Identify the following nine threats to internal validity: history, maturation, regression, attrition, testing, instrumentation, observer bias, demand characteristics, and placebo effects.

Learning Goal: I’m working on a psychology exercise and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

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Chapter 11 Learning Goals (keep the following questions in mind as you read the chapter)

  1. Review three threats to internal validity: design confounds, selection effects, and order effects.
    1. Identify the following nine threats to internal validity: history, maturation, regression, attrition, testing, instrumentation, observer bias, demand characteristics, and placebo effects.
    2. Explain how comparison groups, double-blind studies, and other design choices can help researchers avoid many of these threats to internal validity.
    3. Articulate the reasons why a study might result in null effects: not enough variance between groups, too much variance within groups, or a true null effect.
    4. Describe at least two ways in which a study might show inadequate variance between groups, and indicate how researchers can identify such problems.
    5. Explain why large within-groups variance can obscure a between-groups difference.
    6. Describe three causes of within-groups variance—measurement error, individual differences, and situation noise—and indicate how each might be reduced.



Use the chapter reviews to help guide you through the reading. As you read, stop to paraphrase the definition of each of the following key terms.

After you finish reading, answer the five review questions below.

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Chapter Eleven Review

Define each of the terms. Write a definition in your own words.

  1. One-group, pretest/posttest
  2. Maturation Threat
  3. History Threat
  4. Regression Threat
  5. Regression to the Mean
  6. Attrition Threat
  7. Testing Threat
  8. Instrumentation Threat
  9. Slection-history Threat
  10. Slection-attrition Threat
  11. Observer Bias
  12. Demand Characteristics
  13. Double-blind Study
  14. Masked Design
  15. Placebo Effect
  16. Double-blind Placebo Effect
  17. Null Effect
  18. Ceiling Effect
  19. Manipulation Check
  20. Noise
  21. Measurement Error
  22. Situation Noise
  23. Power

Review Questions

The scenarios described in items 1below contain threats to internal validityFor each scenario:

  1. Identify the independent variable (IVand dependent variable (DV).
  2. Identify the design (posttestonlypretest/posttestrepeated measuresonegrouppretest/posttest).
  3. Sketch graph of the results. (ReminderPut the dependent variable on the yaxis.)
  4. Decide whether the study is subject to any of the internal validity threats listed in Table 11.1.
  5. Indicate whether you could redesign the study to correct or prevent any of the internal validity threats.

1. For his senior thesis, Jack was interested in viewing whether viewing alcohol advertising would cause college students to drink more alcohol. Jack recruited 25 students for a week-long study. On Monday and Tuesday, he had them use a secure website to record how many alcoholic beverages they had consumed the day before. On Wednesday, he showed them a 30-minute TV show interspersed with entertaining ads for alcohol. The students were asked again on Thursday and Friday to report their alcohol consumption. Jack found that students increased drinking after seeing the advertising and concluded that advertising caused them to drink.

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