Biology - Science for Life - With Physiology , Edition: 4th by C. Belk, V. Maier

By C. Belk, V. Maier

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Extra resources for Biology - Science for Life - With Physiology , Edition: 4th ed.

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Scientists and human research subjects may have strong opinions about the truth of a particular hypothesis even before it is tested. These opinions may cause participants to unfairly influence, or bias, the results of an experiment. One potential source of bias is subject expectation. Individual experimental subjects may consciously or unconsciously model the behavior they feel the researcher expects from them. For example, an individual who knew she was receiving echinacea tea may have felt confident that she would recover more quickly.

Doctors later reported on the incidence and severity of colds among participants in the study. Note that while the cold virus was applied to each participant in the study, the researchers had no influence on the stress level of the study participants—in other words, this was not a controlled experiment because people were not randomly assigned to different “treatments” of low or high stress. Stop & Stretch Even though the researchers did not manipulate the independent variable in this study, there are still an independent variable and a dependent variable.

This variable is stress, and the graph ranks subjects along a scale of stress level—from low stress on the left edge of the scale to high stress on the right. The vertical axis of the graph, the y-axis, is the dependent variable—the percentage of study participants who developed colds as reported by their doctors. Each point on the graph represents a group of individuals and tells us what percentage of people in each stress category had clinical colds. The line connecting the 5 points on the graph illustrates a correlation— the relationship between stress level and susceptibility to cold virus infections.

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