Hawthorne effect

noun Psychology.

a positive change in the performance of a group of persons taking part in an experiment or study due to their perception of being singled out for special consideration.

Origin of Hawthorne effect

First recorded in 1960–65; after the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company, Cicero, Ill., where such an effect was observed in experiments
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British Dictionary definitions for hawthorne effect

Hawthorne effect
/ (ˈhɔːˌθɔːn) /


improvement in the performance of employees, students, etc, brought about by making changes in working methods, resulting from research into means of improving performanceCompare iatrogenic, placebo effect

Word Origin for Hawthorne effect

from the Western Electric Company's Hawthorne works in Chicago, USA, where it was discovered during experiments in the 1920s
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012