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An evaluation of the types of subjects used in social psychological research

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  • Essay length: 1506 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Social Psychology

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An evaluation of the types of subjects used in social psychological research

Over the past few years there has been a growing concern about the validity of psychological research, due to the fact that an overwhelming majority of studies have used university and college students as subjects who have been tested in academic laboratories on tasks which are quite often academically orientated. Questions have been raised as to the extent to which findings derived from such studies can be said to predict the behaviour of the general population.

It was not until around the 1960's that psychologists became more thoroughly committed to the laboratory style of experimentation and therefore more reliant on the undergraduate college students as research subjects. Before this, much research, especially in Social Psychology, had been conducted in both the field and the laboratory using a wide variety of subject populations and field locations. For example, Deutsch and Collins (1951) and Festinger, Schacher and Back (1950) investigated residents of housing projects, and Coch and French (1948) studied industrial workers in factories, whilst Lazarsfeld, Berelson, and Gaudet (1948) investigated radio listeners and voters. These are just a few examples of the variety of field studies

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