Can A Penny Help You Pass A Breathalyzer?

Can a penny help you pass a breathalyzer test? Does gender affect BAC levels? For my example psych experiment proposal, my hypothesis would read: Sucking on a penny in the attempt to cause a police breathalyzer test to show that you are sober works better for females than for males.  My psych experiment would utilize the between-subjects design model so that I could compare the differences in blood alcohol content (BAC) between various males and females.  The independent variable (IV) in this experiment would be the subjective genders of the participants, as they would all suck on a penny before taking the breathalyzer.  The dependent variable (DV) in this experiment would be the subjects’ individual BAC levels, according to the breathalyzer.

Many confounds could affect this experiment.  The breathalyzers used may not give accurate BAC levels. The participants may metabolize alcohol faster or slower than one another, considering their subjective body masses and sexes.  The length of time that each subject gets to suck on the penny before taking the breathalyzer could vary, thus possibly affecting their BACs.  The time since their last drinks before the breathalyzer, as well as the amount and types of alcohol that the subjects consumed prior to putting a penny in their mouths and taking a breathalyzer could also affect their scores.

Can A Penny Help You Pass A Breathalyzer?

Without actually doing the experiment, I predict that the results would show that the opposite of what my hypothesis predicted is actually true.  Males would tend to blow lower BAC levels on the breathalyzer after sucking on a penny than females would.  This would not support my hypothesis.  This would also not point to any conclusive evidence about whether sucking on a penny helps lower BAC at all for males or females, as we were only testing the differences gendered penny sucking made in BAC.  The results would likely be due to the confound that because males generally tend to have more body mass, it generally takes more alcohol to raise their BAC levels to the same level as it would to raise a female’s BAC to that same level.

After reviewing the proposed layout of my experiment, I found that the use of two independent variables in the forms of the subjects’ genders and whether or not they got to suck on a penny before taking the breathalyzer test would better suit the testing of my hypothesis.  A control group made up of both males and females who would not get to suck on a penny before taking the breathalyzer test would serve as the basis for comparison with the male and female subjects who would get to suck on a penny before taking the breathalyzer.  The use of two IVs would allow me to test whether or not sucking on a penny lowers BAC at all, as well as the gendered differences in BAC effect that it might cause.