Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Facebook: Lab Rats for Social Scientists

According to this New York Times article, grant-suckers everywhere just love Facebook for all kinds of monkey-torture:

To study how personal tastes, habits and values affect the formation of social relationships (and how social relationships affect tastes, habits and values), a team of researchers from Harvard and the University of California, Los Angeles, are monitoring the Facebook profiles of an entire class of students at one college, which they declined to name because it could compromise the integrity of their research.

Right. It could compromise their precious research. Don't tell anyone it's Brigham Young University.

Scholars at Carnegie Mellon used the site to look at privacy issues. Researchers at the University of Colorado analyzed how Facebook instantly disseminated details about the Virginia Tech shootings in April.


After all, it is important to know how fast cartoons can be disseminated after a tragedy.

Eliot R. Smith, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, and a colleague received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study how people meet and learn more about potential romantic partners. “Facebook was attractive to us because it has both those kinds of information,” Professor Smith said.

Clearly, someone needs to take NSF's checkbook away, because this is just retarded.

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