Psychology Validity

1. A psychologist pretests a group of participants attending her clinic on Monday on their reading speed and comprehension, and notes that all scores are lower than norms. She puts them in a reading enhancement program for 6 weeks, then tests them again and finds their scores are higher. She concludes that the program is effective. Point out the flaw(s) in this experimental design and describe what she should have done in order to make her experiment more internally valid.2. Using the following scenario, read and answer the following questions. Scenario: Dr. Benning wants to study the effects of nicotine on reaction time. She decides to recruit prisoners as participants, as that will give her a literally “captive audience” from which to recruit. To entice the prisoners to volunteer, Dr. Benning arranges for the prisoners to earn a weekend pass if they participate and perform well. She gets 50 volunteers, half of whom will receive nicotine in a pill and half of whom will receive a placebo. Because she does not want the prisoners to know which drug they are getting, she tells them all they are receiving aspirin because looking at her computer screen may give them a headache. She measures reaction time as the number of milliseconds between the presentation of a stimulus on a computer screen and the depression of a certain key on the computer keyboard. She compares reaction time across the two groups and concludes that nicotine significantly slowed reaction timea) What is the independent variable?b) What is the dependent variable?c) How was “reaction time” operationally defined?d) What factor (if any) varied between participants?e) What factor (if any) varied within participants?

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