Experimentalism

This movement in psychology is an outgrowth from the physical sciences, is an empirical methodology or a procedure for learning from sense experience by testing hypotheses derived from theory.

This orientation is an empirical methodology, a procedure for learning from sense experience by testing hypotheses derived from theory. Often called experimental psychology, experimentalism derives from nineteenth century Newtonian physics.

Investigators systematically change a concrete environmental variable of interest (the ’cause’) and record any resulting change in human or animal behaviour (the “effect”). At the same time, the researcher uses various elements of design in the experiment to make sure that no irrelevant factors compete for causal status with the environmental variable he systematically changes.

Thus the use of controls is said to eliminate alternative explanations to the variable of interest, a procedure which is fundamental to the demonstration of cause and effect. Experimentalism is a general orientation which overlaps with most specific approaches to psychology.

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