人群的咆哮:众包正在改变社会心理学
作者: 朱田牧 译 / 5139次阅读 时间: 2012年5月28日
来源: 经济学人 标签: 心理学家 众包
www.psychspace.com心理学空间网

【导读】日前出现一种新的生产组织形式——众包心理学家将其应用到实验心理学中,并取得一定成果。众包比直接施测与本科生更加经济且更具多样性,相关研究人员运用众包方式重复了电车实验和公共物品游戏两项经典实验,研究范围更加全球化,得到了新结论。虽然因报酬问题受到争议,但其前景已受到不同领域科学家们的广泛关注。
【译文】
Experimental psychology
实验心理学

The roar of the crowd
人群的咆哮

Crowdsourcing is transforming the science of psychology
众包正在改变社会心理学

May 26th 2012

ACCORDING to Joseph Henrich and his colleagues at the Universityof British Columbia, most undergraduates are WEIRD. Those who teach them might well agree. But Dr Henrich did not intend the term as an insult when he popularised it in a paper published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences in 2010. Instead, he was proposing an acronym: Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic.
据英属哥伦比亚大学的约瑟夫·亨利奇及其同事称,大多数本科生是“古怪的”。他们的老师会认同这一说法,但当2010年,亨利奇博士将“古怪”一词用于发表在《行为与大脑科学》上的论文中时,并无冒犯之意。而且他提出了一个新的缩写WEIRD,表示:西方、教育、工业化、发达、民主。

One reason these things matter is that undergraduates are also psychology’s laboratory rats. Incentivised by rewards, in the form of money or course credits, they will do the human equivalents of running mazes and pressing the levers in Skinner boxes until the cows come home.
其中一个重要原因是本科生成为了心理学家们的实验鼠。通过金钱或学分的奖励作为激励,他们将不停歇地上演人类版的小鼠走迷津和斯金纳箱中的小鼠按杠杆实验。

Which is both a blessing and a problem. It is a blessing because it provides psychologists with an endless supply of willing subjects. And it is a problem because those subjects are WEIRD, and thus not representative of humanity as a whole. Indeed, as Dr Henrich found from his analysis of leading psychology journals, a random American undergraduate is about 4,000 times more likely than an average human being to be the subject of such a study. Drawing general conclusions about the behaviour of Homo sapiens from the results of these studies is risky.
福兮祸兮,福为心理学家们会拥有无尽的实验对象资源;祸在被试因其属性WERID所以不具代表性。其实亨利奇博士从对核心心理学期刊的分析中发现,与此类的常规人类研究相比,随机美国本科生数量已多出约4000倍。从这些研究中得出关于人类行为的一般结论尚存风险。

This state of affairs, though, may be coming to an end. The main reasons undergraduates have been favoured in the past are that they are cheap, and easy for academics to recruit. But a new source of supply is now emerging: crowdsourcing.
但事件终会果。本科生广受欢迎的主要原因在于他们廉价且人数多。不过目前出现一项新的资源供应形式:众包。

Hivemind软件

Crowdsourcing is a way to get jobs like deciphering images, ranking websites and answering surveys done for money by online workers. Several firms offer the service, including oDesk, CrowdFlower and Elance. But by far the most popular for scientific purposes is Mechanical Turk, which is run by Amazon and is named after an 18th-century chess-playing machine in which a human secretly moved the pieces.
众包是在线工作者通过有偿做图像解码、网站排序及回答问卷的工作方式。oDesk, CrowdFlower和Elance公司提供此项服务。但到目前为止,亚马逊的土耳其机器人是最广受欢迎的为科学目的服务应用程序,这一名称源自18世纪步步精准的象棋机器人。

Mechanical Turk has more than 500,000 people, known as Turkers, in its workforce. For the hard-pressed, cash-strapped psychologist, this is a godsend. Turkers, despite the fact that half of them have at least one degree, are willing to work for peanuts. (Their median wage is about $1.40 an hour.) Most, indeed, seem to regard the tasks they are set as more like a paying hobby than an actual job. And, crucially, they are growing more cosmopolitan with each passing year. Though 40% are still fromAmerica, a third are Indian and the rest come from about 100 other countries. That diversity means the “W” of WEIRD, at least, can be dropped, and the “I”, “R” and “D” may often be dispensed with as well. Of course, another bias—that of signing up for crowdsourcing—is introduced. But using Turkers instead of undergrads does offer some genuine diversity.
土耳其机器人有五十多万人,称为“特客”。对于压力山大又资金紧缺的心理学家而言,真是福音。暂不考虑半数以上至少获得一个学位,他们愿意接受平均每小时1.40美元的微薄收入。实际上他们中多数人并没有与认为这是份工作,而是爱好。而且关键在于,过去的每年中人数增长都更加世界化。虽然40%的人来自美国,但也有1/3来自印度,其余人来自世界其他100多个国家。这一多样性意味着至少WEIRD中的“W”可以删去了,似乎也可以一同删去“I”“R”和“D”。无疑,众包签约的其他趋势也日益浮现。雇佣特客而非大学生带来了名副其实的多样化。

