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How Experimental Psychology is Helping Us to Understand the Human Mind?

October 20, 2022    0 COMMENTS


Experimental psychology has been around in some form since the late 1800s and has helped shape our understanding of human nature, behavior, and the mind. The field of psychology has undergone numerous changes throughout its history, adapting to new research and theories, but experimental psychology remains at its core. This article explains experimental psychology and how it benefits our understanding of human nature and the mind.

Building a Picture of Human Nature

Experimental psychology has helped us to understand human nature and behavior better. For example, it has shown us that people are often motivated by rewards, not punishment. Psychologists have also demonstrated that our choices are not always rational and can be heavily influenced by emotions and context. Experimental psychologists are also interested in understanding how people think about themselves, others, and their experiences.

One example of this research is the Stanford Prison Experiment (1971). In this experiment, a group of undergraduate males was assigned to be either correctional officers or prisoners for two weeks. The study found that those assigned as prisoners experienced stress from a lack of control over what was happening, whereas guards became more authoritarian and showed some sadistic tendencies.

Both groups behaved severely, and the project was terminated after six days. Experimental psychology continue to conduct experiments like these to gather information on how humans behave under certain circumstances.

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Need of Experimental Psychology Experiment?

Experimental psychologists typically experiment when they find a slight discrepancy between two variables. They then study this discrepancy, asking themselves what caused the difference. For example, if we found that people who were given more time on a task did better than people who were given less time on a task, we might want to know why this happened. Was it because of differences in individual IQ? Did people with lower IQs become discouraged and give up earlier? Or was there some other reason? To find out, an experiment might be set up where participants are randomly assigned either more or less time on a particular task.

The same tasks would be used for both groups so that any differences in performance could be attributed only to the amount of time allowed to complete the task. If the experimental group completed the task in significantly less time than the control group, it suggests that their higher performance level was due to having more time to work. If no significant differences emerged between groups after a certain number of trials (called trials).

Then one might conclude that whatever factors led to more excellent performance during initial tests were not related to how much time participants had been given; this doesn’t mean, however, that such factors couldn’t have influenced overall outcomes if presented during additional testing. One significant advantage of conducting experiments is repeatability.

One can always replicate a particular experiment by creating another one using all of the same materials and procedures although researchers should note that factors like participant bias and researcher expectations may influence results even when these elements are precisely matched.

experimental psychology

Are Rats More Like Us than We Think?

It is a field that tries to test hypotheses and predict what might happen in real-life situations. One such study, conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University. Provides evidence that rats might be more like us than we think. The study found that when a rat is hungry, it will eat chocolate cake over vegetables. Although this finding may seem trivial, it has far-reaching implications for how people understand their eating habits.

For example, if you are having a tough day and all you want is a bowl of ice cream. But you opt for an apple instead because you know it’s healthier. Your decision might have more in common with a rat’s choice of cake over veggies than you think. Research on human behavior suggests that when faced with two equally satisfying options (ice cream or apple). People prefer the unhealthy option because they assume it will give them greater pleasure in the long run.

The rat study confirms this idea: Animals also base their decisions on how much pleasure each option is likely to provide rather than making rational choices based on health benefits. Rats’ diets consist mainly of high-calorie foods, so why would they choose vegetables? To figure out why this was happening, the researchers put a sweet substance on one side of the cage and a bitter substance on the other.

When given a choice between these two sides, rats would typically avoid the bitter taste. Even if it meant giving up sugar altogether. In other words, despite living primarily off sugar, rats still don’t like bitterness. The experiment shows that there must be some connection between sweetness and delight.

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The Future of Experimental Psychology

It is one of the newest and most exciting fields in psychology. As technology advances, we can do things that were impossible before. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for psychological study and research. One of these newer areas of study, virtual reality, has been gaining a lot of traction in recent years. Virtual reality allows us to create computer-generated simulations that users can explore with a headset or gloves, providing them with an immersive sensory experience that makes it seem like they are there.

Researchers have found many ways this technology can be used for psychological research and clinical purposes. The first application of VR was as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The University of Southern California Institute For Creative Technologies developed Virtual Iraq, which helps military personnel overcome PTSD symptoms after returning from combat zones. In trials where participants interacted with virtual characters who spoke to them from a first-person perspective.

Exposure therapy was used to desensitize those who may have PTSD from other traumatic events such as car accidents or childhood abuse. VR has also been shown to reduce pain levels among patients undergoing painful procedures such as chemotherapy treatments and dental work when they wore 3D glasses that simulated more realistic images of their surroundings than traditional TV screens.

experimental psychology

Final Thoughts

Experimental psychology is a method for studying human behavior. It provides information about how people think, feels, and act by observing them in naturally occurring situations. Experimental psychologists rely on their observations and data from controlled experiments to understand how and why people behave as they do. This approach has helped us better understand many aspects of human behavior, including learning and memory, language processing, thinking and reasoning, personality development, decision-making, and problem-solving skills.

One challenge has been determining what we mean when we say human behavior. Do we refer to the behaviors that are universal among humans? Or those that are found in all cultures? Maybe it’s best to focus on behaviors that differ across cultures, such as how close someone stands to another person during a conversation or where someone sits with others at a table. Understanding these differences can help us learn more about ourselves and others.

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