Laboratory experiments are a research method in which the relationship of certain influences on a particular characteristic (or dependent variable) is explored. The independent variable is manipulated in a standardized procedure in order to investigate its effect on the dependent variable, without any confounding effects of other variables. The aim of this method is to keep the test conditions as controlled as possible and thus to minimize disturbance factors that could falsify or influence the results. Location, time, circumstances and randomly assigned test participants are determined by the researcher. In a laboratory experiment the test environment is strictly controlled which ensures equal test conditions for each participant. In addition, the standardized procedure allows the test to be repeated and thus verified as often as required.
The advantage of laboratory experiments is an accurate measurement of the interrelations of the influencing factor(s) and the measured variables. Therefore, this is the only research method able to reliably evaluate causal relationships.
The downside of controlling the experimental conditions is that the actions of the subjects do not take place in the natural environment and that the artificial setting could cause unnatural behavior. This means that the obtained results could not reflect real life, resulting in a lower external validity compared to field experiments.
Laboratory experiments can be employed to measure direct reaction to external stimuli, such as experiencing a new technology for the first time. These measures can be carried out highly accurate by employing bio-physiological feedback and by ruling out all extraneous factors.