Study Shows That Yes, People Who Wear Watches Really Are Superior Humans, HoDinkee.com proclaims. The headline over Jack Foster’s article raises a few interesting questions. Why no scare quotes around the word “superior”? Does Mr. Foster “do” irony? And how bogus is this University of Glasgow, College of Science & Engineering study? It seems Mr. Foster forgot his grain of salt . . .
The study, which was meticulously constructed and executed, looked at whether or not wearing a wristwatch correlated with certain personality traits.
The total number of participants in the initial study was 112 individuals, ranging in age from 17 to 54, and upon being identified as regular wristwatch wearers, participants were asked to fill out something called the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI).
Meticulously constructed my ass. research-advisors.com:
Professional researchers typically set a sample size level of about 500 to optimally estimate a single population parameter (e.g., the proportion of likely voters who will vote for a particular candidate). This will construct a 95% confidence interval with a Margin of Error of about ±4.4% (for large populations).
Stats schmats. Here’s the money shot from the watch wearing study:
Participants arriving at the School of Psychology for an unrelated experiment had their exact time of arrival recorded by the experimenter. Time of arrival was recorded as time-lag in minutes between the experiment appointment time and time of each participant’s arrival. It was also noted whether they were a regular watch wearer.
People with a watch arrived, on average, 3 minutes earlier for a test. Out of a population of 90 participants. and excluding five who were more than 15 minutes early or late.
Wow! Watch wearers were three minutes more punctual – the researchers’ measure of “conscientiousness” – than non-watch wearers. That’s after the “scientists” removed results from five participants, who may have been vastly more punctual. Or late.
Setting aside the the validity of a 10-question self-test, in academic circles, a researcher would be laughed out of the room for drawing definitive conclusions from a survey of 85 people. Speaking of funny . . .
From the present data, it is not clear whether being conscientious inclines a person to wear a watch, or whether wearing a watch makes a person more conscientious.
UK readers: there’s your tax money hard at work! Back to that TIPI personality self-assessment, via Mr. Foster:
Briefly, the initial study found that, “participants who identified themselves as regular watch wearers rated themselves as significantly more conscientious when compared with controls. We also observed that watch wearers scored lower in extraversion, agreeableness and openness, but higher on emotional stability.”
It’s no surprise that Mr. Foster validates the study’s junk science, asserting that “the findings should bring a sense of satisfaction, and dare I say it, self-recognition to many if not all watch enthusiasts.”
I’ve yet to read a HoDinkee writer who didn’t come off as a disagreeable close-minded introvert, Mr. Foster included. Who is, presumably, emotionally stable enough not to have a hissy fit at that characterization.
As for the idea that watch wearers are “superior” human beings, I’ve met many gregarious and intellectually curious horophiles through this website. Not one of them would claim superiority over their fellow man. And none of them work for HoDinkee.