Psychology Studies Attract Certain Volunteers—Which Could Skew Results

maximus otter

Recovering policeman
Aug 9, 2001
Many psychological studies rely on participants to give up their time to take part in experiments or complete questionnaires. They take part because they get paid or because they are required to as part of their university course. But, beyond this, not much is known about what motivates people to take part in these studies.

Some participants may be looking for help – perhaps seeking a diagnosis for a mental health issue they're struggling with. A team of researchers in Poland theorized that taking part in a psychological study might be "perceived as a cheap substitute or alternative to acquire some professional help".

Their results are published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

"Researchers often take for granted that the way they advertise their studies and who they recruit do not appreciably affect their outcomes," the study authors write.

"In our studies, we have shown that those who have more personality pathologies are more drawn to studies where they can express their trauma and may be simply more likely to volunteer for studies."

maximus otter