For the past several months, at least one of my friends have shared a post, Women Should Go Out With Friends Twice A Week For Better Health, posted by creativehealthyfamily.com (n.d.) on their Facebook. The article claims that according to a new study, women should go out with girlfriends twice a week to be healthier (creativehealthyfamily.com, n.d.). It further claims that “drinking beer, gossiping, and talking about their rivals (preferred topic). Doing these “things” make women socialize, drink and laugh together” (creativehealthyfamily.com, n.d.). At first, I got excited for a second, how wonderful it is to now have empirical research to backup my excuse to go out with my girlfriends. Quickly, though, I started to question the research. How did the study operationally define “healthier”? How did the study end up with twice a week, but no once or thrice for example? Dr. Robin Dunbar, who was hired to run this study, explains to The Huffington Post that “[t]he figure of twice a week comes from our findings that this is the amount of time that you typically spend with your closest friends/family” (as cited in creativehealthyfamily.com, n.d.). How did he find that findings? And with all these questions my excitement faded and the researcher-in-training in me got the best of me and I fact checked. According to editor in chief Alan Duke (2019) for Hoaxalert.com, the study was actually a social experiment conducted by Robin Dunbar, an Oxford psychology professor, who was hired by the Guinness Beer company. The social experiment involvement five men (note no women) to measure men’s happiness “doing things” with the men (Dunbar, 2019). The purpose of the social experiment was meant for the Guinness Beer company to use as a television campaign to promote men going out and drinking beer with friends (Dunbar, 2019). I’m echoing our lesson commentary that it’s not to say that the researcher, in this case Dunbar, intentionally mislead the public, but there are many aspects that could have led him in this particular direction (PSU WC, 2019, L.13). Thus, it’s important to fact check, check for the credits page, check to see who sponsored it and what was their interest, and check researchers’ affiliation (PSU WC, 2019, L.13). The fake news could end with you, if you fact check before sharing.
Duke, A. (2019, July 1). Fake News: Women Do NOT Need To Go Out With Friends Twice A Week To Stay Healthy: Lead Stories. Retrieved November 21, 2019, from https://hoax-alert.leadstories.com/3470628-fake-news-women-do-not-need-to-go-out-with-friends-twice-a-week-to-stay-healthy.html?fbclid=IwAR1S9BYjvQrZlCt5WaHVYhGXpp5XVu1M5Gf-dMNBL1UNpONC9aVhtHEq_hw.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2019). PSYCH 424 :
Applied Social Psychology, Lesson 13: Social Change/Participatory Research. Retrieved on November 19, 2019 from: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2008549/modules/items/27030759
Women Should Go Out With Girlfriends Twice A Week To Improve Their Health. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2019, from https://www.creativehealthyfamily.com/women-should-go-out-with-girlfriends-twice-a-week-to-improve-their-health/.