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Last updated on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.



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Reactivity, in the context of cognitive and decision sciences, refers to the phenomenon where individuals modify their behavior or responses when they are aware of being observed or studied, potentially leading to altered outcomes compared to their natural, uninfluenced state.

The Intriguing Concept of Reactivity in Cognitive Science

Reactivity, within the realm of cognitive science and decision sciences, refers to the phenomenon where individuals modify their behavior in response to the awareness of being observed or studied.

Understanding Reactivity

This concept has significant implications in research settings, impacting the validity and reliability of study results. When participants in a study know they are being observed, their behavior might not accurately represent their natural responses, leading to skewed data.

Types of Reactivity

There are two main types of reactivity: the Hawthorne effect and the observer effect. The Hawthorne effect occurs when participants alter their behavior because they know they are being studied, while the observer effect refers to changes in behavior resulting from the presence of an observer.

Managing Reactivity in Research

To mitigate the effects of reactivity, researchers employ various methods such as double-blind studies, where neither the participants nor the researchers know the experimental conditions, and the use of indirect measures to gather data without direct observation.

In conclusion, reactivity is a crucial consideration in cognitive science and decision sciences research, necessitating careful planning and methodological approaches to ensure the accuracy and reliability of study outcomes.


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