Methodological Issues in Commuting Research
The area of commuting research is one of the most difficult for the social and/or environmental psychologist to examine scientifically. Although we can often simulate many aspects of the field in the laboratory, the commuting experience is a rather complex social phenomenon that must, at some point of a research protocol, be studied in a natural environment. As we have seen in the previous chapters, the constellation of variables at play here are too numerous for the researcher to manipulate in a laboratory, where only a limited number of independent and dependent variables can be manipulated and tested. Nevertheless, the laboratory can play a critical role in commuting research. By allowing the researcher to isolate one or two variables with the intention of studying them methodically (i.e., a series of controlled studies with each new study building on the previous one), the laboratory may help in identifying the qualitative and quantitative nature of specific links and for developing more comprehensive theories (Monahan & Loftus, 1982). Yet, one should not underestimate the difficulties present in commuting-related laboratory research because such research has not always yielded clear results (Aiello et al., 1977).
KeywordsNegative Affectivity Positive Affectivity Methodological Issue Traffic Congestion Traffic Light
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