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What Is Experimental Research In Psychology

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Hipp Chronoscope / Chronograph – EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY 13557 Understanding Psychology 12920

This instrument, invented by Matthäus Hipp around 1850, uses a vibrating reed to tick off time in 1000ths of a second. Originally designed for experiments in physics, it was later adapted to study the speed of bullets. After then being introduced to physiology, it was finally used in psychology to measure reaction time and the duration of mental processes.

The first stereoscope was invented by Wheatstone in 1838. It presents two slightly different images, one to each eye, at the same time. Typically the images are photographs of the same object taken from camera positions that mimic the position and separation of the eyes in the head. When one looks through the steroscope the photos fuse into a single image that conveys a powerful sense of depth and solidity.

Developed by Carl Ludwig in the 19th century, the kymograph is a revolving drum on which a moving stylus tracks the size of some measurement as a function of time. The kymograph is similar to the polygraph, which has a strip of paper moving under one or more pens. The kymograph was originally used to measure blood pressure and it later was used to measure muscle contractions and speech sounds. In psychology, it was often used to record response times.

Differences Between Experimental And Non

1. In experimental research, the researcher can control and manipulate the environment of the research, including the predictor variable which can be changed. On the other hand, non-experimental research cannot be controlled or manipulated by the researcher at will.

This is because it takes place in a real-life setting, where extraneous variables cannot be eliminated. Therefore, it is more difficult to conclude non-experimental studies, even though they are much more flexible and allow for a greater range of study fields.

2. The relationship between cause and effect cannot be established in non-experimental research, while it can be established in experimental research. This may be because many extraneous variables also influence the changes in the research subject, making it difficult to point at a particular variable as the cause of a particular change

3. Independent variables are not introduced, withdrawn, or manipulated in non-experimental designs, but the same may not be said about experimental research.

Experimental Research Survey Examples

Survey research runs contrary to experimental research, unlike the other main forms of research such as exploratory, descriptive and correlational research. This is because the nature of surveys is observational, while experimental research, as its name signifies, relies on experimentations, that is testing out changes and studying the reactions to the changes.

Despite the contrast of survey research to experimental research, they are not completely at odds. In fact, surveys are a potent method to gain further insight into an existing experiment or understand variables before conducting an experiment in the first place.

As such, businesses can adopt a wide variety of surveys to complement their experimental research. Here are some of the key forms of surveys that work in tandem with experimentation:

  • Delves into past events, occurrences and attitudes in regards to the variables.
  • Shows whether the variables changed and how so.
  • Can find causative elements between variables over a period of time.
  • Useful for formulating hypotheses.
  • Helps businesses zero in on variables that contribute to or result from certain kinds of customer experiences.
  • Allows businesses to test CX in relation to the responses from this survey.
  • Measures various matters critical in a business or organization surveys employees.
  • Deployed more frequently, so variables can always be continually tracked.
  • Helps answer the what, why and how with open-ended questions.
  • Extracts key high-level information in depth.
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    The Postmodern Context Of Experimental Psychology

    Paradoxically, postmodern elements have been present since the very beginning of experimental psychology although postmodernism gained momentum only decades later. One of the characteristics of postmodernism is the transplantation of certain elements from their original context to new contexts, e.g., the popularity of Eastern philosophies and practices in contemporary Western societies. These different elements are often juxtaposed and combined to create something new, e.g., new westernized forms of yoga .

    The postmodern character of experimental psychology becomes evident on two levels: First, the subject matterthe human psycheexhibits a postmodern character since mental and behavioral phenomena are highly dependent on the idiosyncratic contexts of the involved individuals, which makes it impossible to establish unambiguous general laws to describe them. Second, experimental psychology itself displays substantial postmodern traits because both its method and the knowledge it producesalthough seemingly objective and rooted in the modern scientific worldviewinevitably contain postmodern elements, as will be shown below.

    The Good Samaritan Experiment


    Study Conducted by: John Darley and Daniel Batson

    Study Conducted in 1973 at The Princeton Theological Seminary

    Experiment Details: In 1973, an experiment was created by John Darley and Daniel Batson, to investigate the potential causes that underlie altruistic behavior. The experiment researchers set out three hypotheses they wanted to test:

    • People thinking about religion and higher principles would be no more inclined to show helping behavior than laymen.
    • People in a rush would be much less likely to show helping behavior.
    • People who are religious for personal gain would be less likely to help than people who are religious because they want to gain some spiritual and personal insights into the meaning of life.

    Student participants were given some religious teaching and instruction and then were told to travel from one building to the next. Between the two buildings was a man lying injured and appearing to be in dire need of assistance. The first variable being tested was the degree of urgency impressed upon the subjects, with some being told not to rush and others being informed that speed was of the essence.

