Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Psychology Experiments

A psychology experiment is a research method designed to establish cause-effect relationships. Investigators obtain a random sample from a defined population. The sample participants are then randomly assigned to one of the experimental conditions based on levels or groups of an independent variable. The effect of the independent variable is determined by changes in the dependent variable. Changes in the dependent measure of the dependent variable are selected based on considerations of reliability and validity of the measurement method. Other variables that could account for changes in the dependent variable are carefully controlled.

Experiments may be carried out in laboratory settings or in the natural environment (field experiment). A field experiment may take place in a school, at work, on a sports field, or any place that makes sense for the variables under investigation.

Independent variables (IV or IVs) are those under the control of the psychological scientist. An IV must have at least two different levels or groups to be considered a variable. For example, Length of psychotherapy session could be an independent variable varied as 0 minutes, 25 minutes or 50 minutes for 12 sessions. The "no" treatment group (0 minutes) is called a control group.

Dependent variables (DV, DVs) are variables expected to change in response to an IV. For example, following psychotherapy for depression, the participants receiving treatment ought to be less depressed.

Dependent measures measure changes in the DV. Depression may be measured by observations in behavior and self-report surveys. Biological data may also be collected.

Extraneous variables (EV, EVs) must be controlled. For example, in a psychotherapy study, experimenters must control for medication effects.

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