The Laboratory Experiment Versus Field Research
At the turn of the century, Norman Triplett (1897-1898) conducted a simple laboratory experiment in which people were asked to wind fishing reels in the presence or absence of others. Triplett’s intent was to explain a phenomenon he observed while racing a bicycle—namely, that racers performed better when competing against others than when racing against the clock. By using a laboratory experiment to isolate the variables of interest and testing hypotheses about them, Triplett was among the first psychologists to study a social psychological phenomenon using a method that in this century has gained widespread prominence in the social and behavioral sciences.
KeywordsLaboratory Experiment External Validity Field Research Laboratory Setting Theoretical Research
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