Regardless of when participants are tested across the life span, a fundamental issue in psychological research is to what extent (the outcome of) laboratory testing has any bearing whatsoever on (actions taken in) real life. This issue is captured in the concept of ecological validity, an element of external validity of research. This entry (a) discusses ecological validity in the context of experimental control and (b) indicates ways of improving on ecological validity.

Research: Internal and External Validities

Internal Validity

A critical feature of psychological research—and in general of behavioral research—is that all relevant factors of experiments are under the control of the experimenter, such that unambiguous conclusions can be drawn from data regarding the relation between dependent and independent variables. In other words, the researcher’s goal is ...

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