One researcher who has taken advantage of that diversity is David Rand, a lecturer in psychology atHarvardUniversity. He is using Mechanical Turk to reconsider the results of several experiments originally conducted mainly on students. In a recent study of moral decision-making, for example, he recruited hundreds of Turkers to repeat a classic thought experiment known as the trolley problem. This confronts its participants with a dilemma—a runaway railway trolley will kill a group of people unless the subject of the study chooses to push a single individual in front of it, in order to slow it down. Doing so will kill that individual, so the dilemma is whether to kill one person deliberately, or several through inaction.
哈佛大学的心理学讲师大卫·兰德是一位受益于多样性的研究人员。他使用土耳其机器人重新考虑一些施于大学生的原创实验的结果。在最近一项道德决策实验中,他招募到上百名特客来重复一项经典实验——电车难题。实验中被试会面临一个困境:除非研究中主试指定一名被试挡在车前,让停车下,否则这辆正在行驶的有轨电车将会撞向一群人且无一幸免。

Dr Rand is unwilling to discuss the results of his re-run in detail, because they have not yet been formally published. But he will say that he found he could replicate the prior findings of trolleyology, as this branch of psychology is often known, only among the atheists in his sample of Turkers. Those with strong religious beliefs behaved in a dramatically different way, and such believers are more common among Turkers than Harvard undergraduates.
由于兰德博士重复此项实验的结果尚未发表,所以他不愿透露细节。虽然样本只有无神论的特客,但正如心理学这一分支的研究者所熟知的,博士的实验结果会和先前电车难题实验结果相同。有强烈宗教信仰的人的行为会很不一样,与哈佛本科生相比,特客中有更多这样的人。

This result suggests that other studies whose findings might be sensitive to religious belief need revisiting. Nor is religion the only area where this is true. Dr Rand is, for example, conducting another cross-cultural experiment, to see why Americans and western Europeans treat co-operation and punishment differently from people in other places. In this he is building on previous work, rather than breaking genuinely new ground. But he is also showing how crowdsourcing can permit psychologists to do easily and cheaply what was once complicated and expensive.
实验结果表示,对于宗教信仰过于敏感的研究结果也许需要重新审视。宗教并不是使结论正确的唯一条件。比如兰德博士做的另一项跨文化实验——美国及欧洲国家对待合作和惩罚与其他国家的差异研究。此项研究建立在博士先前研究基础之上,取得了突破性结果。同时他展现了众包如何让心理学家更方便经济地进行曾经昂贵复杂的实验。

Many hands make light work分工合作

Most researchers used to think the punishment of freeloaders was a universal human instinct that had evolved to promote co-operation. Studies in the West supported this belief. They showed that people band together to reward co-operative behaviour and to punish those who refuse to contribute to the common good. These experiments, which employed what are known as public-goods games to test individual choices, gave players money they could either contribute to the group, raising the value of everyone’s stake, or hold for themselves, ultimately harming everyone if others refuse to co-operate. But they were lacking in two ways. One was their WEIRD participants. The other was more subtle. It did not occur to the experimenters to allow participants to punish co-operators as well as freeloaders, even though those who had been freeloading might wish to do so in revenge for having been punished themselves, in previous rounds of the game.
很多研究者认为惩罚不劳而获者是人类的一种本能,涉及到促进合作。西方研究支持这一说法。他们得出人们因为合作行为聚在一起,同时惩罚那些不为共同利益做贡献的人的结论。这些实验采用大家熟知的公共物品游戏来测验个体的决策,游戏中玩家有一定数额的资金,他们既可以通过提高全体玩家物品的价值来做贡献,又可以始终为自己所有来拒绝合作,从而最终伤害全体。但他们有两个不足之处。一是WERID被试,二是过于敏感。虽然前几轮游戏中有些曾经不劳而获者因受过惩罚想实施报复,但游戏中实验者不允许被试惩罚合作者和不劳而获者。

But that did occur to Benedikt Herrmann of Nottingham university, inBritain. A few years ago Dr Herrmann ran a series of experiments designed to see how public-goods games would play out in 16 countries, not all of them rich and Western. This time, he allowed freeloaders to punish co-operators, a behaviour known as antisocial punishment. His results were striking. Most of the world, the experiments suggested, bears little resemblance to Harvard or, indeed, anywhere else in the West, where antisocial punishment is virtually absent. In places likeSouth Korea,Greece,RussiaandSaudi Arabia, antisocial punishment proved to be almost as common as collaboration.
但这确实发生在了英国诺丁汉大学的贝内迪克特·赫尔曼身上。几年前,赫尔曼博士做了一系列实验来研究16个国家(其中包括发达国家和西方国家之外的国家)公共物品游戏的反应。这次博士允许不劳而获者惩罚合作者,这是一种反社会的惩罚行为。实验结果备受关注,事实上大多数国家的结果与哈佛的结果并不一致,西方国家中不存在反社会惩罚。但在韩国、希腊、俄罗斯和沙特阿拉伯,反社会惩罚与合作行为同样常见。