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    What Is Research Psychology

    A research psychologist is a mental health professional, who conducts experiments. In fact, research psychologists are often referred to as experimental psychologists. Specifically research psychologists spend the majority of their time conducting research studies with participants. However, most do not treat patients and clients with psychological disorders or mental illnesses. The work of this type of psychologist is normally limited to participant involvement. Ironically, this branch of psychology is small. In fact, a relatively small number of individuals enter this industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , approximately 17,000 psychologists work in research laboratories throughout the United States. The main function of a research psychologist is to conduct observational studies and scientific experiments, related to the mental health field.

    Related: Becoming a Research Psychologist

    Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

    The fMRI is an instrument that can detect changes in blood oxygen levels over time. The increase in blood oxygen levels shows where brain activity occurs. These are rather bulky and expensive instruments which are generally found in hospitals. They are most commonly used for cognitive experiments.

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    This Article Is A Part Of The Guide:

    It is a collection of research designs which use manipulation and controlled testing to understand causal processes. Generally, one or more variables are manipulated to determine their effect on a dependent variable.

    The experimental methodis a systematic and scientific approach to research in which the researcher manipulates one or more variables, and controls and measures any change in other variables.

    Experimental Research is often used where:

  • There is time priority in a causal relationship
  • There is consistency in a causal relationship
  • The magnitude of the correlation is great.
  • The word experimental research has a range of definitions. In the strict sense, experimental research is what we call a true experiment.

    This is an experiment where the researcher manipulates one variable, and control/randomizes the rest of the variables. It has a control group, the subjects have been randomly assigned between the groups, and the researcher only tests one effect at a time. It is also important to know what variable you want to test and measure.

    A very wide definition of experimental research, or a quasi experiment, is research where the scientist actively influences something to observe the consequences. Most experiments tend to fall in between the strict and the wide definition.

    Classic Psychology Research Designs

    Experimental Psychology in 60 seconds

    Psychology research is carried out by a variety of methods, all of which are intended to increase the fund of knowledge we have concerning human behavior. Research is a formalized, systematic way of deriving accurate and reproducible results. Research designs are the particular methods and procedures used to generate, collect and analyze information.

    Research can be carried out in many different ways, but can broadly be defined as qualitative or quantitative. Quantitative psychological research refers to research that yields outcomes that derive from statistics or mathematical modeling. Quantitative research is centered around testing objective hypotheses. It is based on empiricism and attempts to show the accuracy of a hypothesis.

    Qualitative psychological research attempts to understand behavior within its natural context and setting. Qualitative psychological research uses observation, interviews, focus groups and participant observation as its most common methods.

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    Selecting And Assigning Experimental Participants

    Now that our study is designed, we need to obtain a sample of individuals to include in our experiment. Our study involves human participants, so we need to determine who to include. Participants are the subjects of psychological research, and as the name implies, individuals who are involved in psychological research actively participate in the process. Often, psychological research projects rely on college students to serve as participants. In fact, the vast majority of research in psychology subfields has historically involved students as research participants . But are college students truly representative of the general population? College students tend to be younger, more educated, more liberal, and less diverse than the general population. Although using students as test subjects is an accepted practice, relying on such a limited pool of research participants can be problematic because it is difficult to generalize findings to the larger population.

    In summary, because we cannot test all of the fourth graders in a city, we want to find a group of about 200 that reflects the composition of that city. With a representative group, we can generalize our findings to the larger population without fear of our sample being biased in some way.

    Figure 2.8.2. Researchers may work with a large population or a sample group that is a subset of the larger population.

    Selective Attention / Invisible Gorilla Experiment

    Study Conducted by: Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris

    Study Conducted in 1999 at Harvard University

    Experiment Details: In 1999 Simons and Chabris conducted their famous awareness test at Harvard University.

    Participants in the study were asked to watch a video and count how many passes occurred between basketball players on the white team. The video moves at a moderate pace and keeping track of the passes is a relatively easy task. What most people fail to notice amidst their counting is that in the middle of the test, a man in a gorilla suit walked onto the court and stood in the center before walking off-screen.

    The study found that the majority of the subjects did not notice the gorilla at all, proving that humans often overestimate their ability to effectively multi-task. What the study set out to prove is that when people are asked to attend to one task, they focus so strongly on that element that they may miss other important details.

    Study Conducted By Philip Zimbardo

    Study Conducted in 1971 at Stanford University

    Experiment Details: One of the most widely cited experiments in the field of psychology is the Stanford Prison Experiment in which psychology professor Philip Zimbardo set out to study the assumption of roles in a contrived situation.

