How You Know Your Psychology Researchers are Lying to You

One of my psychology classes requires us to be guinea pigs for grad students’ experiments. I did one today which was supposed to involve communicating with an online partner from a global participant pool. We would only see each other’s IDs and occupations.

My partner was a farmer. Yes, really.

I then read an essay that the other person wrote about an acquaintance, told them my opinion about that person, and then had to regurgitate the original essay. The partner magically finished their assignments at the exact same time that I did.

Guess what? Yup, the farmer wasn’t real. (By the way, the study was about how writing for a particular audience impacts memory.)

Researchers, if you want to ruin the trust of your participant pool through deception, at least do it well. If you had an international pool filled with online farmers, why would you still be using college students, who are perhaps the worst representatives of the human population?


2 thoughts on “How You Know Your Psychology Researchers are Lying to You

  1. You’ve hit on one of if not the major issue affecting the ecological validity of university psychology. The fact that we continue to extrapolate results and create theories based on predominantly western world undergraduates is concerning


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