Random without replacement is not random: Caveat emptor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The vast majority of psychology labs rely on prepackaged software applications (e.g., E-Prime) for the programming of experiments. These programs are often used for stimulus selection, and many use a selection method referred to as random without replacement. We demonstrate how random without replacement deviates from random selection, and we detail selection biases that result. We also demonstrate, in a simple experiment, how these selection biases, if left unchecked, can influence behavior. Recommendations for reducing the impact of these biases on performance when random without replacement is used are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-968
Number of pages8
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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