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Psychologists recognize that research involves social dynamics because participants and experimenters interact during a testing session and affect the behavior of one another. One aspect of this interaction involves a participant’s attempt to determine what the researcher is examining and to conform to the researcher’s expectations. This phenomenon characterizes the research artifact known as demand characteristics. That is, demand characteristics involve perceived expectations or demands placed on the participant that in reality are unrelated to an experimental manipulation.

Researchers have been explicitly aware of this phenomenon since at least the beginning of the 20th century, but systematic attention to it did not surface until psychologist Martin Orne raised the issue in connection with research in social psychology in the 1960s. Using hypnosis as an example, Orne ...

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