Psychology - Validity

Notes from my textbook for my own learning, that i'm sharing with you.

Have fun revising :)

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  • Created on: 03-01-13 15:22
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Reianna Shakil L6EF Psychology
A class conducted a study aiming to find out whether students could do their homework
effectively while in front of the TV. The conditions were:
Doing a memory test in silence
Doing a memory test with the TV on
IV ­ whether or not the TV was on
DV ­ the participants' score on the memory test
Perhaps the `silent' participants did the test in the morning, and the `TV' participants did
the test in the afternoon.
If TV is a distraction, the silence group should do better on the test. What else had an effect?
Perhaps people are more alert in the morning; therefore morning test results are
Perhaps the students in one group had naturally better memories, therefore better
test performance.
These are extraneous variables.
If the experimenter fails to control EVs, then study results will be meaningless. They may claim
that the IV caused the change in the DV, but it was actually the EV, not IV.
Consequently, they have not tested what they intended to test ­ influence of a different
variable has been tested. Therefore control (of as many relevant EVs as possible) is vital.
The aim of any psychological study is to provide information about people in `real life'.
If the study set-up is too artificial or contrived, participants will not act naturally.
E.g. Loftus and Palmer investigated eyewitness testimony by showing a clip of a car
accident then asking questions about the car's speed. How realistic is the film to a real
Many things affect the realism of a psychological study.
Mundane (of the world) realism refers to how an experiment mirrors the real world.
Watching the clip in a lab lacks mundane realism ­ study results are not useful for
understanding behaviour in the real world.
In defence of artificial lab experiments:

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Reianna Shakil L6EF Psychology
In the race of dropping speed of a kilo each of feathers and lead, theoretically they
drop at the same rate. In reality, air resistance (an EV) slows drop the feathers.
To test this properly, the study would need to take place in a vacuum (airless)
environment ­ artificial and contrived for validity in this case.…read more


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