matt49 said:davedotco said:These factors can cause real differences, suffuciant in some cases to tell one amplifier from another (still listening blind of course), but it important to realise that in sighted tests these differences are swamped by the effects of expectation bias, placebo effect etc, etc.
I know it is hard to believe that you will be taken in by such effects, especially when you know what to expect, but you will be, everyone is. It's the way the brain works and there is nothing you can do about it!
With all due respect, I don't think you'll find any psychologists (I mean academic researchers in psychology who study precisely this area) who'd agree with this. It's certainly true that in many situations most people will experience some form of bias in their judgements. It's equally true that most (psychological) biases can be overcome with training. There's a lot of idle talk about how our brains are 'hard-wired' to respond in certain ways. In fact, almost all of this supposed 'hard wiring' is susceptible to e.g. the influence of experience. Those who've advocated the 'hard wiring' form of argument, e.g. people like Paul Ekman, Silvan Tomkins, Paul Griffiths, generally agree that there are only a very small number of 'hard-wired' systems in the human brain that are impervious to training. These are the emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust.
In other words, most people may be susceptible to biases in many situations, but it is possible to overcome most biases if you work at it.
I don't want to take this too far from the realms of hifi but you are correct, there are plenty of researchers who play down the effects of expectation bias and placebo effect, just as there are plenty who do not.
I use these effects, expectation bias in the main to offer an explaination why, in sighted tests differences are often described as huge, night and day etc yet the same observers comprehensively fail to identify very different items in blind test.
This to me is the point, the experimental evidence is overwhelming, time and time again jounalists and other audio professionals fail blind tests comprehensively, so much so that few will now participate in them.
Just for amusement, take alook at this....