Experimental psychology - E xperimental psychology is a...

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Experimental psychology is a methodological approach rather than a subject and encompasses varied fields within psychology. Experimental psychologists have traditionally conducted research, published articles, and taught classes on neuroscience , developmental psychology , sensation , perception , attention , consciousness , learning , memory , thinking , and language . Recently, however, the experimental approach has extended to motivation , emotion , and social psychology . Experimental psychologists conduct research with the help of experimental methods . The concern of experimental psychology is discovering the processes underlying behavior and cognition. Branch or type of psychology concerned with employing empirical principles and procedures in the study of psychological phenomena. The experimental psychologist seeks to carry out tests under controlled conditions in order to discover an unknown effect or law, to examine or establish a hypothesis, or to illustrate a known law. The areas of study that rely most heavily on the experimental method include those of sensation and perception,learning and memory, motivation, and physiological psychology. Experimental approaches are also used in child psychology, clinical psychology, educational psychology, and social psychology. Methodology Experimental Psychologists study human behavior in different contexts. Often, human participants are instructed to perform tasks in an experimental setup. Since the 1990s, various software packages have eased stimulus presentation and the measurement of behavior in the laboratory. Apart from the measurement of response times and error rates, experimental psychologists often use surveys before, during, and after experimental intervention and observation methods. Experimental designs can be divided into three broad types: experimental, quasi- experimental and non-experimental. Experiments The complexity of human behavior and mental processes, the ambiguity with which they can be interpreted and the unconscious processes to which they are subject gives rise to an emphasis on sound methodology within experimental psychology. Control of extraneous variables , minimizing the potential for experimenter bias , counterbalancing the order of experimental tasks, adequate sample size , and the use of operational definitions which are both reliable and valid , and proper statistical analysis are central to experimental methods in psychology. As such, most undergraduate programmes in psychology include mandatory courses in Research Methods and Statistics. Other Methods While other methods of research --- case study , interview, and naturalistic observation --- are used by psychologists, the method of randomized experimentation remains the preferred method for testing hypotheses in scientific psychology.
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