Laney et al. (Evaluation Essay)

P – Point (Strength/Weakness)E – Explain the pointE – Example from the studyR – Relate to the point on why is it a strength / weakness in the study
High in reliabilityThe extent to which a procedure, task, or measure is consistent. That it would produce the same results with the same people on each occasion.All participants completed the Food History Inventory (FHI) which consisted of 24 items including the critical item “Loved asparagus the first time you tried it” in the 16th position. Participants rated each item on a scale of 1 = definitely did not happen and 8 = definitely did happen before the age of 10.The standardised inventory and placement of critical item given to all participants, eases the process of replication of future research hence the study has high reliability.
Low on ecological validityThis refers to the extent that the setting a study has been conducted is relevant to everyday life. This is as the study is low in mundane realism with the task given to participants not something that happens in everyday life.For example, participants had to complete the Restaurant Questionnaire by rating 32 dishes presented on a menu-like form with 5 courses on a 1 – 8 scale in terms of how likely they would be to order each dish such as sautéed asparagus spears at a dinner, regardless of its price.Completing the pencil-and paper tasks may not involve the same process as choosing to eat or not eat a specific food in a restaurant setting making the task nothing like real-life ones thus lacking mundane realism.
High in validityThe extent a researcher is testing what they claim to be testing. This is because there is low demand characteristics as participants are unaware of the true aim of the study and are more likely to show natural behaviours.For example, the participants were told that their data will be used to study food preferences on personality in the first experiment and were given filler questionnaires to match the cover story. The filler questionnaires given were social desirability scale, personality measure, and eating habits.This shows that the participants were less likely to suspect that they were deceived and more likely to behave naturally and provide answers that reflect their true thoughts. Hence, this study is high in validity as we can confidently conclude that it is possible to implant false memories and induce healthier eating habits.
Low on generalisabilityThe extent to which the findings of this study can be applied to other settings and populations. This is because Laney recruited an unequal number of male and female participants which may have led to gender bias.For example, 77% of the sample from the first experiment were females. The results from this experiment showed that only 2 male subjects which is 18% of the male subjects and 20 female subjects which is 57% of the female subjects, met the criteria to be labeled as believers.This shows that there may be individual differences between male and females in terms of how likely they are to believe in false feedback. Hence, this study is low in generalizability as the results may not be applicable to males.
Quantitative data (Weakness)A weakness of this study is that it uses quantitative data which leads to reductionism. Reductionism is over-simplifying the behavior of a person by reducing complex behaviours into numerical data.For example, the complexity of the desire to eat a certain type of food was reduced into a likert scale from 1 to 8 with 1 indicating definitely no and 8 indicating yes in the Restaurant Questionnaire (RQ). The result in the first experiment for the ‘love’ condition revealed that the participant’s desire to eat the critical item ‘sautéed asparagus spears’ had increased from session 1 to session 2.However, the researcher is unable to understand the reason behind the increase in ratings for the participants in the ‘love’ condition, which may not be influenced by false feedback given but other extraneous factors such as the gullibility of the participants, diet maintained, or changes in vegetables sold locally. Hence, this study suffers from reductionism.
Another strength found in this study is that the study is useful.Usefulness is the extent in which the findings of the study can help to improve the lives of people in their everyday lives.In this study, Laney et al. aim to find out whether false memory could induce intention healthier eating habits.This is useful as it could considerably help in the clinical treatment of people with general anxiety and phobia. The ability to implant false memories found in this study is associated with the positive attitudinal and behavioural consequences which could help people in leading a healthier and better life. Hence, this study is useful.

Other analysis:

Ethics: one issue in this study is deception. Some psychologists could argue that the researchers broke the ethical guideline of deception as the participants were clearly deceived. However, Laney could argue that the deception was crucial for their study to have any validity.


Example essay:

Evaluate Laney et al. One point must be the use of quantitative data.

One of the strengths of Laney et al. is that it is high in validity. Validity is the extent to which a test measures what it claims to measure. This is because there is low demand characteristics as participants are unaware of the true aim of the study and are more likely to show natural behaviours. For example, the participants were told that their data will be used to study food preferences on personality in the first experiment and were given filler questionnaires to match the cover story. The filler questionnaires given were social desirability scale, personality measures and eating habits. This shows that the participants were less likely to suspect that they were deceived and more likely to behave naturally and provide answers that reflect their true thoughts. Hence, this study is high in validity as we can confidently conclude that it is possible to implant false memories and induce healthier eating habits.

Another strength found in the study is that the study is useful. Usefulness is the extent in which the findings of the study can help to improve the lives of people in their everyday lives. In this study, Laney aimed to find out whether false memories could induce healthier eating habits. This id useful as it could considerably help in the clinical treatment of people with general anxiety and phobia. The ability to implant false memories found in this study is associated with the positive attitudinal and behavioural consequences which could help people in leading a healthier and better life. Hence, this study is useful.A weakness of this study is that is was quantitative data which leads to reductionist.

Reductionism is oversimplifying the behaviour of a person by reducing complex behaviour into numerical data.  For example, the complexity of the desire to eat a certain type of food was reduced into a Likert-scale from 0 to 8, with 0 indicating “definitely no” and 8 indicating “definitely yes” in the Restaurant questionnaire. The results in the first experiment for the love condition revealed that the participants’ desire to eat the critical item “sautéed asparagus spears” had increased from session 1 to session 2. However, the researchers is unable to understand the reason behind the increase in ratings in which the ratings of the participants in the love condition may not be influenced by the false feedback given but other extraneous factors. Hence, this study suffers from reductionism.Another weakness found in this study is that it is low in generalizability.

Generalizability is the extent to which the findings of the study can be applied to the general population. This is because Laney recruited an unequal number of male and female participants. This may have led to gender bias. For example, 77% of the sample from the first experiment was female. The results from this experiment showed that only 2 male subjects which is only 18% of the male subjects and 20 females (57%) of the female subjects met the criteria to be labelled as believers. This shows that there may be gender differences between male and female in terms on how likely they are to believe in false feedback. Hence, this study us low in generalizability as the results may not be applicable to males.