When a psychological experiment takes place using a placebo, terms for this type of experiment is called a lab experiment. A lab experiment is an experiment that takes place in a controlled environment and participants are experimented on using a standardised procedure, recording time and place as well as carefully selecting participants. To hypothesis, the effect of caffeine on the sleep patterns of human males and females, two groups of participants take part in the research. Group one, the experimental group is the group in which an independent variable or the cause variable is manipulated by the researcher. In this case, the independent variable is caffeine. This group now becomes the response group as this is the group where a behaviour change is expected by the researcher. Because the caffeine was given to the participants for the effect.
A placebo, decaffeinated coffee, in this experiment is given to group two. This group is now known as the Control Group., for this experiment, the placebo is decaffeinated coffee. When using a placebo in blind experiments. Participants will not know what cup of coffee caffeine and what cup of coffee has does not.
In a double-blind experiment, the researcher and the participants will not know what cup of coffee contains caffeine and which coffee does not contain caffeine.
To conduct a comprehensive experiment, participants will be chosen and according to age and sex to show how these factors may influence the outcome of the experiment.
For example, Researchers will select a hundred females and a hundred males to test for the effect of caffeine on sleep. Fifty females will be selected for the control group and fifty females will be selected for the experimental group. This process will be the same for the males in the study.
A survey is then taken, and the participants may be asked to record outcomes and may take the form of a survey or questionnaire
Questions enquiring about sleep performance ranged from, the quality of sleep to the duration of sleep and if there was a break in the sleep cycle. The researcher would then record the outcome and conclusion of the experiment.
The placebo or control group will also drink a cup of coffee, in this case, decaffeinated and using the blind method and fill in the same survey as the experimental group. In the case of the double-blind method, the researcher can compare both results without any preconceived ideas or bias which is why the double-blind method is useful in this type of experiment. The researcher will collect data from the outcome of the experiment and not know which group the findings came to form and just use simple comparison.
A null hypothesis will show there is no relationship between the variables, caffeinated coffee and non-caffeinated coffee and the effect on sleep patterns on humans. Stating the results do not support the hypothesis of the experiment.
A non-directional hypothesis will just show there will be a difference in the outcome or result of the experiment but will not specify anything else.
Extraneous variables are variables that are not independent and sometimes influence the results of a study and therefore should be controlled as much as possible. When an extraneous variable is not controlled it becomes a confounding variable.
Strengths in this type of experiment will be: This experiment is easier to replicate because of the standardisation of the procedures. It allows for extraneous and independent controls to be effectively managed, allowing for an excellent measure for cause and effect.
Limitations for this type of experiment are: This type of experiment may produce low ecological validity, meaning the results of the experiment may not translate into real life.
Researchers may record data from each experiment in longitudinal form. Longitudinal research is a study that takes place repeatedly using the same variables over a set time. Because the same participants are used during the study by the researcher in each condition, participant variables or individual differences are reduced. (Experimental Design Simply Psychology)
Limitations to this type of study vary from order effects, which refers to the participant’s behaviour during the experiment.
Participants may be tired after the first experiment, influencing the outcome. This is known as the fatigue effect.
By controlling the order of conditions, the researcher can counterbalance the fatigue effect by alternating the order in which participants drink the caffeinated coffee and conducting a field experiment.
Experimenter effects can occur when the researcher accidentally influences the participant through behaviour or general demeanour.
Results of an experiment are never fully correct as illustrated with the number of variables that can occur with control groups and independent variables.
A hypothesis is just that, an idea formed by psychological researchers and must therefore be under constant review.
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