Sample Bias

A lot of psychological research has been conducted in the US. This has led some psychologists to argue that this research may lack population validity. It may not tell us something universal about human behaviour.

Milgram and Zimbardo advertised in newspapers for participants for their studies. The people who replied to these adverts may not be representative of the wider population and may not even be representative of the target population. This self-selecting group may be different. This may mean that the findings of these studies may not tell us something meaningful about all human behaviour in these situations.

The link below will take you to a study that investigated the hypothesis that the people who replied to the advert placed by Zimbardo for the Stanford Prison Study may not have been representative of the target population. They may have been different to the majority of people. They may have been more aggressive and dominant. This would have important implications for the validity of the findings of this study.

Revisiting the Stanford prison Experiment:Could Participant Self-selection Have Led to the Cruelty?

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