kinds of comparison are high, but it is the price which must be paid to do relevant research in such domains. Researchers do not work alone, but in research communities that can provide them with such comparative data.
In this paper, we have stressed two main ideas to contribute to the discussion opened several years ago: (a) the role of theory to defined ecological validity, and (b) the object in relation to which ecological validity is defined. The main difficulty is that ecological validity bears on theoretical assumptions that cannot be tested by the study in itself. In addition, there is no theoretical consensus in psychology and a particular researcher can always be criticised as regards ecological validity by another who adopts another theory. Thus, the theoretical assumptions behind the criticisms should always be made explicit. In any case, the argument that the situation under study does not reproduce the surface features of the natural situation is not allowable. In fact, the object under consideration is an abstraction that is likely to be described by inference from overt variables to covert phenomena.
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