Clever Hans…….horses for courses……


The Clever Hans effect is wonderful example of how important it is for psychological research to be double blind if it is to truly minimise any bias from researcher or participant.  The story goes the horse – Hans was taught Maths everyday for two years was able to tap out  with his hoof the answer to difficult mathematical sums (by reading them first equally as outstanding!).  Hans was paraded around Europe as an example of animal intelligence………..when in fact Hans was only tapping his hoof after noticing small changes in his trainers (Van Ousten) body language before receiving a stick of carrot and therefore receiving an unconsciously transmitted signal from his trainer. In research methodology this is commonly referred to as the observer-expectancy effect.

Watch a dramatisation below of Hans being taught and the realisation he wasn’t the mathematical genius everyone first thought……


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