Upcoming Courses

go to course
The Practical Guide to Usability
89% booked. Starts in 6 days
go to course
The Ultimate Guide to Visual Perception and Design
83% booked. Starts in 12 days
 
 

Featured chapter

Marc Hassenzahl explains the fascinating concept of User Experience and Experience Design. Commentaries by Don Norman, Eric Reiss, Mark Blythe, and Whitney Hess

User Experience and Experience Design !

 
 

Our Latest Books

 
 
The Social Design of Technical Systems: Building technologies for communities. 2nd Edition
by Brian Whitworth and Adnan Ahmad
start reading
 
 
 
 
Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software
by Janaki Mythily Kumar and Mario Herger
start reading
 
 
 
 
The Social Design of Technical Systems: Building technologies for communities
by Brian Whitworth and Adnan Ahmad
start reading
 
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed.
by Mads Soegaard and Rikke Friis Dam
start reading
 
 

Ecological validity

The extent to which the conditions simulated in the laboratory reflect real life conditions. Using an experimental laboratory-based research method, as has been the tradition in Cognitive Psychology, rigorous control for confounding variables is put in place and the ideal is that the researcher can study the only the phenomenon of interest. By manipulating variables (so-called independent variables) in the experimental setup and observing the changes that result (measured in the change of the dependent variable) the researcher can infer causality: If (independant) variable X is changed, (dependant) variable Y also changes. By rigorously controlling for confounding variables and confining the experiment to the laboratory, the results can very well lack applicability and generalisability with regards to the richness of everyday life. Ecological validity referes to an acknowledgment of the fact that human action is situated and highly contigent on contextual factors/variables. To obtain 'valid' results, humans should be studied in the richness of their natural environment.

The same shift from laboratory-based to more 'ecological' research methods is not only evident in Cognitive Psychology, but also in the HCI community where traditional laboratory-based usability-tests are overtaken by observing the user or conducting user experiments in the user's natural context (the context of use).
 

Join our community and advance:

Your
Skills

Your
Network

Your
Career

 
Join our community!
 
 

User-contributed notes

Give us your opinion! Do you have any comments/additions
that you would like other visitors to see?

 
comment You (your email) say: Oct 1st, 2014
#1
Oct 1
Add a thoughtful commentary or note to this page ! 
 

will be spam-protected
How many?
= e.g. "6"
User ExperienceBy submitting you agree to the Site Terms
 
 
 

References

 what's this?

Gibson, James J. (1979): The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. New Jersey, USA, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Mook, D. G. (1983): In defence of external invalidity. In American Psychologist, 38 pp. 379-387.

Mook, D. G. (1989): The myth of external validity. In: Poon, L. W., Rubin, D. C. and Wilson, B. A (eds.). "Everyday cognition in adulthood and late life". Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Presspp. 25-43

Neisser, Ulric (1976): Cognition and Reality: Principles and Implications of Cognitive Psychology. W. H. Freeman and Co