Gruveo Helps Psychology Research at UC Berkeley

The Relationships and Social Cognition Lab (RASCL) at University of California, Berkeley studies the dynamics of intergroup relationships and how people can improve these relationships. Some of the lab’s research focuses on the ways in which people can decrease the anxiety they might experience when interacting with people from other groups. The lab’s researchers also focus on how trust and closeness contribute to positive intergroup outcomes.

RASCL have recruited online participants for survey studies before but with their current research, they wanted to take things one step further. “The research we are conducting focuses on interpersonal dynamics,” explains Dr. Jordan Leitner, a postdoctoral researcher at RASCL. “As such it was necessary to harness technology that would allow us to bring people together, even if through the Internet. Chatting with participants opens an array of possibilities that are impossible with survey methods.”

Dr. Leitner’s team needed a secure, anonymous and easy to use video calling solution that would allow participants to chat with the researchers. Gruveo checked all these boxes. “We respect the privacy of our participants, and strive to protect their identity,” continues Dr. Leitner. “Since participants do not give any identifying information in a Gruveo chat, they can remain relatively anonymous.”

In addition to Gruveo’s security and anonymity, the recent launch of the Gruveo Embed Beta Program also meant that the RASCL researchers could embed the video calling widget directly in their online survey hosted by Qualtrics.

In the new research flow, participants (recruited from Mechanical Turk) are assigned to complete a series of tasks with someone from their own racial group, or a different racial group, via Gruveo. This allows for better testing whether different interventions can improve the quality of these interactions and contribute to more positive performance on these tasks.

Embedded Gruveo widget enables RASCL team to chat with research participants in real time.

“So far, Gruveo has been wonderful,” says Dr. Leitner. “We found that the connection quality has been far superior to other chat sites. Also, it looks quite elegant. Finally, we were able to embed it into a survey hosting site, which helps the study to flow well between survey questions, and live chat with researchers.”

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