Experimenting on Children

10 03 2012

Considering the fact that this blog’s tagline is “things that begin with the letter P” it’s an unfortunate omission that I have not yet touched on the subject of, well, urination.

When one of our kids (name withheld to protect the guilty) was in his bed-wetting phase, I would take him to the toilet before I went to sleep. The first discovery I made was that if I carry him to the toilet he would be insufficiently awake in order to pee so I had to stand him up and walk him there. This lead me to wonder how awake he actually was, I wanted to ask him in the morning but was afraid that if I asked him outright it would be a leading question that would implant the memory in his mind. So how can I know if he really remembered what happened during the night?

The next night I told him “I’m going to tell you the name of an animal, remember it for tomorrow, the animal is Elephant.”  My expectation was that he would say he remembers being woken up during the night but not remember anything I actually said.

The next morning I asked and was surprised to hear that, no, he didn’t remember waking during the night. Disappointed with the anticlimactic end of the experiment and not wanting to sink the experiment I asked him if he remembers me telling me a name of an animal. A surprised grin spread on his face and he said Elephant!

This was the exact opposite of the result I was expecting, I guess this proves you must always run experiments to their conclusion, even (especially) if the outcome doesn’t match your expectations.

Now this experiment can’t be said to be statistically significant since it was run on a sample of one. Your mission internet, should you choose to accept it, is to reproduce this experiment and let me know how it turns out.

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