Article

Examining ecological validity in social interaction: problems of visual fidelity, gaze, and social potential

Details

Citation

Reader AT & Holmes NP (2016) Examining ecological validity in social interaction: problems of visual fidelity, gaze, and social potential. Culture and Brain, 4 (2), pp. 134-146. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40167-016-0041-8

Abstract
Social interaction is an essential part of the human experience, and much work has been done to study it. However, several common approaches to examining social interactions in psychological research may inadvertently either unnaturally constrain the observed behaviour by causing it to deviate from naturalistic performance, or introduce unwanted sources of variance. In particular, these sources are the differences between naturalistic and experimental behaviour that occur from changes in visual fidelity (quality of the observed stimuli), gaze (whether it is controlled for in the stimuli), and social potential (potential for the stimuli to provide actual interaction). We expand on these possible sources of extraneous variance and why they may be important. We review the ways in which experimenters have developed novel designs to remove these sources of extraneous variance. New experimental designs using a ‘two-person’ approach are argued to be one of the most effective ways to develop more ecologically valid measures of social interaction, and we suggest that future work on social interaction should use these designs wherever possible.

Keywords
Social interaction; Ecological validity; Gaze; Visual fidelity; Social potential; Two-person

Journal
Culture and Brain: Volume 4, Issue 2

StatusPublished
FundersEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication date31/10/2016
Publication date online22/09/2016
Date accepted by journal13/09/2016
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/31433
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC
ISSN2193-8652
eISSN2193-8660

People (1)

People

Dr Arran Reader
Dr Arran Reader

Lecturer in Psychology, Psychology