Have students debate the usefulness of self-report measures.

One way of get students to think about the issue of the validity of self-report is to have them try some Implicit Association Tests. They find these fascinating. Most will find some discrepancy between their explicit attitudes and the results of the test. Some will explain the discrepancy in terms of their self-knowledge being imperfect, others will say the problem is with the test.

To show students that introspection has its limits, show this entertaining 4 min video on choice blindness.

            If that link does not work, these are passable substitutes: You will just need to emphasize that people generated reasons to justify their "choice."


To get students to look at the problem from a historical perspective, you could assign the following classics:

Ericcson, A. & Simon, H. A. (1980). Verbal reports as data.

Psychological Review, 87, 215-251.

Nisbett, R. E. & Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we can

know: Verbal reports on mental process. Psychological

Review, 84, 231-259.

Webb, E. J., Campbell, D. T., Schwartz, R. D., & Seechrist, L.

(1981). Unobtrusive measures: Nonreactive research in

the social sciences. Chicago: Rand McNally.


The following videos will also help students understand the limitations of self-report:


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