What are Biases in Psychology Research and How to Minimise their Impact?

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Today’s episode of The Psychology World Podcast is on Research Biases in Psychology research and How to Minimize Their Impact on Research.

Now today’s episode is important regardless of your preferred type of psychology whether it’s abnormal psychology, biological psychology or cognitive psychology, because biases can and will impact your research regardless of the type of psychology you prefer.

So this is a very important episode to listen or read.

Today’s psychology podcast show notes are taken from my Research in Psychology:

There are many biases in research that can impact the findings of experiments, but as this is an introduction, I will focus on three main biases.

Demand characteristics:

This is when the participants believe that they have managed to work out what the experimenters are looking for and they change their behaviour accordingly.

This impacts on research as it can lead to false conclusions to be drawn as the data being analysed shows the opposite of how humans actually behave.

To counter this in research you can organise your experiment in such a way that makes it difficult for the participants to work out what you’re looking for.

Social desirability bias:

This is where you change or give your answer to questions or the experiment to something that puts you in a more acceptable light. People do this intentionally or unintentionally.

For example; if a 15-year-old girl was asked if she had ever had sex? And she had, she might say that she hasn’t because it could be socially unacceptable for her to have sex because of her age.

Impacting results as it could lead to false data leading to false conclusions.

A possible way to avoid this bias is to frame questions in a non-judgemental way.

Leading question bias:

Where the question is worded in such a way that the question encourages a certain answer.

Such as: how fast were the cars going when the smashed into each other?

That question should lead to a higher speed being given.

This impacts research as it gets people to give a certain answer instead of the true answer of

their behaviour. Possibly leading to be false conclusions.

To avoid this bias questions should be asked in an open-ended and neutral way.

For instance: how fast were the cars going at the time of the incident?

I hope you’re enjoyed this episode of The Psychology World Podcast and hopefully the things that you have learned today will help you in your psychology research whether it be studying cognitive psychology, social psychology or any other.

Please consider to sign up for my newsletter to receive your FREE book and if you want to learn more about psychology research, please check out my book Research in Psychology.

Have a great day everyone,


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