Lesson Idea: Introducing Researcher Bias

Travis DixonUncategorized


This lesson works well in the introductory unit after students have been introduced to the idea of the scientific approach in psychology (see other lesson idea here).


The aim of this lesson is to introduce students to the process of thinking critically about research methodology and how researcher bias may influence “research.”


The following video produced by Beldent chewing gum leads viewers to make certain claims about the benefits of chewing gum.

In pairs or groups of three, students should watch the following video which is an advertisement created by Beldent chewing gum (the sound doesn’t matter so they don’t need earphones). While they’re watching the video, they should try to answer this question:

  • What conclusions can you to make about chewing gum from this study? (in other words, What does this study show about chewing gum?)
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lM49slVLkU]

After they’ve watched the video they should discuss with their group members and write down notes in their workbooks.

A class discussion can follow after everyone has finished.


Pose these questions to students to consider and discuss in groups before sharing as a class:

  • Are you convinced by this “study” that chewing gum will have the effect Beldent claims?
  • What are some of the ways the “researchers” might have been biased?
    • Hint: think about the types of questions they asked, the people they used, the situation, etc.
  • Is this study “credible?” Why, or why not?


  • What was the independent variable in this experiment?
  • What was the dependent variable in this experiment?
  • State the aim of this experiment. (An aim must have the IV and DV in it).