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Preliminary results from the paper experiment

It’s been about a month since I took away the toddlers’ paper, and I’m ready to report some results. Of course, any patterns are very tentative given the small number of datapoints. We carried out an intervention in which pads of paper were no longer freely available to the toddlers. The toddlers received only whatever scrap paper was generated (mail, flyers coming home from school, etc.), except when the lead researcher judged that all available paper had been used to complete capacity. The toddlers were then issued three sheets of fresh paper. We recorded the following measures each day: requests for paper, squabbling over paper, willingness to color on paper that already has something on it, paper consumption, fucking paper all over my fucking house. Figure 1 shows the results for the first month of the intervention.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 12.45.21 PM

We found significant differences in coloring on pre-used paper, paper consumption, and fucking paper all over the fucking house. The change in paper consumption is of little theoretical interest, as it is a direct product of the intervention. This is also the case with the decrease in fucking paper all over the fucking house, but this change is of great maternal interest, thus may be worth further consideration. The most important pattern is the increase in toddler willingness to take a piece of paper out of the paper basket that already has ICKY CRAYON MARKS on it and use it anyway. While it’s not clear this change would be sustained in the absence of the paper restriction, if follow-up studies showed the change to be robust, the intervention could have important implications for toddler behavior in general.

It is also noteworthy that while less paper was available to the toddlers, squabbling over paper did not increase. We suggest that a ceiling effect is the most likely explanation for this pattern given that squabbling was already at fairly high levels.

Next steps: As we continue data collection, we are considering whether to add additional measures to the study. One dependent variable of interest is number of insinuations that lead researcher is crazy to be restricting toddler paper and a correlated variable, number of veiled expressions of annoyance with the whole damn thing from co-parent.

Thank you. Any questions?


13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ha!

    January 7, 2016
  2. LOVE this.

    I might need to hide the real paper (for the printer) and conduct a similar experiment.

    January 7, 2016
  3. The frugal ecologist #

    You are awesome!!

    I get a lot of “No yike dis one” in response to reused paper. Kids.

    I need to implement his in our house & then you will get another data point.

    January 7, 2016
  4. sangela71 #

    I love it.

    January 7, 2016
  5. The Reviewers express concern with IRB approval for this project. Did the researcher fully document the psychological effects of depriving toddlers of their natural processes of havoc- and annoyance- causing behavior? What may the long term effects be and how will these be mitigated in a humane manner? Also, as ‘artwork’ is a documented outcome, please note it must be stored in a secure location for ten years following the study, and its humane disposal by incinerator must be documented.

    January 8, 2016
  6. weaver #

    Mwahahaha, you’re delightfully weird.

    January 8, 2016
  7. If only all experiments could be so successful!

    January 8, 2016
  8. Brilliant.

    January 8, 2016
  9. Steph #

    OMG. I’m laughing my ass off at the last sentence. Hell, I don’t even like using paper with icky crayon marks on it myself. Love to you!

    January 8, 2016
  10. Ana #

    ha! you are awesome. I don’t have the emotional fortitude (aka parenting skillz) to implement said intervention, but if you want to expand to a multi-center trial, and are willing to train our site in the proper techniques so as to limit site-to-site variability, I’ll be willing to consider.

    January 11, 2016
  11. Andie #

    That is very interesting, and very funny too. Love it.

    January 15, 2016

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