Performance Art as a Form of Psychological Experiment

  • Marina HallerEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Business, Arts and Humanities book series (PSBAH)


Learning how to carry out experiments is an important part of the bachelor’s degree curriculum in psychology at the University of Zurich. Students learn how to plan and perform experiments, how to analyse the collected data, and how to interpret and present the results. Most of these experiments are laboratory and have their limitations, for example the artificial nature of the setting. One way to reduce this artificial character of laboratory experiments is to carry out the study in the form of performance art. For this project, 15 students received a lecture including examples of performance art. Afterwards they executed their own experiments using performance art. In addition, the students’ personal character traits were measured and analysed. After the students completed their experiments, the role of the experimenters’ character traits in psychological experiments using performance art was investigated and the new method of carrying out experiments was discussed.


Psychological education Psychological research Experimental research Performance art Operationalising performance Object-based performance Examiner-based performance Big five inventory Creative imagination Emotional volatility 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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