Experimenter Philosophy: the Problem of Experimenter Bias in Experimental Philosophy

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (3):457-467 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

It has long been known that scientists have a tendency to conduct experiments in a way that brings about the expected outcome. Here, we provide the first direct demonstration of this type of experimenter bias in experimental philosophy. Opposed to previously discovered types of experimenter bias mediated by face-to-face interactions between experimenters and participants, here we show that experimenters also have a tendency to create stimuli in a way that brings about expected outcomes. We randomly assigned undergraduate experimenters to receive two different hypotheses about folk intuitions of consciousness, and then asked them to design experiments based on their hypothesis. Specifically, experimenters generated sentences ascribing intentional and phenomenal mental states to groups, which were later rated by online participants for naturalness. We found a significant interaction between experimenter hypothesis and participant ratings indicating a general tendency for experimenters to obtain the result that they expected. These results indicate that experimenter bias is a real problem in experimental philosophy since the methods and design employed here mirror the predominant survey methods of the field as a whole. The bearing of the current results on Knobe and Prinz’s :67–83, 2008) group mind hypothesis is discussed, and new methods for avoiding experimenter bias are proposed.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,386

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The experimenter's expectancy effect: A meta-experiment.Siu L. Chow - 1994 - Zeitschrift Für Pädagogische Psychologie / German Journal of Educational Psychology 8 (2):89-97.
Causal Explanation in Laboratory Ecology: The Case of Competitive Indeterminacy.James R. Griesemer - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:337 - 344.
Direct Inference and Randomization.Isaac Levi - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:447 - 463.
Simulating the unconscious.Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen - 2005 - Psychoanalysis and History 7 (1):5-20.
Significance tests and deduction: Reply to folger (1989).Siu L. Chow - 1989 - Psychological Bulletin 106 (1):161-165.

Analytics

Added to PP
2012-08-26

Downloads
192 (#100,415)

6 months
10 (#255,509)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Brent Strickland
Institut Jean Nicod

References found in this work

Survey-Driven Romanticism.Simon Cullen - 2010 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):275-296.

View all 16 references / Add more references