Deutsch: Experimentelle Bedingung / Español: Condición Experimental / Português: Condição Experimental / Français: Condition Expérimentale / Italiano: Condizione Sperimentale

Experimental condition in the psychology context refers to the specific environment, set of procedures, and variables that participants in an experiment are exposed to or experience. This condition is deliberately manipulated by researchers to investigate the effects of one or more independent variables on a dependent variable, allowing them to draw conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships. The experimental condition is contrasted with the control condition, where participants are not exposed to the experimental treatment, providing a baseline for comparison.


In psychological research, the experimental condition is crucial for testing hypotheses and understanding the impact of various factors on human behavior, cognition, and emotion. It involves specific manipulations by the experimenter designed to test the effects of one variable (the independent variable) by changing it while keeping all other variables constant. This setup helps to isolate the effects of the independent variable on the dependent variable, which is the outcome being measured.

Participants assigned to the experimental condition receive the treatment or are exposed to the variable of interest, whereas those in the control condition do not receive the treatment or are exposed to a standard condition against which the experimental outcomes are compared. This comparison helps to establish the cause-and-effect relationships by demonstrating what happens when the variable is altered versus when it is not.

Application Areas

Experimental conditions are used across various areas within psychology, including:

  • Cognitive Psychology: To study how different stimuli affect perception, memory, and problem-solving.
  • Social Psychology: To explore the effects of social dynamics, such as conformity, persuasion, and group behavior.
  • Clinical Psychology: To assess the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions and treatments for mental health conditions.
  • Developmental Psychology: To understand how developmental stages influence cognition and behavior.

Well-Known Examples

A classic example of an experimental condition is the Milgram obedience experiment, where participants (under the experimental condition) were instructed to administer electric shocks to another person, to study the effects of authority on obedience. Another well-known study is the Stanford prison experiment, which investigated the psychological effects of perceived power by assigning participants to the roles of prisoners and guards in a simulated prison environment.

Treatment and Risks

In the context of psychological research, ethical considerations are paramount to ensure the safety and well-being of participants. Risks associated with experimental conditions include psychological distress, discomfort, or harm resulting from the study's procedures. Therefore, researchers must obtain informed consent, provide debriefing after participation, and adhere to ethical guidelines to minimize risks and ensure participants' rights are protected.

Similar Terms or Synonyms

  • Treatment Condition: Another term for the set of circumstances under which participants are exposed to the variable being tested.
  • Manipulated Variable: Refers to the independent variable that is intentionally changed or varied by the researcher.


The experimental condition is a fundamental concept in psychological research, enabling scientists to explore cause-and-effect relationships by manipulating variables and observing their effects on participants' behavior, thoughts, and emotions. Through careful design and ethical considerations, experimental conditions provide valuable insights into the complexities of human psychology, contributing to our understanding of the human mind and behavior.