THE DECISION TO PARTICIPATE IN SMALL GROUPS EXPERIMENTS: PATTERNS OF SELF-DISCLOSURE AND THE VOLUNTEER.
Technical rept. no. 14,
DUKE UNIV DURHAM N C
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The results of laboratory studies in social psychology are critized as unrepresentative or invalid. The first argument is that the volunteers often used are a special kind of population. Second, the volunteer is thought to have certain characteristics which interact with the variables under observation or to be an informed participant who trys to influence the results of the experiment according to his own ideas. Criswell, Riecken and Orne all note that the subject may respond to cues or other than the variables manipulated in the experiment. Orne suggests that subjects may actually strive to aid the experimenter in confirming his hypothesis. All of these observations raise doubts about the use of volunteer subjects in laboratory experiments. These doubts have led to attempts to understand the volunteering process and to attempt to discover the characteristics of volunteers. If the variables that effect volunteering are known, then measures of control can be instituted when volunteers are used in experiments. Studies suggest that unconventionality anxiety, adjustment, social extraversion, need achievement, autonomy and intelligence are related to volunteering.