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Circadian rhythms

Circadian Rhythms are the times of day that you get either hungry, tired, or energetic. This paper is to describe an experiment that I have thought up that will test to see if circadian rhythms differ from people who perceive themselves as night-time people and people who perceive themselves as morning people.

What is your hypothesis?

My hypothesis is that night-time people's circadian rhythms are extremely different than morning people's circadian rhythms.

What population are you going to study? How will you sample this population?

Participants for my experiment will be ninety-nine undergraduate female students from Iowa State University. Prior to the experiment all participants will have to fill out a questionnaire. This questionnaire will primarily determine if they feel themselves as being either morning or night types of people. Subjects for my experiment will be randomly chosen from these questionnaires. I will select three night-time people and three morning-time people.

I will then give each of them a journal. In this journal each subject will write in it the time that they become hungry, or the time that they became tired. They will do this for three days. At the end of the three days they will come back to my laboratory. They will then be put in an isolation booths. In one of the booths there will be a clock that doesn't have the right time on it. In another one there will be a window so that they can see where the sun is. In the third one there will be no windows and no clocks. All they would have is a light bulb in the ceiling. All the booths will have a bed and a bright red button on the far wall. The button will be for ringing. They will ring when they are tired, hungry, or need to use the facilities. My assistants and I will record when they become hungry and when they become tired. They will be in this room for three days. At the end of the three days my assistants and I will make sure that they are all right and can return to the world unharmed.

What is your independent variable(s)? What is your dependent variable? How will you measure the dependent variable?

My independent variable will be one of the three that I give a clock and another one that I give a view of where the sun is. The dependent variable will be the one that will be completely isolated. Without sunlight they will not know what time it is and therefore not know when to become tired or hungry. They will be relying on their circadian rhythms alone. I will measure them all by time. What time they eat, what time they become sleepy, etc.

How will you assign your subject to the experimental and control groups?

The first three days they will all be the control groups. They will live their lives just as they would normally do it. The next three days they will all become the experimental group because they will all be missing something that they normally have in every day to day life.

What extraneous variables will you need to consider?

One extraneous variable would be that the person that has a window will be able to see people outside and will be able to tell what time it is. For example when people are getting up and starting to go to class they will be able to tell approximately what time it is. Or if people are coming home from work they will know an approximate time then also.

What ethical issues will you need to consider?

A very big ethical issue would be that you can't lock someone up in a booth for three days. It is unethical to lock someone up against their will and so I would have to let them leave early if they wish to. If all of them wanted to leave then my experiment would be uncompleted. I would have to start over from the beginning.

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