What Is a Single-Blind Study?

(Last Updated On: July 26, 2017)

In psychology, a single-blind study is a type of experiment or clinical trial in which the experimenters are aware of which subjects are receiving the treatment or independent variable, but the participants of the study are not. A study in which both the experimenters and participants are unaware of who is receiving the independent variable and who is not is known as a double-blind study

Reasons to Conduct a Single-Blind Study

  • The reason for keeping participants in the dark about what the researchers are looking for and what treatment they are receiving is to try to prevent participants from altering their behavior to conform to what they think the researchers expect.
  • Sometimes participants in a study will try to guess what a study is about or what they think the experimenters are hoping to find.
  • This can lead them to change their behavior, which can ultimately skew the results. A single-blind study can help prevent this or minimize the effects of such demand characteristics.

Example of a Single-Blind Study

For example, imagine that researchers are doing a study to determine if a certain type of medication causes people to feel more alert. If participants knew that the researchers were testing a hypothesis that the drug increased alertness, they might start acting more alert after ingesting the medication. By using a single-blind procedure and not telling the participants what they are looking for, the people who are in the study are less likely to inadvertently bias the results.

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