Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Based on the concept of demand characteristics, it was demonstrated that subject to subject interaction can be a source of bias in group research. Two confederates of the experimenter posed as subjects experienced in psychological research, in the presence of a naive inexperienced subject. The performance of naive inexperienced subjects on serial addition problems was significantly related to the communications and actions of the confederates. Using a within subjects design, control subjects showed no significant change in performance from pre to post treatment trials. Naive subjects hearing negative attitudes expressed toward the psychology department by the confederates between trials, showed no significant decrease in performance. Naive subjects hearing negative attitudes expressed toward the psychology department and also hearing and observing the confederate subjects refuse to continue doing addition problems showed a significant decrease in serial addition performance. Naive subjects exposed to confederate subjects who did not express negative attitudes toward the psychology department but just refused to continue doing addition problems also showed a significant decrease in performance. However, subjects in this latter condition showed a significantly smaller decrease than subjects in the combined negative comment plus refusal to continue condition.
Copyright 1970 James Leonard
Leonard, James, "Subject to Subject Interaction as a Source of Bias in the Psychological Experiment" (1970). Master's Theses. 1296.