Dr Rand is re-running Dr Herrmann’s experiments on Mechanical Turk—at a tenth of the cost of the original work. The early results, published last year in Nature Communications, suggest Dr Herrmann was right. Punishment did not evolve, as conventional wisdom has it, as a positive behaviour intended to encourage co-operation. Instead, it evolved as a self-interested weapon to fend off competitors, even when that competition is, in fact, a strategy of collaboration. In places where rules and institutions do not protect co-operators, freeloaders consistently dominate.
兰德博士用土耳其机器人重复了赫尔曼博士的实验,花费仅为其十分之一。先前的结果发表在了《自然通信》上,支持了赫尔曼博士的研究结果。惩罚本身并未升级,传统观点认为惩罚是一种促进合作的积极行为。取而代之,惩罚发展成避开竞争对手的自私武器,即便竞争的本质是一种合作的策略。在法律法规无法保护合作者的地方,不劳而获者全权接管。

Dr Rand’s work is just a foretaste of what is possible. The ability to run experiments quickly, cheaply and globally promises to transform psychologists’ understanding of human behaviour. Studies that would once have required months or years can now be done in days. Indeed, the technology of crowdsourcing itself may be modified by psychologists’ interest in it. Until recently, one constraint on the experiments was the inability of Turkers to interact with each other in real time. That problem has now gone. Siddharth Suri, of Microsoft’s New York research laboratory, has solved it by writing a piece of software that allows as many as 60 Turkers to interact in real time—a number that is expected to rise in the near future.
兰德博士只是预测出可能性。迅速经济地在全球范围内进行实验使得心理学家将理论实践。过去需数月甚至数年的研究,现在几天之内即可完成。也许心理学家乐于对众包技术本身进行修改。实验曾受限于特客相互之间无法即时交流。现在该问题已经解决。微软纽约研究实验室的赛达斯·苏瑞通过编写软件,使多达60名(预期数字)特客即时交流即将成真。

There are still plenty of kinks to be ironed out. Like anything else on the internet, those who use Mechanical Turk and its competitors are liable to spamming and to receiving answers from software “bots” pretending to be real people. And Turkers, despite being more diverse than undergraduates, are still a pretty skewed sample of humanity. In particular, they are younger and more liberal than people at large.
但仍需消除一些东西。比如在互联网上,那些使用土耳其机器人的人和他们的竞争者发送垃圾邮件,接收“bots”软件的回复来假装真人。且不说特客们比大学生更具有多样性,与普通人群相比,他们仍然是有偏差的样本,他们更年轻更自由。

Questions of ethics have also arisen. Some people think research projects which pay wages of less than $2 an hour are exploitative—even though that is the going rate for other Turker activities. Conversely, according to Karen Fort, ofFrance’sInstituteofScientificand Technical Information, at least one university has already prohibited the use of grant funds for this sort of study, for fear that Turkers could claim status as employees.
种族问题日益突显。一些人认为研究项目提供低于2美元的报酬是一种剥削,尽管其他特客活动的报酬有所增长。相反,法国的科学与技术信息研究所的凯伦·福特说,至少已经有一所大学禁止补助金用于此类研究,因为担心特客们将自己视为职员。

For many researchers, though, the appeals of crowdsourcing—bargain prices, vast supply and enormous scale—are too attractive to ignore. Indeed, the new methodology might democratise the very practice of psychology, allowing those without a laboratory or university behind them to join in as well. Gabriele Paolacci, a marketing researcher at the Rotterdam School of Management who was once in precisely that position, has started a blog called “Experimental Turk” (experimentalturk.wordpress.com) to help draft guidelines for such freelance experiments.
虽然大量研究表明众包具有价格低、应用广、规模大的特点,但太过吸引人以至于被忽视。其实新的方法论也许会使心理学实践更加大众化,让那些不在实验室或大学里的人加入进来。鹿特丹管理学院的资深市场调查员加布里埃莱·帕奥莱西开设了名为“实验特客”的博客(experimentalturk.wordpress.com),以此帮助自由的实验列出大纲。

The revolution, then, has begun. So far, Google Scholar, a website devoted to academic matters, counts 3,000 published papers that involve crowdsourced experiments. Discussions at conferences, among psychologists, behavioural economists, political scientists, linguists and computer scientists, suggest that may be the tip of the iceberg. It would be an exaggeration to say that crowdsourcing has turned the whole world into a laboratory. But it has certainly made psychology a lot less WEIRD.
革命已经拉开序幕。到目前为止,学术材料网站Google Scholar已有3000份关于众包的实验发表。心理学家们在研讨会上展开讨论,行为经济学家、政治科学家、语言学家和计算机科学家一致认为,这只是冰山一角。夸张的说,众包将会把整个地球变作一个大实验室。不过确实让心理学少了许多“古怪”。

from the print edition | Science and technology 译者:朱田牧
原文出自《经济学人》

【生词】
1 Skinner 斯金纳,美国行为主义心理学家。
2 Atheist 无神论者
3 Methodology 方法论
【附注】
1 Crowdsouring
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing
2 Mechanical Turk
http://www.whatis.com.cn/word_5387.htm
3 trolley problem
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley-Problem
4 public-goods games
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_goods_game

www.psychspace.com心理学空间网
TAG: 心理学家 众包
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