Using the Power Balance Wristband to Improve Students’ Research-Design Skills

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We describe an exercise involving the power balance wristband (PBW) designed to enhance students’ ability to design scientific tests. An instructor demonstrated that the PBW improved a student’s balance, strength, and flexibility and invited students to design and conduct a brief scientific test of the PBW. Research methods students who participated in the exercise significantly improved their ability to design scientific tests of the PBW and another pseudoscientific practice (i.e., Healing Touch); students enrolled in the control sections of the course showed no improvement. Incorporating this single-class exercise into research methods courses has the potential to not only improve students’ critical thinking about pseudoscience but also improve their research-design skills.