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Laboratory experiments are a research method by which researchers create controllable environments to test hypotheses. Laboratories used for academic research are rooms or specifically designed spaces within buildings typically located on college and university campuses. It is important to distinguish between experiments and other types of research studies conducted in laboratory spaces. A research study that occurs in a laboratory space does not necessarily make it an experiment. Laboratory experiments, like all true experimental designs, incorporate techniques of random assignment of participants and control groups to assess causal inferences about the relationships between independent and dependent variables. Although researchers conduct experiments in various settings, a laboratory provides the best control of manipulation conditions (i.e., tested variables), participants, and the environment.

A basic laboratory experiment involves participants ...

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