What is the difference between




in experimental design in psychology? And how is a foil different from a distractor?


Often, experimental designs in psychology contain a target participant (who receives the experimental manipulation) and then also other types, such as:

control: no intervention, or a different intervention confederate: fake participant (actor, or often research assistant) observer: in social influence paradigms

perhaps foil is a confederate. Hard to know without you providing the source.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, but what is the difference between a "distractor" and a "foil"? $\endgroup$ – Tasha May 29 '19 at 19:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ See recent answer $\endgroup$ – Cameron Brick May 30 '19 at 7:42

A target is:

A stimulus that a research participant or subject is searching for or trying to concentrate on, and that in research is often accompanied by distractors.

And a foil is:

In research methodology, another name for a distractor.

For example, in a multiple choice question, the correct answer is the "target", and the rest are "foils" or distractors. This is similar to a police lineup, where the suspect is the "target", and the rest are "foils" or fillers. "Foil" and "distractor" are synonyms.


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