Definition:

Subjects in an experiment who are not subjected to the independent variable and who may receive a placebo treatment.

Quite Simply...


  • The group that is used to control for the possibility that other factors might be causing the effect that is being examined.
  • Nothing is changed about this group.
  • A group from which baseline data can be drawn.
  • This group eliminates any alternate explanations of experimental results.
  • This group helps to eliminate and isolate confounding variables and bias.

Examples of a Control Group


  • In an experiment testing the effectiveness of a new medication, the control group would not receive the new medication that is being tested. control-group.jpg
  • The control group is given flavored water instead of a new, performance enhancing sports drink.
  • A group that does not watch violent cartoons in an experiment to see if violent cartoons affect behavior.

See Also...