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Thread: Control Groups in Experiments: Do I need a "non affected" subject?

  1. #1 Control Groups in Experiments: Do I need a "non affected" subject? 
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    Hey there...

    Doing my first experiment breakdown and I'm doing a hypothetical study on diet. One controlled group will be given "healthy" meal plans, the other, a diet of fast food believed to be not-so-good for you. My question for the forum is, what value (if any) is there in having a 3rd group be measured with no dietary changes whatsoever?

    THIS IS NOT A REAL EXPERIMENT, just a breakdown assignment for Psych 101. Any argument for or against a 3rd party would be greatly appreciated!

    M


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    Genius Duck Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    The advantage in having a control group is precisely that: a control.
    Say that one group (the fast food) puts on weight.
    Without the control group then the "conclusion" would be that fast food causes weight gain.
    However if the control group also puts on weight then there'd be reason to suppose that fast food itself isn't the (sole) reason for that weight increase.
    Likewise if the "healthy" group and the control group display similar benefits then that'd be an indicator that "healthy" diets are in fact no more healthy than a "normal" one.


    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeonaMonday View Post
    One controlled group will be given "healthy" meal plans, the other, a diet of fast food believed to be not-so-good for you.
    Just to clarify, when you say "diet of fast food believed to be not-so-good for you", does that mean that the people would actually be fed a good diet, but told it's fast food for which they are led to believe by the experimenters is not good for one's health? IOW's is it a placebo effect test or something along those lines? However it is Psych and I was wondering why they might be concerned about a poor diet. It could be more of a head experiment then concern over unhealthy diets?

    If so the 3rd party would be fed genuine fast food, people who are already aware it's a bad diet. Am I on the right track?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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