Naturalistic Observation

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  • A type of observational research that involves recording ongoing behavior in an organism or individual without attempting to change it. In naturalistic observation, the observation is conducted in the actor's natural setting in such a way that the actor's behavior is disturbed as little as possible by the observation process; often, the actor is unaware that he or she is being observed. For this reason, naturalistic observation is also referred to as unobtrusive or nonreactive research (to emphasize that the actors do not react to the presence of the observer). Naturalistic observation has begun to play a more prominent role as more social scientists are becoming influenced by the methods and theories of animal behaviorists, and it is often used in psychology as a method ...

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