One of the most common laboratories used in psychology is the college classroom. Innumerable studies in psychology are tested using college students as participants. However, there is some skepticism related to the use of college classrooms as psychology labs. One of the main reasons is that often what is being studied is not adequately or appropriately represented by the group being used. Such inappropriate representation of the population being studied is considered a selection bias.
The study by Smith (2005), however, posed a different perspective. Similar to other researchers, Smith also studied college students. After the completion of the study, Smith mentioned some interesting facts and ideas regarding a student's success or nonsuccess in the study. Smith used an extensive literature review to point out several issues students had in the classroom, including some of the interaction issues between students and instructors. Although Smith’s review didn’t supply any real new information, it was a good review of social psychological and theoretical viewpoints within the context of a classroom setting. According to Smith, a student's success or nonsuccess in the study was based on the principles of a self-handicapping and self-serving bias.
As discussed earlier, Myers (2008) defined self-handicapping as “protecting one’s self image with behaviors that create a handy excuse for later failure” and a self-serving bias as “the tendency to perceive oneself favorably.” Have you ever said or heard someone say, “I have just too much work right now to study for this exam” or “I am not good at mathematics, so I will never get statistics”? These are actually ways that people self-handicap. If you aim low, what you do accomplish seems much higher than expected. Smith used this sort of explanatory style in his article.
Next, let’s discuss self-presentation.
Myers, D. (2008). Social psychology (9th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Smith, R. (2005). The classroom as a social psychology laboratory. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 24(1), 62–71.