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A lab report on the fictional Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation study

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Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne

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[Write a summary of the work in a paragraph of no more than 250 words. This paragraph should be double-spaced, aligned left, with no first-line indent. Note that the title and abstract do not contribute to the final word count for the report.]

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Sixty participants took part in the study, 30 of whom were allocated to the hands condition (16 female, 14 male; aged 18-30 years; M = 24.03, SD = 3.33) and 30 of whom were allocated to the Shepard figures condition (15 female, 15 male, aged 18-29 years; M = 23.60, SD = 2.87). All participants were right-handed, had normal or corrected-to-normal vision, and had no history of psychological of neurological disorders.

Materials and Measures

A transcranial magnetic simulator (TMS) equipped with a figure eight coil was used. This was placed tangentially over the hand area of the left primary motor cortex with the handle pointing backward and rotated 45° away from the midline. Stimuli were presented on the 21” flat screen of a Dell PC using the Presentation Software Package. Stimuli were either Shepard figures (Shepard & Metzler, 1971) or hands (Bode et al., 2007) which were approximately constant in size (maximum of 10cm).

Procedure and Design

Participants were seated approximately 70 cm (+/- 4) from the computer screen. Their task was to mentally rotate the left object to see if it could be made to match the object on the right. A positive match could be made in half of the trials, whereas in the other half the object was mirrored. The degree of rotation necessary to come to either a “same” or “different” judgement ranged between 45° and 315° degrees. For each category there were three objects, each presented at four different viewing angles. All stimuli were shown twice, once for “same” and once for “different”, leading to 24 trials in total per block for each condition which were randomized.

Participants were instructed to mentally rotate each object in order to decide whether it was the same or different. They were asked to do this as quickly and accurately as possible indicating their decision using one of two buttons with their right hand. There were six experimental blocks which were preceded by a practice block. On odd blocks real TMS was applied (i.e., a TMS pulse was applied at random intervals). On even blocks sham TMS was applied (i.e., TMS coil is not discharged). An average mean RT for TMS blocks and Sham blocks, for both hands and Shepard Figures conditions was obtained and compared using a one-tailed paired samples t-test.




Optional Self-Assessment Form

Read through the assessment criteria and assess your own performance. Select the option you believe best represents how well you satisfied the criteria. Your tutor will not base your mark on this self-assessment in any way. This task is intended to help you better gauge your own progress and to identify your own personal strengths and weaknesses. (Note that this form counts as supplemental material and therefore should not be counted in the final word count).

Overall Impression    
In your judgment, what is the overall quality of the current work?  
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A. Title and Abstract   Weight
Title Content Clearly and concisely outlines the main topic of the research, including the relationship between key variables. 1%
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Abstract (Background) Describes the problem under investigation (i.e., the research topic). 1%
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Abstract (Method) Describes relevant sample characteristics (e.g., number of participants, age, gender composition) and essential features of the study method (e.g., study design, outcome measures, data-gathering and analysis procedures). 1%
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B. Introduction   Weight
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Literature Review (Relevance and Understanding) Provides a succinct and focused review of literature relevant to the problem.Summarizes key background information accurately and in appropriate detail. 10%
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Literature Review (Rationale) Develops a cogent rationale by critically evaluating the literature and explaining how the current study builds on prior research. 10%
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Aims and Hypotheses Outlines the purpose and scope of the study and generates specific hypotheses for testing. 5%
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C. Method   Weight
Participants Describes the participants involved in the research. In most cases, this includes: Number of participants in total and in relevant subgroups.Descriptive statistics for years of age.Gender composition of the sample.Other major demographic characteristics as warranted by the studyEligibility and exclusion criteria.

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Materials and Measures Describes all outcome measures, and the materials used to derive them, with sufficient detail to facilitate reproducibility.

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Procedure and Design Describes the procedures that were carried out in the study, including a detailed outline of how participants were allocated to groups or conditions and the specific steps involved in collecting and analysing data.

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D. Results   Weight
Statistical Information Presents all relevant statistical information accurately and completely. 5%
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Presentation Describes the results of each analysis appropriately and presents statistical and mathematical information in correct APA Style format.Presents results in an organized manner, following the structure set by the study’s design and the order of the aims and hypotheses.Avoids making interpretive comments that are better suited for the Discussion (e.g., interpreting what the result means for the hypotheses stated in the Introduction). 10%
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Tables and Figures Presents at least one table or figure which is referred to and described appropriately in text.Tables/figures conform to the requirements of APA Style.Each table/figure serves a purpose and does not merely duplicate information contained in the text or in another table or figure. 5%
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E. Discussion   Weight
Hypotheses Opens with a clear statement summarizing the aims and hypotheses and indicating whether the hypotheses were supported or not. 5%
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Interpretation Considers how the study’s findings are similar to or different from relevant prior work.Considers what the results mean for the problem under investigation, particularly with regard to the specific issues raised in the Introduction.Reflects on how the study advances scholarship in the field without overstating the importance of the study and its findings.

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Future Directions Suggests future directions informed by problems that remain unresolved, new questions that have arisen as a consequence of the study’s findings, or limitations in the design of the study that may need to be addressed in future work. 10%
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Conclusions Concludes by briefly returning to a discussion of why the problem is important and how the findings relate to the overarching issues motivating the research. 5%
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F. Writing/Presentation   Weight
Written Expression Demonstrates clarity and conciseness in written expression.Demonstrates continuity and flow within and across all sections of the report.Exhibits a professional tone suitable for academic writing.Word choice is appropriate and sentences are well-constructed, with no errors in spelling, grammar, or usage.Contains an appropriate amount of original material. 5%
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Report Formatting Adheres to APA Style formatting requirements (e.g., with regard to pagination, capitalization, punctuation, headings, line spacing, paragraph alignment and indentation). 2%
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Referencing Works are cited appropriately in-text and in the reference list, following the requirements of APA Style. 3%
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