Dull Rats and Bright Rats

Dull Rats and Bright Rats

Dull Rats and Bright Rats


The aim of this particular study was to examine whether or not experimenter effects can occur in studies of animal behaviour and the null hypothesis suggested was that there would be no significant change in the behaviour of the animals, regardless of the experimenter’s mental expectations. The research hypothesis for this experiment was the ‘unconscious mental expectations’ of the student subjects’ would influence the outcome of the rat’s time trials and would show that the ‘subjects’ expectations of their rats would somehow ‘inadvertently’ affect the behaviour of their group of rats.

The independent variable in this experiment was the participant’s belief about the relative ability of their group of rats – either ‘maze-bright’ or ‘maze-dull’ and the dependant variable was the mean (average) number of correct responses per rat per day over a five-day period. A potential confounding variable in the study could’ve been the various different ages that the rats were as the older the rats, the more advanced their senses and motor skills would have developed, which would’ve affected the results and validity of the study. Another could have possibly been the 23-hour food deprivation period that the rats had before the experiment as their senses and motor skills could have been decreased, as their bodies weren’t receiving any energy from food. This could’ve had an indirect effect on how the subjects expected their rats to train because the rats could have been potentially easier to train, however they were starving and weren’t completely focused on differentiating between the two colours.

The operational definitions used in this study are:
* The result of experimenter unconscious mental expectations of how the behaviour of the subject/outcome of the study will be and how they affect the validity and final outcomes of studies and experiments.


The design used in this study is stated as ‘a basic...

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