Nov 19, 2006

tacky tie science project

This experiment will attempt to demonstrate "aesthetic desensitization."

Survey materials, pens or pencils, a room with a projector screen, a mannequin attired in black pants and a white long-sleeve shirt, a digital camera, a computer with PowerPoint and Excel (or other comparable software), a digital projector, fifteen tacky ties.

Specifically, a tacky tie must meet the following criteria:
  1. No stains, tears, fraying, or other damage. The tie must be wearable.
  2. No "novelty" ties. The tie must have been designed with good aesthetic intentions.
  3. Preferably, the tie is polyester, but silk, cotton, and other fabrics are permitted.
Dads' closets are an excellent source, as is Goodwill and Value Village. The ties will not be damaged if the experiment is carried out according to the prescribed methods.

1. Working with at least two other people, arrange the fifteen tacky ties in order from least tacky to overwhelmingly tacky. There may be some disagreement along the spectrum, but the three must agree on groupings near the beginning and end points. The rough sequence is good enough for the purpose of the experiment.

2. Tie each tie and place it on the mannequin, photographing it with the digital camera. Record the order of the photos into an Excel spreadsheet. Incorporate the photos as slides in a PowerPoint presentation. Arrange them in a new order (1 = least tacky; 15 = overwhelmingly tacky):

10, 11, 12, 7, 5, 3, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15

3. Set up the PowerPoint in a quiet room with a projector screen, preferably using a digital projector with a remote, so the subject can advance the slides at her own speed.

4. Before letting the subject enter the room, instruct her to, on the paper provided, rate each tacky tie from 1-10 in tackiness. (The paper should be numbered from 1-15.)

5. Let the subject view the slides without interfering or observing, so the subject is not somehow unconsciously influenced.

6. Repeat steps 4-5 with at least thirty different subjects.

7. Collate the data into an Excel spreadsheet, and run the numbers.

By starting with quite tacky ties, and viewing an entire assortment, by the end of the slide show, the subject will rate the tackiest ties as less tacky than the first group, thus demonstrating desensitization. The results will be statistically significant.

"Tackiness" is a subjective term. However, with a large enough sample, patterns should emerge.

[127th in a series]

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