In 2019, it was widely reported in the UK media that Coleen Rooney suspected someone was leaking personal details to the press from a private social media account that was only visible to a close circle of friends. Coleen suspected that it may have been her close friend Rebekah Vardy, so Coleen conducted an experiment to test her hypothesis. She proceeded to make all of her social media posts invisible to everyone except Rebekah, and then posted a series of fake posts on the account. Coleen then waited to see if any of the private posts made their way into the media. According to Coleen, her hypothesis was supported and the fake stories did end up in the media. Thus, she concluded that her friend was leaking her private details to the media.

This social psychological experiment is an example of the way we use hypothesis testing in everyday life to make conclusions about social psychological phenomenon. For example, if someone feels like they are doing more than their fair share of the housework, they might deliberately let clothes pile up in the bathroom to determine the point at which their partner will decide to contribute to house chores.

To complete your Discussion task,consider the following two questions and post your response:

  • Do you think Coleen Rooney’s social psychology experiment was ethical given it was conducted outside the context of institutional research?
  • Should we apply the same ethical standards to research conducted by institutions and research we conduct in our everyday lives

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