The beginning of the 21st century saw incline in two key trends, first being the overwhelming use of the web. According to the Internet World Stats (2012), approximately 250 million people were seen online worldwide in December 1999 that is equal to 4% of the total population. And towards the end of 2010, the number inclined to 2 billion. And the second key trend was the increased performance of hardware, which eventually led to development or enhancement on the web experience. This growth had a clear impact on psychological research. This made the participants recruitment practices to be easier and the sample population became a representation of the general public. This innovation in technology has made it easier to examine cognitive aging for the whole lifespan which was a tedious task while running the experiment in the lab. In 2004-2005, one of the largest psychology experiments was conducted in conjugation with BBC with 250,000 participants which completed in exactly 40 minutes (Reimers, 2007). Now the tools like Java and Flash are been used by many psychologists for conducting researches illuminating the case of disruptive innovation where the technology that was designed for some other purpose is serving an objective for something it was not designed for. Engstrom (1987) stated that the tools have a higher number of uses as compared to those which are envisaged by the inventors of these tools. The building up of the virtual world has also helped the researchers to model an individual’s behavior in real situations as provided in Chapter 2. The use of technology and the virtual world has provided an edge to the researchers in the field of obedience and further has helped to raise various queries regarding the impact of virtual world and its people.
Furthermore, the changes in testing have also essentially changed numerous features of psychology. IQ tests and personality assessments that were once finished with the pencil as well as paper are presently finished on PCs. As PC innovation has created, tests have developed correspondingly. Test takers utilizing PCs can be sustained diverse inquiries taking into account their answers to past inquiries. Research diagnosticians and psychologists use these methods have been used as an advantage for creating accurate and precise assessments.
Clear favorable circumstances of web-based research are directly identified with the sample populace. To start with, the recruitment of a large number of participants is conceivable at negligible expense and effort. Second, it permits specialists for recruiting a considerably more representative sample of members relative to the research being performed. Furthermore, it reduces the effects and bias of the demands of the experimenter in the experiments, as there is a possibility that the participants act the way the environments created by the experimenter wants them to act and in some cases, the experimenter might give unobtrusive signs about how the participant ought to act.
Apparently, making research less demanding and easier can encourage the poorly designed or speculative experiment "just to see", and subsequently the risks that inflate the possibility of finding out the false positive outcomes. It further becomes practically feasible and economical for running various examinations, and to publish the critical discoveries. The replication is a critical issue during psychological research (Pashler and Wagenmakers, 2012), the use of the internet has helped to deal with the issue. For example, a website known as Psych File Drawer documenting the replication of any existing research is not accepted in the journals.
As noticed by Sumner (2012), the upcoming era of the researchers are utilizing the web for accessing and managing the data and information, work together over countries, and further disseminate as well as promote the research study by utilizing the social media. It has additionally encouraged the peer review process which has prompted an innovative approach for publishing the researches. Taking the example of the diary PLoS ONE which published on the web, and possesses a review procedure for assessing essential experimental rigor. However, it also rejects the significance or effect as criteria for rejection or acceptance. Rather, it permits its readers to submit their remarks that are accessible alongside reference and online networking metrics (like Facebook share and blog commenting), which gives their readers a chance to settle on and talk about the importance of the article.
As given in Chapter 6, albeit these social networking websites had been developed decades ago, but it was to a great extent from 2010 that the psychologists began to examine these. Research has analyzed the portrayal of individuals on these social networking sites (Back et al., 2010), the degree to which Facebook data can foresee potential employability (Kluemper and Rosen, 2009) and the significance of social media in diminishing the risky behavior (Rice et al., 2010).
However, various drawbacks have also been found in the use of technology. The reliability of the data usually poses an alarming issue as the participants who are imposed on less social pressure have to take the test seriously and might behave awkwardly. Other cases involve dishonesty regarding their demographics causing the serious issue. Cases of multiple submissions from a single participant have also been seen.
The testing is done by computers also has various disadvantages. The technical difficulties also change or alter the outcomes. There is a need for psychologists to understand all the potential problems along with the computerized testing for addressing all these tests accurately and accordingly to diagnose the problem or the personality trait of the participants.
Specialized challenges can skew results as can vision issues, for example, visual weakness in test-takers. Today's analysts need to comprehend the potential issues with mechanized testing and deliver them keeping in mind the end goal to all the more precisely analyze an issue or distinguish identity attributes.
At last, various ethical differences have been found between lab-based and web-based investigations. In the absence of an experimenter during the research, many participants can become uneasy and even confused when they approach the end of the experiment. This leads to a lack of support from the participants as he would not be able to impose questions. The participants can't without much of a stretch be screened for age or psychological well-being as the participant can close the web browser at any point in the research. Then again, the absence of social pressure to proceed notwithstanding when feeling uncomfortable makes possibly for holding an ethical and acceptable experiment.
As far as configuration and implementation, most of the early studies were genuinely basic, utilizing HTML structures for capturing the data and information from all the participants, fundamental dynamic page development (utilizing CGI), and frequently restricting all the stimuli to the composed situations or decisions. For instance, Birnbaum (2000) gave all the participants a series of decisions including all the risky choices.
A little number of studies utilized pictures, and a not very many likewise utilized sound stimuli (Musch and Reips, 2000), however by far most adhered to straightforward content based plans, not slightest due concerns regarding about presentational consistency. Adhering to these systems implied that research focused on the specific areas that could utilize them, for instance, measures that require the planning of reactions, for which no confirmation of unwavering quality was accessible or avoiding the work on purpose especially where the auditory or visual stimuli were required.
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Pashler, H., & Wagenmakers, E. J. (2012). Editors’ Introduction to the Special Section on Replicability in Psychological Science A Crisis of Confidence? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7, 528-530.
Sumner, N. (2012) Developing the digital researcher. Retrieved, 23 January 2013, from http://www.icicte.org/Proceedings2012/Papers/05-1-Sumner.pdf.
Musch, J., & Reips, U. D. (2000). A brief history of Web experimenting. In M. Birnbaum (Ed) Psychological experiments on the Internet. Academic Press.
Internet World Stats (2012. Retrieved 23 January 2013 from http://www.internetworldstats.com/emarketing.htm
Reimers, S., & Stewart, N. (2007). Adobe Flash as a medium for online experimentation: A test of reaction time measurement capabilities. Behavior Research Methods, 39(3), 365- 370.
Kluemper, D. H., & Rosen, P. A. (2009). Future employment selection methods: evaluating social networking web sites. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 24(6), 567-580.
Rice, E., Monro, W., Barman-Adhikari, A., & Young, S. D. (2010). Internet use, social networking, and HIV/AIDS risk for homeless adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 47(6), 610-613.
Birnbaum, M. H. (Ed.). (2000). Psychological experiments on the Internet. Academic Press.