Psychology – social psychology

Social Psychology Social Psychology In social psychology, validity is usually the extent to which a given test measures whateverit claims to be measuring. It is usually essential for a test to be extremely valid in order for the findings to be accurately interpreted and applied. In relation validity, there are two types of validity: Internal validity and external validity. Internal validity is essentially a measure that ensures a given researcher’s experiment follows the principle of cause and effect closely in its design (Fiske, Gilbert & Lindsey 2010, p. 326). External validity, on the other hand, deals with the extent effect of a given research can be generalized to settings, populations, measurable valuables and treatment variables. In short, it deals with generalization. External validity, on the other hand, also got two sub-types: Ecological and Population validity (Ress & Judd 200, p. 77). Ecological validity simply implies the extent to which a given condition simulated in the laboratory could reflect to real life condition (Tedeschi & Lindskold 2007, p. 200). In this validity, they use experimental research method conducted in laboratories. The researcher in this case usually has many variables to choose from but picks those which interests him or her and continues with the research. The researcher usually manipulates variables, (independent variables), in a given experimental setup and then observes the changes that result in changes in dependent variable. In social psychology, validity is usually the extent of the results (changes in dependent variables) that the researcher can infer causality. In the experiment, altering the independent variable X changes the dependent variable Y too. The researcher rigorously controlling for confounding variables, plus confines the given experiment to a laboratory setting. Hence ecological validity implies to the acknowledgement of the fact that individual action can be situated and highly contingent when certain variables change. It also bases on the fact that humans need to be studied in the environment that is the same as their natural environment (Gibson 1979, p. 43). Studies conducted away from the laboratory setting have ecological validity if situated in natural settings. For instance, in accordance to Stanford prison experiment, people were led to believe that was what was happening to the real world since it was a natural experiment set in a prison. In a natural experiment, ecological validity exists since the experiment setting is in an environment more natural to them. In Stanford prison experiment, researchers studied the effect prison had on good people (Philip 1971, p. 45). The researchers after staying in the prisons for a couple of days realized that they became more sadistic while treating the prisoners and the prisoners became sadder. In such a case, how people behave in real life is clearly demonstrated. Since the study took place in a natural setting, prison environment, the results were more real in relation to that setting. In addition, studies conducted in the laboratory lack ecological validity and findings got from them may not sometimes be of value to what happens in the real environment. In a laboratory setting, one is usually aware that he or she is under scrutiny and may try to suppress some behavior. People are more comfortable in their natural settings since they are able to express their behaviors and, furthermore, they do not know if they are under watch. In addition, individuals situated in laboratory settings tend to be cautious of expressing certain behaviors. In the end, laboratory experiments in as much as they are able to get a strong hand on dependent and independent variables, but such studies lack ecological validity (Braumu 2003, p. 326). In some laboratory experiments, the data obtained can be valuable to real life in case the people are not aware of being watched or the experiment carried out on them (Christine 2000, p. 36). Sometimes people can be observed keenly while in the laboratory setting without knowing their knowing. Such experiments usually provide near to real life data though may lack ecological validity. Laboratory experiments, which individuals are aware of the objective of the experiment, in most cases, has a poor outcome in relation to what happens in real life since got a tendency of being bias (Christine 2000, p. 40). In conclusion, validity is an immensely fundamental concept when conducting researches. Laboratory experiments in general usually lack ecological validity since some may not be is a representative of what happens in real life (Christine 2000, p. 37). In other situations, where a given person is under observation in the laboratory without their knowledge, can sometimes provide findings related to what happens in real life. It is usually the natural experiment that provides researches with the high ecological validity due to individual’s behaviors under study in a natural environment. All in all, for proper research of social psychology, sometimes the natural environment is the best option for the research.