Ecological Validity

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Outline of issue (a question)

ecological validity refers to the extent to which the environment, or tasks the participants is asked to do in  piece of research will generalise to other environments or tasks outside of the study setting. Mainly it looks at the realism of the environment and tasks set. If a piece of research is high in ecological validity it is easy to relate the environment or tasks to real life whereas a study conducted in very artificial conditions with artificial tasks would be said to be low in ecological validity.

B question (studies to support)


  • aggression and imitation
  • children shown model acting aggressively/non aggressively, taken to 2nd room to arouse aggression, observed in the 3rd room
  • low EV - no interaction with the adult, lack of reason for aggression, aggression shown towards doll, environment in 3rd room set up to exactly represent first room.


  • obedience to an authority figure
  • learner wired to fake machine that participants believed administered shocks. when learner got question wrong, experimenter told participant to increase voltage to 15v.
  • low EV


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