The Laboratory Experiment Versus Field Research

  • Jerald Greenberg
  • Robert Folger
Part of the Springer Series in Social Psychology book series (SSSOC)


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.


Laboratory Experiment External Validity Field Research Laboratory Setting Theoretical Research 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerald Greenberg
    • 1
  • Robert Folger
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Management and Human ResourcesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.A.B Freeman School of BusinessTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA

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