On the Psychology of Watching Birds: The Problem of Observer-Expectancy Bias

  title={On the Psychology of Watching Birds: The Problem of Observer-Expectancy Bias},
  author={David F. Balph and Martha Hatch Balph},
  journal={The Auk},
seen it if I hadn't believed it" (Foster et al. 1975). The influence upon data of an observer's preconceived notions or wishes has been recognized and investigated at least since the beginning of this century. Much of the research has been in educational and social psychology and has focused upon the psychological environment in which experiments are conducted. Typical of such investigations is Cordaro and Ison's (1963) study of observers who documented the activity of planaria. Some observers… 
Experimenter expectancy bias does not explain Eurasian jays' (Garrulus glandarius) performance in a desire-state attribution task.
The results rule out the possibility that the Eurasian jay males' actions in the food sharing task could be explained by the effects of an experimenter expectancy bias.
Blind trust in unblinded observation in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
We survey 492 recent studies in the fields of ecology, evolution and behavior (EEB) to evaluate potential for observer bias and the need for blind experimentation in each study. While 248 articles
Exploring the Role of Trust and Expectations in CRI Using In-the-Wild Studies
The role of trust and expectations towards the robot in determining the success of Child–Robot Interaction (CRI) studies is explored and the effectiveness of in-the-wild methodologies for planning and executing qualitative CRI studies is argued.
Impact of an enclosure rotation on the activity budgets of two zoo-housed giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca): An observational case study
The husbandry technique of environmental enrichment is often used as a way to introduce novel stimuli into the routines of zoo-housed animals, yet objective evaluation of such techniques is rarely
Measurement artefacts lead to false positives in the study of birdsong in noise
It is demonstrated that inappropriate methodology in acoustic analysis can yield false positives with effect sizes as large, or even larger, than those reported in published studies, and psychological observer biases led to false positives.
Observer Effects and Avian-Call-Count Survey Quality: Rare-Species Biases and Overconfidence
ABSTRACT. Wildlife monitoring surveys are prone to nondetection errors and false positives. To determine factors that affect the incidence of these errors, we built an Internet-based survey that
Suggested experimental designs for song playbacks
Trends in anecdotal fox sightings in Tasmania accounted for by psychological factors
The results suggest anecdotal sightings are highly susceptible to cognitive biases and when used to qualify and quantify species presence can contribute to flawed risk assessments.
An examination of the effectiveness of initial training for new police recruits in promoting appropriate attitudes and behaviour for twenty first century policing
The research sought to examine the extent to which the initial training undertaken by new recruits to the police service in England and Wales has prepared them for their role as police officers by


“I Wouldn't Have Seen it If I Hadn't Believed it”
Differences between the groups in both phases indicate that teacher trainees hold negative stereotypical expectations of children labeled emotionally disturbed, but the negative halo of the label still results in more negative perceptions of behavior than when the child is labeled normal.
Artifact, bias, and complexity of assessment: the ABCs of reliability.
  • A. Kazdin
  • Psychology
    Journal of applied behavior analysis
  • 1977
Evidence pertaining to various sources of artifact and bias, as well as characteristics of assessment that influence interpretation of interobserver agreement are reviewed, including reactivity of reliability assessment, observer drift, complexity of response codes and behavioral observations, observer expectancies and feedback, and others.
The thesis that wildlife research should use the H-D method to test research hypotheses, using the thresh- old-of-security hypothesis for winter mortality for illustration, and it is shown that persistent confusions about the definitions of concepts like carrying capacity, correlation and cause-and-effect stem from either inadequate or misused scientific methods.
The publishing game: getting more for less.
  • W. Broad
  • Political Science, Medicine
  • 1981