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Psychology Experiment Design Flaws

An experiment conducted by students that were given as aspirin at School A and sugar pills (but were told they were aspirin) for School B. The students who were given aspirin performed better on the exam than the student who were given a sugar pill .

What is the independent variable?
What is the dependent variable?
What was the effect of aspirin in this experiment?
Was there a control condition in this experiment?
What can we conclude from this experiment?

Redesign the above experiement to eliminate any design flaws.

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Solution Preview

This is fairly easy to analyze. All the questions will be treated below.

The independent variables are the receipt of the placebo and the aspirin. Who got what. Hence, there are only two.

The dependent variable is what is being explained - their performance on the exam. Of course, there is only one of these.

We don't know what the effect of aspirin was (for reasons below).

There is no a priori reason to hold that aspirin in any way enhances one's academic performance. If we said Adderall was given, then maybe we'd have a case. But aspirin? Most would just say ...

Solution Summary

Psychology experiments are examined.