External validity is more than skin deep: Some answers to criticisms of laboratory experiments

Leonard Berkowitz, Edward I Donnerstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

396 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Discusses some criticisms of laboratory experiments in psychology, emphasizing the claim that these experiments lack external validity. It is suggested that representative designs are inadequate for testing causal hypotheses, that ecological validity may facilitate the formulation of population estimates but is not necessary for causal hypothesis testing, and that experiments are not conducted to establish population estimates. The meaning that Ss assign to the laboratory setting and their actions, rather than the laboratory setting's mundane realism, affects the generalizability of the laboratory results. It is emphasized that whether laboratory results are generalizable to other situations is an empirical question. Research on aggression, especially in regard to the "weapons effect," is employed to illustrate the possible extension of laboratory findings to more natural situations. (47 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-257
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1982
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Skin
Weapons
Aggression
Population
Psychology
Research

Keywords

  • aggression experiments
  • external validity of laboratory experiments in psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

External validity is more than skin deep : Some answers to criticisms of laboratory experiments. / Berkowitz, Leonard; Donnerstein, Edward I.

In: American Psychologist, Vol. 37, No. 3, 03.1982, p. 245-257.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{0e3d11fbad9c4bdab2d519a0178515bf,
title = "External validity is more than skin deep: Some answers to criticisms of laboratory experiments",
abstract = "Discusses some criticisms of laboratory experiments in psychology, emphasizing the claim that these experiments lack external validity. It is suggested that representative designs are inadequate for testing causal hypotheses, that ecological validity may facilitate the formulation of population estimates but is not necessary for causal hypothesis testing, and that experiments are not conducted to establish population estimates. The meaning that Ss assign to the laboratory setting and their actions, rather than the laboratory setting's mundane realism, affects the generalizability of the laboratory results. It is emphasized that whether laboratory results are generalizable to other situations is an empirical question. Research on aggression, especially in regard to the {"}weapons effect,{"} is employed to illustrate the possible extension of laboratory findings to more natural situations. (47 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).",
keywords = "aggression experiments, external validity of laboratory experiments in psychology",
author = "Leonard Berkowitz and Donnerstein, {Edward I}",
year = "1982",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1037/0003-066X.37.3.245",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "37",
pages = "245--257",
journal = "American Psychologist",
issn = "0003-066X",
publisher = "American Psychological Association Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - External validity is more than skin deep

T2 - Some answers to criticisms of laboratory experiments

AU - Berkowitz, Leonard

AU - Donnerstein, Edward I

PY - 1982/3

Y1 - 1982/3

N2 - Discusses some criticisms of laboratory experiments in psychology, emphasizing the claim that these experiments lack external validity. It is suggested that representative designs are inadequate for testing causal hypotheses, that ecological validity may facilitate the formulation of population estimates but is not necessary for causal hypothesis testing, and that experiments are not conducted to establish population estimates. The meaning that Ss assign to the laboratory setting and their actions, rather than the laboratory setting's mundane realism, affects the generalizability of the laboratory results. It is emphasized that whether laboratory results are generalizable to other situations is an empirical question. Research on aggression, especially in regard to the "weapons effect," is employed to illustrate the possible extension of laboratory findings to more natural situations. (47 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

AB - Discusses some criticisms of laboratory experiments in psychology, emphasizing the claim that these experiments lack external validity. It is suggested that representative designs are inadequate for testing causal hypotheses, that ecological validity may facilitate the formulation of population estimates but is not necessary for causal hypothesis testing, and that experiments are not conducted to establish population estimates. The meaning that Ss assign to the laboratory setting and their actions, rather than the laboratory setting's mundane realism, affects the generalizability of the laboratory results. It is emphasized that whether laboratory results are generalizable to other situations is an empirical question. Research on aggression, especially in regard to the "weapons effect," is employed to illustrate the possible extension of laboratory findings to more natural situations. (47 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

KW - aggression experiments

KW - external validity of laboratory experiments in psychology

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0001417020&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0001417020&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1037/0003-066X.37.3.245

DO - 10.1037/0003-066X.37.3.245

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0001417020

VL - 37

SP - 245

EP - 257

JO - American Psychologist

JF - American Psychologist

SN - 0003-066X

IS - 3

ER -