Statistics and Experimental Design

One area with a long-standing interface between psychology and agriculture is statistical analysis and design. A century ago, psychologists such as Francis Galton were instrumental in developing modern statistical thinking. Later psychologists (e.g., James McKeen Cattell and L. L. Thurstone) extended the application of statistics in behavioral research.

Statisticians working in agriculture (such as R. A. Fisher) developed much of what is now standard experimental design and analysis. For instance, random assignment and factorial designs were initially originally devised for agricultural science. Many terms used in statistics—for example, split-plot designs—reflect this agricultural origin.

In summary, although agricultural psychology is not normally recognized as a subfield of psychology, there have been many applications of psychology in agriculture. Moreover, agricultural issues have affected psychology in many often unappreciated ways.


Rogers, E. M. (1962). Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free


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