A Field Experiment on Douyin Usage

Last registered on July 26, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
A Field Experiment on Douyin Usage
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008255
Initial registration date
July 24, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
July 26, 2022, 1:53 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Guanghua School of Management, Peking University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Guanghua School of Management, Peking University
PI Affiliation
Guanghua School of Management, Peking University
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2022-05-05
End date
2022-07-25
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
This study aims to investigate the effect of Douyin and its algorithms on users’ subjective well-being, cognitive skills, and opinion polarization. We carry out a randomized experiment among both the general population and university students in China. Participants in the two treatment groups were asked to either log out of their Douyin accounts (so that the algorithm stops working) or refrain from using Douyin completely. Outcomes are measured through online surveys, direct observation of Douyin accounts, and the screen time records of their smartphones.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Gao, Yu et al. 2022. "A Field Experiment on Douyin Usage." AEA RCT Registry. July 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8255
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
"No Algorithm" group participants: log out of their Douyin accounts (so that the algorithm stops working);
"No Douyin" group participants: refrain from using Douyin completely.
Intervention Start Date
2022-05-31
Intervention End Date
2022-06-26

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Mental health, efficiency, creativity, reading ability, general intelligence, issue polarization, use of time on offline activities online activities
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The general intelligence index is constructed by combining responses of Raven Matrices, working memory, and attention measures using the inverse of covariance.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Attitude towards Douyin's influence
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This study aims to investigate the effect of Douyin and its algorithms on users’ subjective well-being, cognitive skills, and opinion polarization. We carry out a randomized experiment among both the general population and university students in China. Participants in the two treatment groups were asked to either log out of their Douyin accounts (so that the algorithm stops working) or refrain from using Douyin completely. Outcomes are measured through online surveys, direct observation of Douyin accounts, and the screen time records of their smartphones.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
220 Individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
230 Individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
75 participants control, 75 participants "No Algorithm" treatment, 75 participants "No Douyin" treatment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
pwr.f2.test(u=2,v=,f2=0.05/(1-0.05),sig.level = 0.05,power=0.8) pwr.f2.test(u=2,v=,f2=0.05/(1-0.05),sig.level = 0.05,power=0.9)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Institutional Review Board, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University
IRB Approval Date
2021-10-11
IRB Approval Number
2021-30
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials