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In psychology I recall we used a phrase or a word that meant that because you predicted the outcome of an experiment, then your results could be biased towards your prediction.

Either subconsciously or by having your predictions at the forethought of your memory then these predictions would have some sort of influencing factor on the results of the experiment.

Is there a word or a phrase to easily express this?

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There are a couple of words that fit: tendentious, biased, predisposed. –  user21497 Dec 3 '12 at 0:04
    
I think maybe this question should be closed as just asking for a definition. –  3nafish Dec 3 '12 at 0:06
    
Perhaps related to "Clever Hans" ... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clever_Hans –  GEdgar Dec 3 '12 at 0:07
    
Also, the subject matter is probably more applicable to the CogSci branch of SE. –  3nafish Dec 3 '12 at 0:09
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@3nafish We do close for asking for definitions - General Reference - but in this case PP's supplied the definition and he's asking for the word. –  StoneyB Dec 3 '12 at 0:09
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2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

There is also the term confirmation bias, which exactly describes this idea.

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Confirmation bias is similar, but the OP specifically asked for something that described when you "predicted the outcome of an experiment," whereas confirmation bias just refers to a general tendency of people to see things that confirm their beliefs, not specifically in an experiment. –  3nafish Dec 3 '12 at 1:21
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"Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses." Hypotheses, you will recall, are those things that get tested in scientific experiments. –  Robusto Dec 3 '12 at 1:22
    
True. I'm not saying you're wrong (which is why I gave you +1). I'm just saying that confirmation bias is a hypernym of observer-expectancy because it can include confirmation of beliefs outside of experiments. –  3nafish Dec 3 '12 at 1:25
    
OK, point taken. –  Robusto Dec 3 '12 at 1:26
    
In practice, confirmation bias tends to imply bias towards "beliefs" or hypotheses in an informal sense, I think. So from that point of view it is perfectly fitting for the OP's description of "predictions at the forethought of your memory", but maybe not so much for formal predictions? –  Neil Coffey Dec 3 '12 at 2:42
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It's a particular kind of self-fulfilling prophecy known as observer-expectancy effect.

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