Blind experiment  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A blind or blinded experiment is a scientific experiment where some of the persons involved are prevented from knowing certain information that might lead to conscious or subconscious bias on their part, invalidating the results.

For example, when asking consumers to compare the tastes of different brands of a product, the identities of the latter should be concealed — otherwise consumers will generally tend to prefer the brand they are familiar with. Similarly, when evaluating the effectiveness of a medical drug, both the patients and the doctors who administer the drug may be kept in the dark about the dosage being applied in each case — to forestall any chance of a placebo effect, observer bias, or conscious deception.

Blinding can be imposed on researchers, technicians, subjects, funders, or any combination of them. The opposite of a blind trial is an open trial. Blind experiments are an important tool of the scientific method, in many fields of research — from medicine, forensics, psychology and the social sciences, to natural sciences such as physics and biology and to market research. In some disciplines, such as drug testing, blind experiments are considered essential. In other disciplines, blind experiments would be very useful, but they are totally impractical or unethical. An oft-cited example is in the field of developmental psychology. Although it would be scientifically expedient to raise children under arbitrary experimental conditions, such as on a remote island with a fabricated enculturation, it is obviously a violation of ethics and human rights.

The terms blind (adjective) or to blind (transitive verb) when used in this sense are figurative extensions of the literal idea of blindfolding someone. The terms masked or to mask may be used for the same concept. (This is commonly the case in ophthalmology, where the word 'blind' is often used in the literal sense.)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Blind experiment" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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