Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
The phenomenon in which subjects of study alter their behavior simply because they are being studied. The Hawthorne effect is important in marketing. For example, test audience members may unintentionally skew their responses one way or another simply because they know they are part of a test audience. The concept originated in 1950 when analysis of a study from the 1920s and 1930s saw that productivity in a factory improved during a study of employees and declined after the study's conclusion.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved