Seventy-one male students in the introduc- tory psychology course at Stanford University were used in the experiment. In this course, students are required to spend a certain num- ber of hours as subjects (Ss) in experiments. They choose among the available experiment by signing their names on a sheet posted on the bulletin board which states the nature of the experiment. The present experiment was listed

what the E was interested in and that these tasks, and how the S worked on them, was the total experiment. From our point of view the experiment had hardly started. The hour which the S spent working on the repetitive, monot- onous tasks was intended to provide, for each S uniformly, an experience about which he would have a somewhat negative opinion.

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After the half hour on the second task was over, the E conspicuously set the stop watch back to zero, put it away, pushed his chair back, lit a cigarette, and said:

O.K. Well, that’s all we have in the experiment itself. I’d like to explain what this has been all about so you’ll have some idea of why you were doing this. [E pauses.] Well, the way the experiment is set up is this. There are actually two groups in the experiment. In one, the group you were in, we bring the subject in and give him essentially no introduction to the experi- ment. That is, all we tell him is what he needs to know in order to do the tasks, and he has no idea of what the experiment is all about, or what it’s going to be like, or anything like that. But in the other group, we have a student that we’ve hired that works for us regularly, and what I do is take him into the next room where the subject is waiting—the same room you were waiting in before—and I introduce him as if he had just finished being a subject in the experiment. That is, I say: “Thi is so-and-so, who’s just finished the experiment, and I’ve asked him to tell you a little of what it’s about before you start.” The fellow who works for us then, in conversation with the next subject, makes these points: [The E then produced a sheet headed “For Group B” which had written on it: It was very enjoy- able, I had a lot of fun, I enjoyed myself, it was very interesting, it was intriguing, it was exciting. The E showed this to the S and then proceeded with his false explanation of the purpose of the experiment.] Now, of course, we have this student do this, because if the experimenter does it, it doesn’t look as realistic, and what we’re interested in doing is comparing how these two groups do on the experiment—the one with this previous expectation about the experiment, and the other, like yourself, with essentially none.

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