The Observer Effect states that the very act of observation changes what we observe. If this is true, are their findings accurate?

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018

Contemplate this classic story... when a tree falls in the forest with nothing or no one around, does it make a sound? It would seem so, but if no one can hear it does it matter? What if I'm standing next to it? What if I put a camera or a microphone nearby?  Surely a falling tree makes sound! Right?

Sure, it probably does. But there's really no answer, it's just a thought experiment. It really exists to illustrate a really huge problem with science. The act of observation changes whatever you observe!

Famous chimp researcher Jane Goodall lived among chimpanzee tribes for years, providing food and learning about their behavior. Her observation and presence affected her results and yet, what she learned taught us heaps about chimps, and ourselves. So, does it matter that she affected them? Yes. Did it affect the science? Yes, for sure! Did we still learn a lot? Abso-chimpin'-lutely.

We still do these chimp studies, even knowing we're changing their behavior. A new study found even if researchers stay away from them, just knowing they're being watched will change chimp hunting behavior. they choose to eat different prey!

We're not saying observation is negative! It's just out there. The act of doing it changes what you're observing.

 

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