Research Methods

Reactive Insight

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Lang, E. L. (2003). The repercussions of research participation: Exploring reactive insight effects. The Behavioral Measurement Letter, 8, 2-8.

Reactive insight involves changes in thoughts and attitudes as a consequence of participating in research. Lang (2003) has identified some of the cases in which people's thoughts have changed as a direct result of participating in a research study. His comments relate largely to studies of dyadic communication among married couples. He reported that reactive insight can produce long lasting effects--up to a year or longer.

Changes in thoughts about the marriage and the relationship to the spouse were sometimes negative, but the majority were positive. There are ethical issues associated with changes in participants due to their engagement in a study: who is likely to suffer negative effects and how could they be removed or avoided altogether?

Situations in which reactive insight may occur:

Design features that induce reactive insight

Participant features associated with reactive insight

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Last Modified: August 2, 2005