Anderson, C.A., & Bushman, B.J. (1997). 

External validity of "trivial" experiments: The case of laboratory aggression. 

Review of General Psychology, 1, 19-41. 


The external validity of artificial "trivial" laboratory settings is examined. Past views emphasizing generalizability of relations among conceptual variables are reviewed and affirmed. One major implication of typical challenges to the external validity of laboratory research is tested using aggression research: If laboratory research is low in external validity, then laboratory studies should fail to detect relations among variables that are correlated with aggression in "real world" studies. Meta-analysis was used to examine 5 situational variables (provocation, violent media, alcohol, anonymity, hot temperature) and 3 individual difference variables (sex, Type A personality, trait aggressivenss) in "real world" and laboratory aggression studies. Results strongly supported the external validity of "trivial" laboratory studies. Advice is given on how scholars might handle occasional descrepancies between laboratory and real world findings.

 © 1996 by the Educational Publishing Foundation.

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