Experimenter demand effects in economic experiments
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- Zizzo, D.J. Exp Econ (2010) 13: 75. doi:10.1007/s10683-009-9230-z
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Experimenter demand effects refer to changes in behavior by experimental subjects due to cues about what constitutes appropriate behavior. We argue that they can either be social or purely cognitive, and that, when they may exist, it crucially matters how they relate to the true experimental objectives. They are usually a potential problem only when they are positively correlated with the true experimental objectives’ predictions, and we identify techniques such as non-deceptive obfuscation to minimize this correlation. We discuss the persuasiveness or otherwise of defenses that can be used against demand effects criticisms when such correlation remains an issue.