Research conducted by: Shannon
E. Collins, UH-D undergraduate, Faculty Advisor: Heidi Ziemer

Case study prepared by: Shannon
E. Collins

Overview The purpose of this
study was to find out whether or not people are embarrassed by their
flatulence. The participants were 35 University of Houston –
Downtown students. Flatulence is a normal part of being human, but
it can cause an alarming rate of embarrassment in certain situations.
How many times have you been subjected to the unpleasant odor emitted
from someone around you? Medical research indicates that it is normal
to have anywhere from 7 to 20 episodes of gas in a day.

Would you believe that women produce more of the bad smelling
stuff than men do, and that women are more likely to complain
to their doctors about the smell of their flatulence? The smell
comes from sulfur gasses, the most offensive of which is hydrogen
sulfide; it smells like rotten eggs. Still, everybody does it,
we just don’t know how embarrassed they are by it.

Questions to Answer Are people
without male siblings more embarrassed by their flatulence than
people with one or more male siblings? Do people that come from
households where flatulence was acceptable report less embarrassment
than people that come from households where it was not acceptable?
Are women or men more embarrassed by their flatus?

Design Issues Embarrassment
scores were reported on 14 different measures and tallied as a total
embarrassment score, then divided into seven categories, producing
one number per category. Only the scores on the seven categories
are reported here. The data in this research is self report data,
and because the topic is sensitive some people may have been less
than honest about their reported flatulence.

Descriptions of Variables

Variable

Description

Gender

1 = male, 2 = female

famaccp

Household acceptance of flatus
1 to 7, 1=very acceptable and 7=very unacceptable

brother

Number of brothers the participant has

howlong

How long before farting in front of partner?
1 = 1 year, .5= 6 months, .25=3 months, and smaller decimals
represent portions of a year. Numbers larger than 1 indicate
longer than 1 year.

perday

Number per day

Embarrassing
Situations:

The following variables were rated on this scale: 1=extremely
embarrassed and 7= not really embarrassed

mtgwork

Meeting at work

talkprof

Talking to a professor

romint

Romantic interest

References

Chapman, S. (2001 December 22). Hot Air?
BMJ: British Medical Journal. 323(7327). Retrieved
from, Health source database.

Gases of the Gut. Harvard Health
Letter. August 2002. 27(10).

Hughes, L. (October 1999). 10 Tips on
How to Fend Off Embarrassing Flatulence. Environmental
Nutrition. 22(10). Retrieved from, Health source database.

Based on the histogram, do you think the mean or median
of this variable is larger? Calculate the mean and median
to see if you are right.

What is the range for the of the variable "perday?"

Is there are relationship between the number of male
siblings and embarrassment in front of romantic interests?
Create scatterplot, compute r, and perform a significance
test on r.

Create parallel box plots of family acceptance as a
function of gender. What did you learn from the boxplots?

Create a scatter plot of "perday" as a functioon
of how acceptable flatulence is in the family. Add a linear
regression line to the scatter plot. Do a significance
test of the slope of the line.

Create parallel box plots of "howlong" as
a function gender. What can you say about the results?

Compare men and women on the variable "perday."
Create parallel box plots and compute the 95% confidence
interval on the difference between means. Note any outliers.

Create a stem and leaf plot of the variable "howlong."What
can you say about the shape of the distribution?

What is the 95% confidence interval of the mean time
people wait before farting in front of a romantic partner.

Predict embarrassment at work from embarrassment in front
of a romantic partner. Find r and the regression equation.Test
r and the slope of the regression equation for significance.

Compute a 95% confidence interval on the number of brothers.