Field experiment in psychology. Is there still room for conducting research in natural conditions?
More details
Hide details
Faculty of Psychology, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Wroclaw, Poland
Submission date: 2020-05-07
Final revision date: 2020-06-04
Acceptance date: 2020-06-04
Online publication date: 2020-07-10
Publication date: 2020-07-10
Health Psychology Report 2020;8(4):428–434
This paper reflects on the status of the field experiment in contemporary psychology (especially its social branch). The subject of analysis is how frequently this method is used, especially in the context of the growing popularity of on-line research.

Participants and procedure:
The empirical part of the article presents an experiment revealing the uniqueness of the field experiment as a method allowing for the identification of subtle variables that can have a real impact on the results obtained. In the whole study 128 people were examined (half of the group were women). The obtained results show that some phenomena cannot be examined in any other way than by means of the field experiment.

The process of moving away from the study of real behaviours in the real environment, observed over the last twenty years, has not stopped since the criticism of this phenomenon expressed about 20 years ago. On the contrary, it has intensified. The phenomenon described in the article is definitely harmful to the scientific disci-pline so strongly connected with the social context of research, namely social psychology.

Time will show whether the increasingly loud voices criticising this trend will translate into an actual change of methods used by social psychologists.

Anderson, C. A., Allen, J. J., Plante, C., Quigley-McBride, A., Lovett, A., & Rokkum, J. N. (2019). The MTurkification of social and personality psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 45, 842–850. https://doi.org/10.1177/014616....
Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., & Funder, D. C. (2007). Psychology as the science of self-reports and finger movements: Whatever happened to actual behavior? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2, 396–403. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745....
Brzeziński, J., & Siuta, J. (1991). Społeczny kontekst badań psychologicznych i pedagogicznych: Wy-bór tekstów [Social context of psychological and pedagogical research: Selection of texts]. Po-znań: Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM.
Cialdini, R. B. (2009). We have to break up. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 5–6. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745....
Doliński, D. (2018). Is psychology still a science of behaviour? Social Psychological Bulletin, 13, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.5964/spb.v1....
Fisher, J. (1992). Testing the effect of road traffic signs’ informational value on driver behavior. Hu-man Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 34, 231–237. https://doi.org/10.1177/001872....
Goffman, E. (1963). Behavior in public places. New York: The Free Press.
Griskevicius, V., Tybur, J. M., Sundie, J. M., Cialdini, R. B., Miller, G. F., & Kenrick, D. T. (2007). Bla-tant benevolence and conspicuous consumption: When romantic motives elicit strategic costly signals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 85–102. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3....
Grzyb, T. (2017). Obtaining informed consent from study participants and results of field studies. Methodological problems caused by the literal treatment of codes of ethics. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 48, 288–292. https://doi.org/10.1515/ppb-20....
Grzyb, T., Doliński, D., Trojanowski, J., & Bar-Tal, Y. (2018). Cognitive structuring and obedience to-ward authority. Personality and Individual Differences, 133, 115–120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid....
Guéguen, N. (2012). “Say it… near the flower shop”: Further evidence of the effect of flowers on mat-ing. The Journal of Social Psychology, 152, 529–532. https://doi.org/10.1080/002245....
Kahneman, D. (2016). Heuristics and biases. In R. Sternberg, S. Fiske, & D. Foss (Eds.), Scientists making a difference: One hundred eminent behavioral and brain scientists talk about their most im-portant contributions (pp. 171–174). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1972). Subjective probability: a judgment of representativeness. Cogni-tive Psychology, 3, 430–454. https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0....
Klebaniuk, J. (2012). Profesor Stapel na dopingu. O upiększaniu psychologii społecznej [Professor Stapel on dope. On the beautifying of social psychology]. Psychologia Społeczna, 3, 213–217.
Kleinke, C. L. (1986). Gaze and eye contact: a research review. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 78–100. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2....
Lamy, L., Fischer-Lokou, J., & Guéguen, N. (2015). Places for help: Micro-level variation in helping behavior toward a stranger. Psychological Reports, 116, 242–248. https://doi.org/10.2466/21.PR0....
LaPiere, R. T. (1934). Attitudes vs. actions. Social Forces, 13, 230–237. https://doi.org/10.2307/257033....
Patterson, M. L. (2008). Back to social behavior: Mining the mundane. Basic and Applied Social Psy-chology, 30, 93–101. https://doi.org/10.1080/019735....
Sassenberg, K., & Ditrich, L. (2019). Research in social psychology changed between 2011 and 2016: Larger sample sizes, more self-report measures, and more online studies. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 2, 107–114. https://doi.org/10.1177/251524....
Sotirovic, M. (2016). Heuristic information-processing. In G. Mazzoleni (Ed.), The International Ency-clopedia of Political Communication (pp. 1–5). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Webster, D. M., & Kruglanski, A. W. (1994). Individual differences in need for cognitive closure. Jour-nal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1049–1062. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3....