10 Great Experiments in the field of Psychology

10 Great Experiments in the field of Psychology


A scientific research that tests a theory is called an experiment. In an experiment, one manipulates an independent variable (the cause), measures the dependent variable (the effect), and controls any unimportant variables. The fact that experiments should be unbiased is a benefit. A study that closely follows a scientific research plan is called an experimental research study. It consists of a hypothesis, a variable that the researcher can change, and variables that are calculable, measurable, and comparable. The fact that experimental research is conducted in a controlled setting is crucial.

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We can make better decisions regarding our ideas and projects when we experiment. People frequently make the error of taking their concept and running with it without verifying the underlying presumptions. We often imagine we know something when in fact we don’t know. Let’s talk about the AIM we write in an experiment- An experiment’s objective is its goal. It states what can be inferred from the experiment, to put it another way. “To see how light is affected by lenses and plates of glass of various thicknesses.” The goal needs to be one or two lines in length.

Types of Experiments
A. Field Experiment

A field experiment is a psychology research method that is conducted in an organic, real-world environment. In that the researcher modifies one or more independent variables and assesses the impact on the dependent variable, it is comparable to a laboratory experiment. In contrast, the subjects in a field experiment are not aware that they are being observed, and the researcher has less control over the unrelated variables.

Field experiments are a popular tool for researching social issues like persuasion, obedience, and altruism. They are also employed in evaluating the efficacy of interventions in practical contexts, like public health campaigns and educational initiatives.

B. Lab Experiment

In psychology, a laboratory experiment is a type of study where researchers modify one or more independent variables and then observe how those changes affect the dependent variable under carefully monitored circumstances. A laboratory experiment is carried out in extremely controlled settings where precise measurements can be made – though a laboratory is not always necessary. To decide on the location, timing, participants, and conditions of the experiment, the researcher employs a standard operating procedure. Random assignments are made to each group based on an independent variable.

C. Natural Experiment

In psychology, a natural experiment is a type of study where the researcher examines, without changing any variables, how a naturally occurring event or setting affects the dependent variable. Natural experiments take place in the participants’ daily (or real-life) environments; nevertheless, in these cases, the experimenter has no control over the independent variable because it happens in real life. Natural experiments are frequently employed to investigate psychological phenomena, such as the aftermath of natural disasters, policy changes, or social movements, that would be challenging or immoral to investigate in a laboratory setting.

10 Great Experiments That Contribute to Modern Psychology
1. Milgram’s Experiment:

In the Milgram experiment, a subject’s willingness to administer a certain amount of shock served as a proxy for obedience. Even though several of the subjects became quite anxious, upset, and hostile toward the researcher, they nevertheless obeyed instructions all the way through. As Milgram’s experiment is based on Obedience, let’s understand it with real-life examples- A youngster who complies with their parent’s wishes is an example of obedience in the real world. Another illustration would be a soldier adhering to a higher-ranking officer’s orders.

2. Standford Prison Experiment:

Standford Prison experiment was based on examining the effect of role-plays, labelling and social expectations on behaviour over two weeks. In this experiment, 24 subjects were selected and were paid $ 15 a day which was divided into prisoners and guards. Few were asked to play the role of prisoners and few were asked to play of guards. Guards were given mirrored spectacles that prohibited eye contact and were instructed not to physically mistreat detainees.

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The experimenters received the prisoners after they had been “arrested” by real police and placed in a makeshift jail located in a campus building’s basement. Only the second day passed before the inmates rose in rebellion. Then, to control the inmates, the guards devised a system of punishments and penalties. Three inmates were discharged after the first four days because they were so traumatized. Several of the inmates experienced depression and disorientation during the experiment, while some of the guards became vicious and oppressive.

3. Bobo Doll Experiment:

Albert Bandura, a psychologist, conducted the ground-breaking Bobo doll experiment, a research on violence that showed youngsters could pick up skills by seeing adults behave. Children who saw an adult hitting the doll during their playtime with Bobo were prone to act aggressively as well. The kids kicked, pounded, and flung the doll in the air, much like their adult role models did. There were 3 stages for conducting this experiment; A test for delayed imitation; Aggression arousal; and Modelling.

Read: The Basics of Child Psychology

4. Little Albert:

This experiment showed that a small child may be trained to dread a neutral stimulus—a stimulus that the youngster had not previously shown any fear of. This result was also extrapolated to encompass additional animals or objects with comparable appearances.

5. Asch Experiment:

The results of the trials showed how much one’s own opinions are impacted by those of a group. Asch discovered that individuals were prepared to overlook the truth and provide a false response to fit in with the group. Shown that the influence of peer pressure on our conduct is more than previously thought. It was surprising that peer pressure could persuade someone to offer an answer that was wrong based on what they could see with their own eyes.

6. Halo Effect:

A sort of cognitive bias known as the “halo effect” occurs when our general perception of someone affects our feelings and thoughts about them as a person. The “physical attractiveness stereotype” and the “what is beautiful is also good” idea are other terms used to describe the halo effect. Example- Even though a student exhibits excellent academic performance and intelligence, an unruly attitude can lead an instructor to conclude that the student is not a good student due to his lack of behaviour.

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7. Classical Conditioning:

This experiment was demonstrated by Ivan V Pavlov. In this experiment, dogs were conditioned in a way that they would salivate with the arrival of food which was associated with the ringing of the bell.

8. Cognitive Dissonance Experiment:

The experiment of Leon Festinger demonstrated that people hold negative beliefs which lead to discomfort. He explained the concept of motivation to them which will help them to reduce their discomfort.

9. The Hawthrone Studies:

This experiment talks about the importance of social and psychological factors in the work environment as various workplace conditions impact the productivity of the employees.

10. Harlow’s Monkey Experiment:

This experiment tells us about the importance of social and emotional development. It was performed on Infant monkeys who preferred to have contact with a soft, comforting surrogate mother over a wire mother that provided food. This experiment shows how individuals or animals attract more where they have emotional or social support.

A scientific method for examining human thought and behaviour in experimental psychology. To test ideas and hypotheses about different mental processes and advance our knowledge of human behaviour, experimental psychologists employ rigorous research methods such as experiments. It also tries to modify factors that could result in behaviour to explain the actions of animals (including humans) and the functional arrangement of mental processes.

Experiments help in shaping the field of Psychology which provides insights into various cognition, social dynamics and human behavior. There were many changes in research practices and regulations, which tells us that these experiments have faced ethical concerns and limitations over the years.

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