Assessing Subjects’ Construal of the Laboratory Situation

  • Michael J. Strube
Part of the The Springer Series in Behavioral Psychophysiology and Medicine book series (SSBP)

Abstract

The manner in which subjects in laboratory research perceive, understand, and respond to the situations created for them has been a topic of widespread interest and great controversy throughout the history of psychology. One could argue, in fact, that no serious examination of human behavior can escape considering the subjects’ understanding of the situations in which they are studied: Regardless of whether people have an accurate understanding of their world, they base their actions (at least in part) on the world as they understand it (see Heider, 1958; Kelley, 1967, 1973; Kelly, 1955; Jones & Davis, 1965). Laboratory research is, of course, an attempt to create a highly controlled, well-specified situation in order to test propositions about subjects’ responses to that situation. This chapter will emphasize that a complete understanding of a subject’s actions in the laboratory requires a careful assessment of the subject’s perceptions of that situation, and also that careful attention be given to a number of potential pitfalls.* Both the essential nature of assessing the subject’s psychological state, and the dangers lurking in such assessment, can be demonstrated by considering as our starting point the role of the manipulation check in experimental research.

Keywords

Psychological State Measurement Scale Manipulation Check Verbal Report Causal Attribution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Strube
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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