Bad Methods Drive out Good: The Curse of Imagination in Social Psychology Research

Bogdan Wojciszke , Konrad Bocian


We agree with Doliński (2018, this issue) that behavior is disappearing as an object of study of contemporary social psychology and it has been increasingly replaced by verbal declarations of imagined behaviors, which are analyzed as dependent variables. We read this as a case of a methodological version of Gresham’s law: “bad methods drive out good”. We notice a complementary trend on the side of manipulations of independent variables. Instead of manipulating real situations, researchers frequently instruct their participants to imagine these situations. In effect, social psychology drifts to studying imaginary behaviors in imagined situations and this poses a serious threat for the validity of our findings. We present one study comparing responses to imagined and actually experienced situations (concerning moral judgment and trust) and find that these two types of situation produce divergent responses. We conclude that imagined situations cannot be a source of knowledge about responses in situations that people really experience.
Author Bogdan Wojciszke (Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie)
Bogdan Wojciszke,,
- Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie
, Konrad Bocian (Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie)
Konrad Bocian,,
- Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie
Journal seriesSocial Psychological Bulletin, ISSN 1896-1800, e-ISSN 2569-653X, (B 13 pkt)
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in Englishmoral judgment, trust, imaginary situations, Gresham’s law in psychological research
Languageen angielski
SPB_Bad Mehods_Wojciszke_Bocian_2018.pdf 156.59 KB
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Bad methods_Bocian_Afiliacja 201817012019.pdf 335.46 KB
afiliacja_prof.Wojciszke_Bad Methods Drive out Good.pdf 15.83 KB
Score (nominal)13
Score sourcejournalList
Citation count*6 (2021-02-27)
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