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Copyright 2008 Psychonomic Society, Inc. 16 During its first half century, research in experimental
 

Summary: Copyright 2008 Psychonomic Society, Inc. 16
During its first half century, research in experimental
psychology was dominated by studies in which data were
collected from just a few participants over many trials.Typi-
cally, the data from each participant were analyzed sepa-
rately, and generalizations and conclusions were drawn on
thebasisoftheseanalyses.Awell-knownandhighlyinfluen-
tial example of this approach can be found in Ebbinghaus's
(1885/1913) classic book Memory: A Contribution to Ex-
perimental Psychology, which mostly describes a series of
experiments with a single participant--namely, Ebbinghaus
himself. During the last 50 years, there has been a dramatic
shift away from such studies in favor of experiments in
which many fewer data are collected from many more par-
ticipants. This type of experiment has so come to dominate
many areas of psychology that some journals virtually re-
fuse to publish other kinds of studies.
Clearly, more data are almost always better than less
data, so the optimal experiment might collect data from
many participants over many trials. However, collecting

  

Source: Ashby, F. Gregory - Department of Psychology, University of California at Santa Barbara

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences