaw in the experiment in regards to the difficulty decreasing relative to how many cards are left. Regardless of whether the player does or does not feel the pressure their match rate per second will always increase relative to the ending of the game because they have less cards and therefore less opportunities to make a wrong match. Unless we had many test subjects and could work out a mathematical model to compensate for the increase match rate per second to apply against the averages the results mean little.

This proves to be a good lesson in variable control and maintaining all points of control around an experiment. It is so easy to ignore things and get results that actually have no real basis in reality and to your mind and to what you see in the data are absolutely true!