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Artifacts in Behavioral ResearchRobert Rosenthal and Ralph L. Rosnow's Classic Books$
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Robert Rosenthal and Ralph L. Rosnow

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385540

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385540.001.0001

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Experimenter Expectancy

Experimenter Expectancy

(p.397) 8 Experimenter Expectancy
Artifacts in Behavioral Research

Robert Rosenthal

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses another “attribute” highly dependent on the specific experiment being conducted—the expectancy the experimenter has of how his subjects will respond. The particular expectation a scientist has of how his experiment will turn out is variable, depending on the experiment being conducted, but the presence of some expectation is virtually a constant in science. The independent and dependent variables selected for study by the scientist are not chosen by means of a table of random numbers. They are selected because the scientist expects a certain relationship to appear between them. Even in those less carefully planned examinations of relationships called “fishing expeditions” or, more formally, “exploratory analyses” the expectation of the scientist is reflected in the selection of the entire set of variables chosen for examination. Exploratory analyses of data, like real fishing ventures, do not take place in randomly selected pools.

Keywords:   expectancy effects, subjects, clinical psychology, experimental psychology, fishing expeditions

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