    Study Conducted By Stanley Milgram

    Study Conducted in 1961 at Stanford University

    Study Conducted by: Harry Harlow

    Study Conducted from 1957-1963 at the University of Wisconsin

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    The Experiment As Simulacrum

    The term simulacrum basically means copy, often in the sense of inferior copy or phantasm/illusion. However, in postmodern usage simulacrum has acquired a more nuanced and concrete meaning. Simulacrum is a key term in the work of postmodern philosopher Jean Baudrillard, who arguably presented the most elaborate theory on simulacra . According to Baudrillard, a simulacrum is the reflection of a profound reality . Simulacra, however, are more than identical carbon copies because they gain a life of their own and become real in the sense of becoming an own entity. For example, the personality a pop star shows on stage is not real in the sense that it is their normal, off-stage personality, but it is certainly real in the sense that it is perceived by the audience even if they are aware that it might be an artificial personality. Two identical cars can also be different for one might be used as a means of transportation while the other might be a status symbol. Even an honest video documentation of a certain event is not simply a copy of the events that took place because it lies within the medium video that only certain sections can be recorded from a certain perspective. Additionally, the playback happens in other contexts as the original event, which may also alter the perception of the viewer.

    The Big Umbrella Of Ecological Validity

    Research methods

    In past decades, the concept of ecological validity has been related to various facets of psychological research, for example, the ecological validity of stimuli , the ecological validity of tasks , the ecological validity of conditions , the ecological validity of research settings , the ecological validity of results , the ecological validity of theories , the ecological validity of research designs , the ecological validity of methods , the ecological validity of phenomena , the ecological validity of data , and the ecological validity of paradigms . However, despite the popular usage of this term, specific definitions and requirements of ecological validity are not always clear.

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    List Of The Cons Of Experimental Research

    1. Experimental research suffers from the potential of human errors. Experimental research requires those involved to maintain specific levels of variable control to create meaningful results. This process comes with a high risk of experiencing an error at some stage of the process when compared to other options that may be available. When this issue goes unnoticed as the results become transferable, the data it creates will reflect a misunderstanding of the issue under observation. It is a disadvantage which could eliminate the value of any information that develops from this process.

    2. Experimental research is a time-consuming process to endure. Experimental research must isolate each possible variable when a subject matter is being studied. Then it must conduct testing on each element under consideration until a resolution becomes possible, which then requires data collection to occur. This process must continue to repeat itself for any findings to be valid from the effort. Then combinations of variables must go through evaluation in the same manner. It is a field of research that sometimes costs more than the potential benefits or profits that are achievable when a favorable outcome is eventually reached.

    What Are The Different Types Of Experimental Research Design

    In its essence, an experimental design is a method that is used to collect data for experimental studies. There are three types of experimental research designs pre-experimental research design, true experimental research design, and quasi-experimental design. Your experimental design is determined by the way you classify your research conditions and groups . We will look at each of the three experimental research design in detail:

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    Extraneous Variables As Confounding Variables

    The second way that extraneous variables can make it difficult to detect the effect of the independent variable is by becoming confounding variables. A confounding variable is an extraneous variable that differs on average across levels of the independent variable . For example, in almost all experiments, participants intelligence quotients will be an extraneous variable. But as long as there are participants with lower and higher IQs in each condition so that the average IQ is roughly equal across the conditions, then this variation is probably acceptable . What would be bad, however, would be for participants in one condition to have substantially lower IQs on average and participants in another condition to have substantially higher IQs on average. In this case, IQ would be a confounding variable.

    Figure 5.1 Hypothetical Results From a Study on the Effect of Mood on Memory. Because IQ also differs across conditions, it is a confounding variable.

    Other Types Of Studies

    Psychological Research: Crash Course Psychology #2

    Surveys are used in psychology for the purpose of measuring attitudes and traits, monitoring changes in mood, and checking the validity of experimental manipulations . Psychologists have commonly used paper-and-pencil surveys. However, surveys are also conducted over the phone or through e-mail. Web-based surveys are increasingly used to conveniently reach many subjects.

    Exploratory data analysis refers to a variety of practices that researchers use to reduce a great many variables to a small number overarching factors. In Peirce’s three modes of inference, exploratory data analysis corresponds to abduction.Meta-analysis is the technique research psychologists use to integrate results from many studies of the same variables and arriving at a grand average of the findings.

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    An Example Of Experimental Research For Business

    The following is an example of how a business can use this research:

    A product manager needs to convince the higher-ups in a denim company to launch a new product line at a particular department store. The objective of this launch is to increase sales, expand the companys floor presence and widen the offerings.

    The manager has to prove that this line is needed in order for the company to pitch the idea to the department store. The product manager can then conduct experimental research to provide a strong case for their theory, that a new line can raise sales.

    The product manager performs experimental research by executing a test in a few stores, in which the new line of denim is sold. These stores are varied in location to signify the target market sales before and after the launch. The test runs for a month to determine if the hypothesis can be proven.

    This represents a field experiment. The product manager must heed the sales and foot traffic of the new product line, paying attention to spikes in revenue and overall sales to justify the new line.

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