The term “ecological validity” is used to reflect how much a study reflects the way a participant would respond in a real-world situation, or how much a study “reflects naturally occurring or everyday situations” (reference)
Loftus and Palmer 's (reference cited in reference) study focused on the reliability of witness memory after being shown footage of a car collision, and more specifically whether the power of suggestion could alter the recall. Participants were shown video footage of a car collision and were subsequently asked a question about the travelling speed of the car. The independent variable was the language used when asking the participants the question, and the study measured whether or not the answers given by participants differed based on the independent variable.
Loftus and Palmer u...
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... owes much to insights derived from behaviourism” (reference everywhere).
This suggests that even when studies have low ecological validity, or are even not directly studying humans, they develop questions which scientists can then apply to studies in humans. This is an example of a way low ecological validity can still be relevant in psychological study.
In summary, this work has sought to explore the role of ecological validity in psychological research, and has attempted to give a balanced view as to whether ecological validity is important when conducting a study, and whether it is useful or not for a study to have high ecological validity. It has drawn on three major studies in order to explore the relelvance of ecological validity in each of the studies, and then reflected more broadly on the wider role it plays, with particular focus on reliability and ethics.
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