Research thus far has been more than I expected.

As soon as I began, I was taught how to use Excel. For as long as I have used Microsoft, I never used Excel. My first assignment on Excel was to clean reaction time data, a very tedious task . It took me about two weeks to fully be comfortable using the program. I had so many questions that I was asking my professor or the graduate students working in the lab all the time. I made enough mistakes to have to start over a few times. That was an alarming situation for me because I had heard how far a simple mistake can set studies back. Being unnerved by that, I was moving at a very slow pace on that assignment.

I also spent my first two weeks running participants, mainly black and white.  Their task is to complete a priming study, followed by a questionnaire. The priming study consists of  stereotypic  words (primes) followed by faces of ambiguous races.  At the end, I debrief the participants on what the study was about.

One day, as I was debriefing a white female participant, she asked me why certain primes were chosen. I told her those words were the stereotypes associated with either Black or White people in general. She seemed surprised by some of the primes she had seen.  This led us into a personal discussion where I told her how some of those stereotypes have affected and played a role in my life. I believe our discussion was an eye-opener for us both; she saw how stereotypes do affect people and I saw how not everyone is aware of the effect of  these beliefs.


  1. lkfunkhouser says:

    Hello Leslie,

    Your study sounds very interesting and I definitely look forward to reading your results. As a fellow scientist however, I am wondering which program you think is best in data analysis and representation, SPSS or Excel? Now that you seem to have experience in both I was hoping you could give an opinion. I haven’t used SPSS more than a few times but I’m wondering if it would be worth my time to learn the program for later on in my project. Thanks,


  2. Lelise Aklilu says:

    Hey Lyndsey,
    I actually prefer SPSS because that is what I worked with in the lab last semester. However, for the task I just completed, Excel was the better choice…especially since it afforded me the opportunity to work on my own laptop, which was more convenient. But in the end, we have to transfer the Excel data onto SPSS. So I suggest that you learn the SPSS program anyway. Are you also in the psychology department?


    Lelise A.

  3. I definitely understand what you mean about feeling like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew and slowing things down. I’m constantly worrying that I’m coding my data incorrectly, and have my own trouble with Excel as well. It’s good that you can have heart-felt discussions though! Hope the data comes out good in the end.