On human test subjects

Aug 16, 2012

This week, we'll hear about human test subjects, and talk about gender differences in math performance.

People are sometimes used as test subjects in scientific research – from clinical trials, to studies on the toxicity of pesticides. The federal government is currently revising the regulation designed to protect human research subjects from harm. Washington University law professor Rebecca Dresser wrote an article published in the journal Science, talking about some changes she’d like to see made. She spoke with St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra.

And, a new study out of the University of Missouri Psychology Dept. says that boys and girls favor different approaches to arithmetic when starting school. Boys tend to approach problems with a retrieval, or memory based method that’s less accurate, whereas girls take a slower, but more calculated approach like counting. Over time, boys tend to catch up, and outperform girls by the 6th grade. David Geary is a professor in the MU Department of Psychology. He was a co-author of the study, along with his grad student Drew Bailey. Geary spoke to me about the study and its implications, starting with what he discovered.