Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_69



Deception involves the use of words or actions to induce false beliefs. Psychologists tend to distinguish between the intentional deception of other individuals and various forms of self-deception. Deception is a common – although controversial – means through which psychologists seek to increase the ecological validity of their studies. To counteract the influence of social desirability and other biases, psychologists often want to disguise the purpose of the study from the participants.


Deception; ethics; social psychology; experimentation

Traditional Debates

As initially conceptualized by Wilhelm Wundt, experimental psychology excluded the use of deception from its research design. Wundt insisted that reliable experiments required a highly trained and informed observer carefully reporting on the introspective content of their consciousness under the controlled conditions provided by the experimenter. Indeed, the role of experimenter and participant...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada