Types of experiment

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  • Types of experiment
    • Laboratory experiment - conducted in a controlled setting. Participants know they're a part of the study, although maybe not the true aims.
      • There is great control over the variables, so we can be more certain that a change in the DV is due to the IV and not an extraneous or confounding variable, making it very internally valid.
      • The participants know they're part of a study and the environment is very contrived, therefore participants may change their behaviour. So it lacks some ecological validity.
    • Field - controlled experiment that is conducted out laboratory. The IV is still manipulated so causal relationships can still be demonstrated. Participants are usually unaware that they're in a study.
      • Participants usually don't know they're taking part in an experiment, so they aren't likely to change their behaviour, therefore there's good internal validity.
      • The environment isn't as highly controlled as a lab, therefore it is hard to control extraneous variables which may affect the DV.                          Also, as people don't know they're participating in a study, it could be considered ethically incorrect to manipulate and record their behaviour.
    • Natural - the experimenter has not directly manipulated the IV - it varies 'naturally'. It is often used when you can't deliberately manipulate the IV for ethical or practical reasons.
      • It can't demonstrate causal relationships because the IV isn't directly manipulated.
      • It enables psychologists to study "real" problems, like the effect of a disaster, that can't be controlled. These studies ave increased mundane realism and ecological validity.


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