laboratory common resource

A common resource is one shared by a community, such as a reservoir, forest or air. This can be simulated in the laboratory using money or tokens. See Laboratory social dilemma for a description of how this would be used to simulate behaviour towards the shared resource.

laboratory social dilemma

A laboratory-based dilemma often involves computer simulations with several participants (or one participant and several simulated participants). The common pool used in these artificial contexts is often (real) money. If you were a participant, you would be told the size of the pool and how many users there were, and how much you could each take without depleting the resource. You would then have to decide whether to cooperate or take more than your fair share, based partly on your estimate of how likely you think others are to cooperate. Usually all participants decide independently and then are told how much of the pool is left. The experimenters can manipulate factors such as the size of the resource and number of participants, the rate at which the resource becomes depleted and can be replenished and the number of occasions on which the resource can be harvested. Sometimes the experiment may involve a monetary reward, for example if everyone cooperates and the pool is not depleted. The experimenters measure how the participants’ behaviour changes as the simulation continues, depending on what others do. For example, if few cooperate, participants may become more selfish as the simulation continues. In public goods dilemmas, participants are given an initial endowment, which can vary in size; and there may be a minimum collective contribution before the public good can become a reality. Once it does, participants can choose how much to keep contributing to keep the public good going, and again may be rewarded for doing so.

lay person

a person without specialized knowledge or professional expertise in a particular subject

leading question

A question or statement that contains information that the interviewer wishes to have confirmed or that suggests a particular answer.


the process of making something acceptable and normative in a group and/or in society as a whole


a rating scale commonly used in questionnaires when researchers want to measure the intensity (of an attitude, for example) or frequency of something; the respondent is asked to indicate their response (generally the level of agreement or disagreement with a statement) on a scale that is considered symmetric or "balanced" because there are equal numbers of positive and negative positions

limpieza de sangre

this was a document prepared by special genealogists which certified that the holder had no base blood; originally, in Spain, these documents were designed to guarantee that the person did not have any Jewish, Muslim, or heretic ancestors as well as anyone found guilty of treason or exercising base professions; any one of these taints was considered dishonorable; in the Latin American context, the purity of blood was also racialized by certifying the lack of indigenous or African blood

linear relationship

a relationship in which any given change in an independent variable will always produce a corresponding change in the dependent variable


a lineup is constructed by placing a person suspected of committing a crime (the suspect) among a collection of innocent people (fillers); an eyewitness is asked to identify the offender from this collection, with a suitable admonition that the offender may not be present

lineup administrator

the police officer who guides the witness during the lineup identification procedure. S/he provides instructions and takes notes regarding the identification decision

lineup rejection

an identification decision where the witness decides not to choose anyone in the lineup, indicating that they do not believe the perpetrator of the crime is present

locus of control

a cognitive style of personality trait characterized by a generalized expectancy about the relationship between behavior and the subsequence occurrence of reinforcement in the form of reward or punishment; people with internal locus of control tend to expect reinforcements to be the consequences of their own efforts or behavior, whereas people with external locus of control expect them to be the consequences of chance, luck, fate, or the actions of powerful others