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Laboratory Experiments

Edited by: Published: 2010
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Laboratory experiments are a particular method that enables the highest level of control for hypothesis testing. Like other types of experiments, they use random assignment and intentional manipulations, but these experiments are conducted in a room or a suite of rooms dedicated to that purpose. Although experimental research can be conducted in places besides laboratories, such as in classrooms or business organizations, a laboratory setting is usually preferable, because an investigator can create optimal conditions for testing the ideas guiding the research.

Psychology was the first social science to use experimental laboratories, with Ivan Pavlov's famous experiments conditioning dogs around the turn of the 20th century. However, it was the second half of that century that saw the spread of experiments throughout the other social sciences. ...

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