High expectations 1

February 6, 2004

Geoffrey Beattie's claim ("It's not what Les says that counts", THES , January 30) that the Big Brother house and its inmates provide valuable data for new psychological theory is worrying.

His main argument for using this inane TV show is that it provides a more "natural" environment for research than laboratories. But we would not expect psychological experiments done in prison to tell us much about the behaviour of people who are free.

Why don't psychologists such as Beattie make their observations of ordinary people in the real world? It may be more difficult but it would be far more valuable.

Colin Bulman
University of Huddersfield

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